I’ve been overweight/obese all my life. I actually don’t know who I would be if I weren’t. There have been many times in my life where I have said “Ok, I’ve had it. I’m gonna lose weight.” And my solution has been paying others for their diet plans that I didn’t want to follow (sorry Weight Watchers) or doing exercise I didn’t like and didn’t want to do (sorry, BeachBody/Insanity). Not once did I try having a relationship with my own body. Not once did I check in and have a day where I slowed everything down to try to figure out what my body did like and didn’t like. Not once did I relax and stop stressing about the entire process of the weight loss.
Now before I keep writing this beautifully sappy love story with my body. I don’t want you to develop the expectation that it is either over or reached a happy ending. I want you to know that currently I have lost 15 pounds and then got back 10 pounds when I moved across the country. So I am still knee-deep in this journey. But I have a couple of revelations I need to share for those who need this inspiration.
Now before you go and say well you haven’t succeeded so I’m out. Wait. Read how cool the process is tho. A couple of years ago, I was preparing a farm unit to teach to my 1st graders and I was really invigorated to make those kids more responsible with their foods. This, ultimately, led me to become a vegan. YEP! I SAID IT! Cue the twisted, confused, judgy faces. It’s okay, hopefully you go on a food journey too (esp. if you live in the United States or very frequent visit McDonald’s or other fast food establishments) and find how your foods are affecting your body. Nevertheless, I learned through watching documentaries such as FedUp, Food Inc., Cowspiracy, Fat,Sick and Nearly Dead, parts of Earthlings, and Okja that our bodies really go hard for us. Whether we are overweight or underweight, whether we are athletes or monks, whether we are know nothing about the functions of our bodies or are doctors and nutritionists, we literally have amazing-ness inside us. (I want to put a disclaimer here about humans who were born with disabilities or whose body’s have developed a certain illness, that I am sorry that this is your body journey and I can see how this post would upset you but I pray that you eventually reach a place of positivity with your temple.)
Okay so here are some ways in which the body goes ham for us.
Since I have always been overweight, as previously mentioned, I have mostly studied how to lose weight. And in the above mentioned documentaries, some would have doctors talk about reasons that the body does what it is doing in the first place. For example, they would say that the overweight body would overproduce white blood cells (the cells responsible for attacking anything they deem harmful) in order to protect said body from sickness, inflammation and preventing disease. Doesn’t that sound great?? Except that having too much white blood cells is also an issue because there are studies that prove that higher white blood cell count is linked to risks of heart attacks, death, cancer, etc. (link to see a video by NutritionFacts that has many studies to prove this point: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8UB-WNlyVE) Bahhhhhhh, isn’t that the worst? But you really can’t blame the body here when it produced white blood cells to help prevent inflammation to a very important part of your body. So really it comes through for you even at the risk of its own downfall. Another example is that the body would use fat cells to cover/overtake those weird lab-made ingredients that the body doesn’t recognize which we eat in those processed foods. This was huge news to me. So imagine you just ate a donut, right. And the frosting is a new weird flavor like the red, white, and blue flag. Now you’re not sure where or how they made the blue or red flavoring but you eat it. Now majority of the energy in your body, once the donut was consumed, will go to breaking down that food and retrieving what it can, in terms of energy and nutrition. But then it encounters the red and blue flavorings and instead of using up more energy that usual to fight the chemicals in the flavoring (because maybe you have to go to work right after snacking on the donut and will need energy for that) so the body decides that they will take the red and blue flavoring and store it in a fat cell and deal with it when it is not so busy. This means that if that flavoring were to have cancerous properties, as an example, the body just reserved it in one spot as opposed to that cancer taking over several areas of your body and multiplying quickly. For this to work, your body is going to make and use your fat cells aka why you have fat. So who knows the kinds of diseases that that fat is protecting you from. That’s why during certain dietary changes such as going vegan or fasting, there is always a detoxification period where you feel supa terrible. And that is the release of all those chemicals. And yes, if you can’t pronounce it or readily tell me what plant (slash animals for those non-vegans) that food comes from, it is a chemical.
Another way the body really takes care of you is during fasting as I mentioned above. Fasting, as you may already know, is a supa old method of wellness and health for the body. It is a break. That’s it. You are giving your body a break. And it will thank you for this break immensely. I mention fasting because I’m learning so much about it currently but really any dietary change such as a vegetarian or no-Meat Mondays or portion control or actually being a vegan will have a similar gratefulness within your body. It just depends on how hard you can go, if you can go full vegan, then you will get full on benefits. If you start small, then small changes it will be. But anyhow, fasting will let the body really focus on the areas in you that it’s been wanting to tackle and fix. People usually recommend a long-term fast (basically any fast that’s longer than 3 days) because in those 72+ hours, your body is working through things and letting things go (like those chemicals) that will make you feel terrible. But after those hours, your body has an easier time eliminating useless/harmful things (including that fat). So can you imagine that all you stopped doing was putting food in your body for a while and your body is still not upset with you and figures out how to heal you? Crazy, no?
Still another even cooler example is also really sweet. Your body is forgiving. It literally forgives you. Unfortunately, I don’t really think that the body forgets but it definitely does forgive. You can literally play with your body to figure out your relationship with it. That’s how so many people know they have a certain sensitivity to things such as wheat or gluten or dairy. If you eat something, then don’t, then eat it again, it’s a kind of experimentation that allows you to connect inwards. For me, I tried it with sugar. I would have a lot of candy (Lord, please remove Halloween) and almost immediately, I would wake up with my parenthesis line around my mouth deep and dark like it has always been there. So next is to turn it off, I tried scrubbing, exfoliating, creams, lotions, my oils, etc. Nothing worked. So then Halloween passed and so I didn’t eat as much sugar and like magic, it got lighter and lighter til it faded away like it had never been there. So when I finally got the pattern, I ate more sugar to verify. Yep, it came right back. And now, I am super aware that sugar has an intense reaction on my face. And you best believe, I am working on lessening and lessening that addiction. Also, for any natural hair sistas and brothas out there, did you big chop or transition? Because if you transitioned (as I did), there is a moment where your hair literally changes up on you. From the damaged ends and stringy straight strands to full on “S” or “C” curls or kinks from top to bottom with shine and bounce. And you’re like wwwwhhhhhhaaattttttt, I loveeeeee itttttttt. So even after hours, days, month and even years of creamy crack and/or heat damage, your body/hair still said, “yes, I will come back healthy because you have been treating me right”. That’s AMAZING to me.
I hope you can see what I’m saying. Your body is really your A1, day 1. It will look our for you. Just give it the fuel.