Soooo you know that thing where you go on holiday and you can’t help but *cough* indulge in your favourite foods, and you know you’re going to come back from holiday “a different shape to what you started with”?
Uh-huh – that. That’s what I’ve got right now.
I’m in Austria on a motorbiking holiday at the moment – my other half and I rode there all the way from England via Belgium and Cologne (for the GamesCom video-games convention, you know? Yes, I know. GEEKS) and we’ve now been in Austria for 10 days and are heading back to the UK, but during this time? Well, we’ve eaten lots of amazing traditional foods like the ones I wrote about in my previous post, but “traditional foods” also involves a lot of lovely sweet things – various forms of pancakes (Panatschinken, Kaiserschmarrn…) and of course, the incredible variety of cakes and strüdels (Apfelstrüdel, Topfenstrüdel, Mohnküchen, Germknödel, a massive variety plate after a massive Italian meal…).
So as a result of this, *mock shock* *mock horror* I’m gaining weight – and by gaining weight, I mean my belly is beginning to stick out, my arse is a bit wider and sticks out, my thighs are a bit juicier and would make an excellent Sunday roast.
But does it bother me?
Not really, no.
I mean, what’s the alternative? I deny myself *these beautiful things*, I start to lose my energy during a 250-mile trip somewhere and find my concentration lapsing, then I misjudge a corner, end up on the wrong side of the road and crash head-on into another car, being thrown over the top like a ragdoll and landing with my back in the road, hoping the guy behind the car I’ve just smashed into with my motorbike is going slowly enough to not run me over and instantly kill me?
Well, ok, that’s a bit over-the-top, but in actual fact it’s not far off the mark of what could happen, because this kinda shit happens every day. Some 80% of all motorbiking accidents are caused by the rider’s errors.
So, the way I see it –
And if it means that I gain a couple of extra kg/lbs on my trip? So be it.
Because I’m not only gaining extra curves, I’m also gaining considerable muscle.
I mean, imagine being on a low-intensity power-plate for up to 8 hours a day for over a fortnight, except that you get to see more sights and have more fun? Result is – my arms, legs, shoulders and spine are much stronger.
And muscle also adds weight.
But this is not a polemic on why you should take up motorbiking (although you really should try it if you’re interested – go and Get On).
This also is not a slice of the Catherine Haymes show either.
The point is this:
How much do you really know about how your body reacts to food and related situations?
How aware are you at this very moment about how your body has come to be what it is today?
Do you know what is really right for you and your body?
Here’s the thing: the media, the government and our indoctrinated society like to try and fit you into a certain “mould” – you gotta be thin to be healthy; you have a choice of going on these ridonkulously unhealthy diets to get thin quickly because, well, the quicker the better, right? (wrong); only when you’re thin then you can wear *these amazing clothes* or go out with *that hot guy/gal* because he/she will only appreciate you for your thin-ness and not because you happen to be interested in Roberts Space Industries and are also keen on hiking. Or something. Hoping that these are the kinds of things he/she is interested in.
While I think there is no doubt that being slimmer is probably better for your heart and in preventing strokes and whatnot, it’s actually more about finding your own individual natural balance for your body.
And that does not necessarily mean “fitting the ideal skinny mould”.
When I say “being slimmer” above, I really mean “finding your own fit”, not “become what is acceptably thin enough by doctors and society but actually you’re starving and causing yourself more damage through malnutrition than from your frame/size/mould not quite fitting what they consider to be acceptable”.
You are an individual. These accepted norms are blunt instruments to apply to society as a whole. It’s understandable that this happens – because it’s one of the few ways on a national scale a government can try to keep its nation healthy. A blunt instrument will not take into account each individual and one’s proper size and shape.
But in order to be able to say outright that those models don’t work for you, you gotta take matters into your own hands somewhat and work out what is your own healthy balance. And once you’ve found your own balance? You can give everyone else the two-fingered salute who tells you otherwise.
And one way to start is to ask yourself the questions above and to become aware of what happens to your body when you eat certain things, when you drink other things, and when you do everything else.
I hate to break it to you but along with “no one size fits all” comes “no real code to finding your balance”. You have to sensibly experiment to find out what suits you best.
For example: I started to drink at least 2 litres of water a day primarily to help dissolve the lactic-acid-type-thing that causes the knots in my back, but I actually found that it helped “grease all the joints”, so to speak, and helps my body run much more effectively.
However, not everyone finds the same benefits – some people can just drink a combination of tea, coffee, water, juice, wine and beer, and will still have the same effect as drinking 2 litres of water a day.
Another example: I rarely eat salads – partly because I grew up not eating them often, but also because I find salads hard to digest. Strange, I know – but I struggle with digesting a lot of raw foods. I also struggle with pork chops, but not bacon or wurst – my body can deal with fats quite well – although obviously not too much otherwise I get a bit podgy for what my proper balance is!
Yet, a close friend literally cannot stomach fat and regurgitates it if she’s accidentally swallowed some, which grosses her out, so she has to avoid bacon and dry-cured meats that would have fat lumps in it, and has to eat only the leanest cuts of meat (which is a shame because I can’t make her a proper tagliatelli bolognase, since the more marbled with fat the mince is, the better it tastes!).
Find your balance and you’ll do the right thing by yourself.