Fitness Countdown 4: "P.B., We Have A Problem..."

Mar 05, 2008

Last Week’s Weigh-In: 138

This Week’s Weigh-In: 141!!!

All right, I’m a classic case. A routine statistic. A poster child for nutritional and fitness improvement gone horribly awry. I’ve made a declaration; I’ve made earnest attempts; and yet I have succumbed at every turn—offering virtually no struggle—to the powerful force of habit that says, “The food’s here, you’re here—Why don’t you two kids get together? What could it hurt?”.

“The Little Wolf” within—the one who wrote so insightfully, if unflatteringly, about me, in last week’s guest column—is indeed that voice of habit. When I ate thoughtlessly—even recklessly, if you take into account typical salt, sugar, and processed food intake on my part, not to mention how little water made its way into my system—The Little Wolf never lunged. She never even found anything to howl about.

But when I took this Lenten opportunity to examine my eating and exercise tendencies, and decided to apply thought and maturity to both, she saw this act as the height of insolence. She took it as a direct and personal challenge to her power, to her way of doing things, which recognizes no law except the law of immediate self-gratification. She has been on the attack ever since, and will be soothed only by victory as she understands it.

I must be making at least baby-steps into the territory of heightened maturity in this area; I suddenly find I am not in the least upset with The Little Wolf. On the contrary. If I am unable, due to frustration, to draw close enough to study her in all her aspects—as she has studied me from birth—then the balance of power will never change.

I have learned a number of valuable things since setting out on this current exploration. One is that The Little Wolf is correct when she states that 21st-century U.S. life does not actively encourage the prioritizing of long-range personal goals, or the hammering out of steps toward realizing them. Time for such prioritizing must, and will, be seized by those with foresight; this time must be carved out of the hubbub and confusion and set apart from all that. This is as true for embracing nutritional-and-fitness maturity as it is for adult music study, creating and executing a business plan, or planning regular volunteer service to the community.

Another thing I have come to know, given The Little Wolf’s violent suppression of even my most feeble attempt at eating more healthily, is this: Today, alone, I am no match for her. Yes, I had lofty notions of pouring on the inspirational reading, throwing myself into prayer and meditation in the worthy goal of sweeping the temple clean, and learning to tend to it with love and care for the long-term. For life.

But I have let those notions fall by the wayside as more urgent, short-term demands of life have taken center stage.

I have also had to admit that, regarding the use of said spiritual resources, I am just lazy. Tragically so. It hasn’t always been this way. But it is now. Early during Lent, when I proceeded as if “pure motives” alone might net me some health gains, The Little Wolf beat me back, reminding me that the purest of motives is never to be mistaken for the ongoing effort that ideally supports them.

So you might say that this Lenten quest to reorient the mind for the benefit of the body has laid bare my weakest points, in a fashion that will allow me to shore them up in the fullness of time.

The Little Wolf and I are indeed in a state of war; for though we occupy the same space, we are at odds on a single, fundamental question: What plan will we follow for the care of the one body we’ve been graced with for this unique earthly adventure?

As we have seen, my being “the brains of this outfit” doesn’t count for much in and of itself. The only way I can win the campaign to alter habit for the better is to map out the plan; seek out the quiet; still the feverish world of heart and mind; and gradually reshape that world in a way that brings more, and richer, life. 

The Little Wolf and I are no longer children; it is permissible for at least one of us, now, to deal in some measure of wisdom.

Never say die!