I love summer! Mainly because I have more time to travel, relax, engage in meaningful social activities, and READ!
Last Wednesday, after my (just returned from vacation need get back on track) bacon and eggs breakfast, I performed my daily summer blog surf. I usually find time to read my favourite blogs, but the extra time I have in July and August allows me to actually enjoy them!
I tacked on 10 pounds while on vacation (no kidding!), so I was eager to return to my normal routine. Looking for inspiration as I often do, I decided to check in on a few blogs I love to read.
My favourite of course is Seth Godin’s blog. His posts are always short, creative and have the ability to inspire anyone!
A close second is the blog of Tim Ferris. I like Tim for the same reasons his 100,000+ facebook fans do. His writing inspires people and provides action steps to accomplish anything!
The breadth of Tim’s Blog topics fascinate me. On this particular occasion I was searching for articles on fitness motivation, and sure enough I found some amazing content.
The article that caught my attention was written by Ryan Holiday who is a young (24) online strategist for American Apparel, and friend of Tim. The article began with a story of Ryan’s recent weight loss success. Not only was he able to lose those last 15 pounds, he was also able to set a personal best time for in the 1 mile run.
While this is a great achievement on it’s own, the article was really entertaining and got me thinking about my own attitude towards eating. With the approach Ryan used to challenge his philosophy on eating, he will be fit for life! And so can we.
How did the Ancients Treat Food?
Ryan decided to research historic attitudes pertaining to food consumption among famous philosophers.
Here is a snippet from the article:
A student once asked Epictetus how he ought to eat. This, Epictetus replied, was simple. The right way to eat is the same as the right way to live: be “just, cheerful, equable, temperate, and orderly.” He meant that meals embody the principles and the disposition of the person who eats them. Food means choices and choices mean a chance to fulfill our principles. [So think: being thankful, eating just what you need, tipping generously, caring about where it comes from and how it got there.]
What Does Our Diet Say About Us?
Think about how you eat. Do you like sharing? Are you wasteful? Do you give a damn about where your food comes from?
These questions resonated in my head for a while, and I began to feel guilty for being wasteful, of not sharing, and not caring where my food comes from. Throughout my various weight loss attempts, I didn’t give a second thought as to how my food choices would impact the world outside of myself. All I cared about was getting in shape. Kind of selfish now that I think about it.
What about your eating behaviours?
In what ways might your actions be selfish?
This bothered me a bit, then I read further …
The Ancients Surely Worried About Their Appearance
In ancient times people believed it was silly to obsess over their weight and appearance as it did not reflect well on their character, at the same time they resisted the urge to live in excess (eating too much) in fear of appearing like a glutton.
I felt guilty again for my part in perpetuating this notion that people need to be fit and they need to worry about it, with complete disregard for the process. So I continued to read…..
Ultimately, they (the philosophers) understood that everything we do—especially something with life or death implications like diet—is a platform for philosophy, that something you do at least three times a day is worth doing well.
OK, now I feel a bit better. The philosophers recognized that it was important to care about what we eat. Eating well is important obviously, but what does it mean to eat well?
Eating Well – Way Back in the Day
As Ryan suggests it is about more than just the food we eat.
By eating well, we can be proud and transparent, rather than secretly uncomfortable. For starters, by eating more naturally (protein-dense, appropriate portions), we reduce our footprint—the amount we ask of the world to give us. By caring about the quality of what we ingest, we opt out of brutal factory farming and toxic industrial agriculture—keeping excessive blood off our hands. And by eating locally, we support small businesses and entrepreneurs instead of corporate behemoths who have few qualms about poisoning and fattening us (by doing the same to their “product”) if it means greater profits.
You can probably tell where this is headed. Eating natural foods, grown locally, goes a long way in helping our world, and still helps us in the process. Now I don’t want to say that eating Paleo fits this philosophy perfectly, but it does appear to be one of the better options. Ryan didn’t see it this way, and actually criticized vegetarians and paleo dieters for starting these diets with selfish intent.
I don’t believe that every person practicing a paleo or vegetarian diet does so because they are selfish, but his point is valid.
Do we only eat the way we do because it might help us lose weight? With a disregard for how it might affect others in the case of slaughter houses and multinational agriculture corporations?
Do we eat the way big corporations do business by finding the cheapest way to get it done for the biggest profit?
What we eat really does say something about who we are. This article definately challenged my own eating philosphy, but there was one item that I could totally agree with.
And that is the concept of Practicing Restraint – Yes!
Learning How to Say NO
According to the Ancients:
Practicing restraint and targeted release is a deeply philosophic exercise. It means being in tune with your body and living naturally. These are two things that are increasingly difficult in a world of plenty. To be able to say “no,” knowing that what may feel good now will actually feel bad later, is to master the self. To be able to reward the self with simple pleasures is to successfully navigate the fine line between self-control and self-flagellation.
What better way to say no. There are world wide days for causes that practice restraint. How does practicing restraint help the world (or at least create awareness)?
Think about Earth Hour, when we restrain ourselves from using electricity to benefit the earth.
International Intermittent Fasting Day?
Relating this back to eating, I immediately thought about Intermittent fasting. Practicing restraint from eating. Learning how to control food and not let food control us. Practicing restraint with intermittent fasting is noble, but in all honesty, it was more about weight loss for me. Now I will view the process of fasting through a different lens altogether.
When we fast we send a messege to slaughter houses, and fake food conglomerates that we do not support them. If fasting were to become mainstream the world would be a different place.
Can you imagine the lost profits for companies like McDonalds and Burger King if we organized an “International Day of Fasting”! What if people were to fast once a week?
Imagine the profits lost then…
Talk about sending a message!
Lastly, before embarking on a new eating plan ask yourself who benefits. If it is only you, then stop what you are doing! There are ways to eat that benefit you and the people around you.
Think about your waistline, and your world!
p.s. You can check out the full article here.