Wednesday, February 23, 2005

On and Within

I woke up hungry today. Hungry! This is a good sign for me. After dinner and late at night are times when I eat more than I should. The eating more than I should is often caused by exhaustion, stress, loneliness, you get the idea. So to wake up hungry means that I didn't overdo it. Hunger means that my body is chugging along and taking care of itself.

I know that my difficulty in losing the rest of the weight I want to lose is the way in which eating is tied to everything else: my mood, my productivity and the state of the world. The question is: which comes first, the appetite or the states? That is, do I hurdle into a pile of chocolate covered pretzels because I'm depressed or am I depressed because I am face down in chocolate? I don't know. I'm sensitive and quiet and contemplative and all that sad stuff by nature. But those qualities (which I usually like) twist and get ugly when I'm not taking care of myself. Sensitive becomes bitter and hostile. Quiet becomes reclusive. Contemplative becomes trapped in my head.

I don't know where to go from here, but here I am. I'm reminded of the quote I posted last week:

"The active forces, within and outside the body, are noble, aristocratic, for they govern, they expand."

I could get technical and Nietzschean on you to interpret this quote, but I'll spare you. I think it is significant without putting it in a larger context. So, yeah, there are all kinds of forces, or influences and powers, that act on and within the body. From the kind of food available in your neighborhood, to gendered expectations of how one should look, the outside influences and controls the body. Similar forces come from within, like training oneself to follow a certain diet and exercise program. But what I like about this quote is the nobility afforded to these forces. Instead of thinking of sticking to a program as limiting and constricting, how would my attitude change if I thought of the program as noble? As something that can open me up to the world and myself?

Really, then, the healthy meals I have tupperwared and ready to go in my kitchen are a sign of my aristocracy, and not of a poor graduate student on a diet.


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