On Monday I was stuck in the house because of the winter storm that hit Northern Georgia and much of the South. I had to really deal with myself yesterday, as I only had only one neighbor that regularly talks to me. My building is filled with opaque faces and forced salutations. It bothers me, but that is life in America for a black person in my shoes. I am used to it!
The snow really stopped Atlanta in its tracks. The roads were empty and the white snow covered everything in sight. I enjoyed children running and playing, and grown-ups busting their ass trying to keep up with the much more flexible and vibrant youth. This brings me to the night before I woke up with Atlanta snow. I had incredibly retched lower-back pains. I have a nerve that acts up every time I begin a workout regimen. It almost brought me to tears; I needed a cane, but I only had some firm objects in my room to brace myself with so that I didn’t fall and not get back up. I have a lot of compassion for people who suffer through debilitating back problems (or severe injuries in general) and have no one to help them get through the pain.
After I managed to rest for a little while, I woke up and started to really assess my first weekend on the Frugivore Challenge. Friday nights in the city always gives me this rush of energy; it’s almost as if you can feel people’s collective anticipation to let loose. I went through the day trying not to think about all the regular things I do on a Friday, not that they were bad or good, but just staying aware of my tendencies to black slide. This was a bad idea; if I had to really think about NOT doing something, then I clearly was not happy with what I was doing. I still ate very well and tried to recover from a murderous leg and back workout. I managed to not deal with my frustration and go to sleep early for me on a Friday–11:00 p.m..
Not dealing with Friday’s uncertainty led me to really be irresponsible on Saturday. I found myself struggling to work and totally blew off my workout. I had several appointments with clients that did not go as planned because I was unfocused and discontent. To make matters worse, I did prepare for an extended time away from my place, and I had to spend an absurd amount of money on sliced fruit and green juices.
The green lemonade from Whole Foods is excellent but expensive. I had two juices because I was starving after finishing up with my clients for the day. I bought some pre-cut oranges, as well as dates, from Whole Foods, bringing my total expenditure to astronomical $32.51. Do you know that is the same price of Surf & Turf at Spondivits. Ridiculous! Not only was I out-of-pocket, but I went over to a friend’s house and began to have the most embarrassing case of flatulence I have ever encountered.
When I left early from my friend’s home, I started to crave high-fat raw food. I had such a small amount of calories from fat this past week, I think my body was trying to tell me I needed some fat, but not the amounts that were in the meal from my favorite raw food restaurant, Loving it Live. I absolutely love this place; it taught me much of what I know about raw food prep and sustainability. I could have requested the chefs to make the food without all the oils and avocados, but you know I didn’t. I got home and devoured the food, feeling even worse, increasingly more guilty with every bite. The food was not the culprit, but it was Friday night’s frustration that stuck with me. I left it foster, and sure enough, it reared its treacherous tentacles into Saturday. The most disappointing part of the day was that I still refused to deal with my issues and I went to sleep even earlier on Saturday–9:30 p.m..
I woke Sunday feeling well and proceeded to practice yoga. I had only to start my sun salutations to feel the uneasiness that swelled in my mind. Friday and Saturday did not go anywhere, and I hid the frustration so well that my body did not get the memo that my mind that I was not right. I stumbled and fumbled through yoga, but the instructor was so nice that I felt better about my attendance to yoga than my actual effort. I continued about my day, tricking myself into believing I was having a productive day, but it was a farce. By the end of the day on Sunday, I had taken care of surface priorities, but I hadn’t taken care of myself. It would all crescendo with a terrible back pain that rendered me cripple for a night.
Indeed, I am being a bit dramatic, but I must contend that this diet brings out some emotions that are buried deep in my subconscious. The preparation of meals makes me have to slow down and enjoy the process of cutting, washing, and measuring my food, all things that are not conducive to the American fast pace of life. I am completely assimilated into this culture and breaking the bonds seems like a monumental and isolated path not taken anymore.
Over the years of weight training, I confronted days in which I was not prepared, but I had options in restaurants who had meals I could go to without feeling regret or isolation. Much of the isolation I feel is from not having a support system in Atlanta that truly understands what it takes to go through this “detox.” But, that lack of support is totally to blame on my previous dealing with people in general. I made the bed that I now had to lay in by myself. No one had any idea of the private shame I had for lying to almost every woman I been with in an intimate setting, mostly because part of being a man, in a very immature sense, is being rewarded for a myriad of deceptive tricks in order to sleep with as many desirable women as possible without losing control–contracting HIV, STDs, or having babies out-of-wedlock. This lifestyle not only takes on a life of its own, but requires the participant to continue to merge a fantasy world into one’s real life, creating an inconsistent reality based solely on fictional accounts of conquests–in all aspects of life; work, family, and friends–to keep a myth alive.
Now you may say, “how does this all tie in with a food/nutrition blog and Shane’s Friday night?” Well, as clearly as I can state it, the issues that emerged from falling into old habits do not come from the simple “I fell off the wagon,” but from deeper places in my conscious that are fighting this lifestyle change. Most diet books, weight loss strategies, and detoxes in America fall short, literally and figuratively, in their ability to address the fundamental issues of health, none of which usually has to do with the food itself. Most of the issues people deal with are mental illness and addiction, and we all know the stigmatization attached to those two dis-eases.
The hardest thing for me to do is to embrace a lifestyle in which I have to take responsibility for all my actions, past and present, and make them work for me. We have many industries dedicated to capitalizing off people’s, perceived or actual, lack of self-esteem. We will coddle and lambaste grown-people into material satisfaction, all the while helping lace the pockets of self-help gurus, most of whom need to help themselves.
So, how did I get over the weekend? I took responsibility for my past and present actions and allowed that energy of self-reflection to reinvigorate goals. I slowed down and had the most productive Monday I have had in years, and that’s without leaving my community due to the snow day. I will detail how our bodies, our auto-immune system in particular, and our brains collude for optimal health. These events were a case in point. Stay tuned…