This is the fifth of a handful of posts I’ve solicited from some friends in the ancestral health community whose voices I admire (Part 1 by Tara Grant is here, Part 2 by Kendall Kendrick here, Part 3 by Anastasia Boulais here, Part 4 by James Murphy here). I’ll be posting these in the days leading up to AHS13. It’s my hope that these dispatches will resonate with others out there and help dispel the notion that everyone in ancestral health have hunter-gatherer physiques and zero health struggles. I’m tired of the apologies and I’m tired of people not feeling welcome. We all come to ancestral health for our own reasons, and this is too important of a movement to let divisions arise over perfectly normal, human experiences.
Today, Ben Morgan of BadAssPaleo.com shares his story.
When I was very young, my parents would worry about me because I was so skinny and wouldn’t eat much. But I started to gain weight when I became a teenager. I was overweight through most of middle school and all of high school. I got picked on and called names. I wasn’t terribly obese, but noticeably overweight. And I also wasn’t the largest kid in school…so it could have been worse. But I always wanted to be in better shape.
I had to lose 20 pounds to join the Air Force; and I did so with a lot of running. My first few years in the Air Force, I was in what we called “the fat boy program.” It was a program that overweight troops had to go on. It was just supervised gym time and some nutrition counseling. I eventually got out of it by hitting the gym a lot. But I was still overweight.
When I started Paleo 2 1/2 years ago, I lost 40 pounds and 7 inches off my waist in 5 months. And honestly, I wasn’t THAT Paleo. I wasn’t near as strict about it as I am now. I’ve lost an additional inch or so off my waist and converted a lot of fat into muscle in the last couple years. But I still think I have more work to do.
People think I have six pack abs because of the way I eat and they ASSUME that I workout a lot (I don’t…maybe twice a week). But I don’t have six pack abs. I tell people I have a four pack and the bottom two cans are still hidden. I have some flab above the belt line I want to get rid of.
So with all of these conferences (AHS13 will be my third) and going on the Low-Carb Cruise in 2012, I’ve tightened up my diet in the days leading up to them hoping I’ll lose some more flab and get in better shape. I want to look as good as the crazy fit guys walking around (I’ll refrain from naming names). But alas, this is another conference where I still have a bit of flab. I know I’m in better shape than A LOT of people. But I (and most others) want to be a little bit fitter or toned or whatever. But it’s so important to accept who you are and own it! There are few things sexier than a girl who has confidence and owns her style. She could be a super fit CrossFitter or a lazy goth girl. But if she owns her style and has confidence…so sexy!
Okay, I got side-tracked. I’ve come to accept myself more recently. I’ve focused more on how I’m feeling than how I look. Meditation and sleep have helped my mood tremendously. I have a much better outlook on health and fitness. Attitude really is everything. You’ll see yourself in the mirror differently if you focus on things other than just how you look. It really is all tied together: diet, exercise, sleep, stress, sunlight, nature, things that make you happy (for me it’s playing guitar). Just focus on everything BUT how you look, and it’ll work out. Just smile. Even a fake smile makes you feel better.
Ben Morgan lives in Las Vegas and is an active-duty registered nurse with the Air Force. He blogs at BadAssPaleo.com and you can find him on Twitter @BadAssPaleo.