True Compassion

Deep down within ourselves we possess a loving-kindness that we oppress. We seek to insulate ourselves from the world that surrounds us. Other people and their difficulties rob us of our self-importance that parades itself as “joy”. We hide within ourselves and our own ego, an ivory tower of security, but therein lies pain and loneliness.

“Look out for number one.”
“She is just crazy.”
“That bum is an addict. He deserves to be homeless.”
“I don’t want to think about it; it’s too depressing.”
“What’s wrong with you? Why can’t you just be happy?”
“Something is wrong with me, I’m always sad.”

These are things that I have said before, callous, unkind, and foolish.

True compassion lies in deep kinship. When we remove the boundaries that separate us, and we get down in the muck of another’s addictions, depression, and pains, when we experience these things with our fellow humans and suffer with them: that is true compassion. Eliminating our egos and the selfishness of “me” allows us to understand deeply and to love deeply.

I recently made friends with a beautifully compassionate person who was dealing with a great deal of depression and anxiety. One thing after another kept going wrong. As she bore her heart out to me, I felt sad. I do not pity my friend, rather I thought of similar experiences I had endured and recalled the gut-wrenching pain. We hurt together. She was sharing some of her poetry with me, and it was quite expressive of her passions for social justice, equality, and the pain she is enduring.

“You don’t want to hear this one, it’s too depressing.”

I did, and I will wade through these murky waters with her.


Metabolism, Diet, and Body Weight

Though this might be a bit of a tough topic for my first post, I’m going to try to tackle metabolism head-on, because it’s something about which I am quite passionate. Unfortunately, there are a lot of fads, fasts, diets, and cleanses that saturate the fitness market- unfortunate because to successfully utilize these tools, we must really know how they affect our bodies. Put simply and excluding units, weight loss is a matter of an easy equation: 

(Intake Calories) – (Output Calories) = Net Weight Gain or Loss 

If we apply this formula to our diets every day (with a lot of self-control), we can achieve our goals! In actuality, this process of weight loss isn’t as easy as that (even if you have unbelievable self-control). As animals, our bodies are fine-tuned, miraculous machines that are able to make adjustments to how they function based on their environment (that includes our diets and activity levels). We might think that having a daily 500 calorie deficit is the best way to approach weight-loss: that’s something like 25% of our average daily calorie allowance, so in a month, we could finally get rid of that pesky 10 lbs. In actuality, having such a large deficit would allow us to lose weight, but depending on our activity levels and macronutrient intake (protein, carbohydrates, and fats- I’ll touch on these in a later post), we could be doing some major damage to our metabolism and to our muscles! After a week of such a big caloric deficit, our metabolism will start to slow down. Our bodies will burn off some fat, but protein is much easier for our bodies to convert into energy, so the areas we really want to minimize: stomach, love handles, thighs, etc. aren’t changing as much as we would like. As our bodies burn muscle for energy, and our metabolism slows due to the decreased muscle mass. We burn calories by using our muscles, and when there is less muscle to work, we burn fewer calories. So we have this horrible feedback loop of reducing our resting metabolic rate when we have a huge calorie deficit. Ultimately, my point is that, creating large caloric deficits like those popular in cleanses, fasts, or extreme diets is not good for you, and in the long run, will create road blocks to achieving fitness goals. At the same time, if a cleanse or a fast helps to jump start your getting into fitness, then go for it! Just make sure that you do these, just like everything else, in moderation. Getting fit, being healthy, and improving our lives involves overcoming bad habits and creating new ones- a huge part of it exists in our minds. Most importantly, be mindful of your body. If something hurts don’t do it. Most importantly, examine exercise routines and diets with a critical eye, and ask QUALIFIED friends (CPT’s, licensed nutritionists, etc.) for advice if you aren’t sure. Don’t just take marketing or the opinions of spokespeople as science. There are a lot of companies out there that know just how desperate for instant gratification humans are!

Until next time! Signature.jpg