Sunday, May 30, 2010

In which I give my body and my mind over to Patrick and Chen once more for experimental purposes

When I finished 90 days of the Peak Condition Project, I jumped for joy. I thought, I would definitely do it again for the first time, but NOT for a second time. Then Patrick e-mailed us all about the Kung Fu Body using buzz words like . . . Flexibility! Agility! Meditation! How could a girl say no to transforming her body into a lethal weapon?

But that's not why I signed up.

The real reason I'm here is that my father passed away unexpectedly on April 3. I was on vacation in New Mexico, and the next thing I knew, I was on a plane to North Carolina because my 61-year-old father was in the hospital. My father who didn't look or feel sick. My father who was up walking around and watching the NCAA tournament. Who was talking and laughing with us the whole day. Who was pronounced dead just minutes after we left the hospital because his arteries were a calcified impasse, and he didn't know until it was too late.

When I signed up for KFB a couple weeks later, I was unsure whether I was in the right headspace to maintain such a regimented lifestyle. Sometimes, I'm still not sure. But I believe in the power of food to prevent and heal disease. I believe that if I stay active, my joints, my muscles—my heart—will always be in my corner.

It's not as easy as handing over years of ideas and habits. As having a lightbulb moment and never eating another tortilla chip. Before my father died, I understood that it was important to eat healthy and exercise. But now I finally get it. We really are what we eat.

Everything we consume either contributes to or detracts from the processes that keep our bodies functioning, but our relationships with food can be complicated. It's hard to make the mental transition from eating for pleasure or comfort to eating to sustain our lives—to enhance our lives. Or to work out to keep our muscles working and not just so our pants will fit. But making the choice to change is a no-brainer for me, and that's why I'm here.

I will still trip up. I might bake chocolate chip cookies or have four beers one night and throw up on the train (right, I didn't mention that part Friday.) And I don't believe it's healthy to deprive ourselves completely of the treats we enjoy. The Kung Fu Body has to work in real life. So I am giving my body and my mind over to Patrick and Chen once more for experimental purposes, but I am reserving the right to make my own choices. To eat fewer carbs if I'm not hungry or have some extra fruit if I am. To do fewer punches and kicks if I need more sleep. That's what I believe the mind-body aspect of this program is about. By sitting with our minds, it will grow easier to understand what our bodies really need.

My father couldn't save his own life, but at least he can save mine.


  1. This is really beautiful.

    Good luck with the second round! You really are one of the most kickass people ever.

  2. Thank you for sharing this, Emily. My heart is with you over the next 80+ days as we take this journey of falling off the horse - getting back on the horse - falling off the horse together.

  3. Thanks for trusting us! You're in the right head space, I want healthy people on mental and emotional levels even more than physical. If that means eating a cookie when you know you need it, then that's a good choice.

    Sorry to hear about your Dad. Powerful motivation.

  4. Wow, Pingo, I am so sorry about your father. What a shock. And a wakeup call. I'm really impressed with your strength and your commitment. And I'm so glad to be playing with you in the roda again!

  5. You're strong, pragmatic and honest - which means in the end you'll do awesome. It's great to be here with you. Sorry for your loss.

  6. Thank you so much everyone! I was pretty morose much of the day after writing this post, but I am grateful for your spirit-lifting words...and looking forward to the days to come.

  7. Emily, you're such an inspiration, and a real model of health for so many women in your life (myself included). I have no doubt that you'll save yourself and those around you. Love to you and your family.

  8. Emily,

    Thank you so much for sharing your perspective. It's given me a new way to look at the KFB.

    It's easy to see "conditioning" programs as temporary get-fit seasons. Often when I tell others I am conditioning, they ask, "What for?" I say that I am conditioning for a better life, but your attitude, one in which you mindfully make choices in what you consume, whether for better or for worse, is far more maintainable.

    I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you and your family. As your father is an inspiration for you, may your story continue to be an inspiration for the rest of us.

  9. Dear Emily,
    I'm sending you a hug across the ocean and wishing you strength.

    You will do a great job and what you will learn will change many lives. I'm sure about it.

  10. Oh gosh, thank you all so much!

    @Tricon, I hope you will blog some of your own experiences with creating a sustainable KFB!