Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

What’s with 6 months?

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When I started my weight-loss effort with Healthy Way, I followed their guidance carefully, keeping my journal of weight, food, and exercise, along with my journal of reflections, and though I lost weight consistently from the gitgo, I felt frustrated and dissatisfied because I couldn’t grasp the connections among the data: true, I was eating right and, overall, losing weight, but each time I got on the scale I had no idea what to expect. It was like walking blindfolded to a destination: even if you arrive, you get the feeling you missed a lot.

And then, about 6.5 months in, I suddenly “got it”: I felt that I suddenly understood, at a deep level (the level at which you play a game without thinking about the rules because they have become simply part of how you think about the game) what I was doing. I felt in control. I knew what I would see (more or less) when I stepped on the scale, and I knew exactly how to lose any weight gained. The whole experience around food lost many of its emotional overtones and became just an enjoyable part of daily life, not an arena of struggle.

I started Pilates around the beginning of November. The last couple of sessions have seemed really different: I am beginning to be able to do the exercises with much better form, which means I am better able now to control my body: when the instructor asks me to do something (drop my shoulders, point my ribs down, and so on), I understand how to do it. I feel as though I am starting to “get it.” Again: right around 6 months.

Last night I was watching a (very good) movie in Spanish—the movie (The Secret in Their Eyes) is set in Argentina and made for a Spanish-speaking audience). The characters are lawyers: educated, speaking educated Spanish, and of course I got the benefit of body language and English subtitles (in yellow with black outline, thank God: white subtitles are the pits—yellow with black outline is best). I was able not only to recognize words here and there, and short exchanges (“Bien“), but even phrases. And when one of the lawyers referred to “una investigación“, I not only heard the words clearly and (as it were) unhurriedly—that is, I was understanding them as they were spoken, not immediately after—I was struck by how the definite article matched the gender of the noun: I had an odd, tiny emotional response of pleasure and a feeling of rightness—very much as if one of my little unconscious pattern-recognition engines was tuned in to that and responded with the feeling of rightness. Antonio Damasio has discussed in his several books how the engine of thought is driven by the energy of emotions, and emotions are essential to all our mental processes—memory, ratiocination, making decisions, and the like.

That set me wondering: things are just starting to come together for me in Spanish, so I wonder where I’ll be after six months of study, at the end of July. I’ll be interested if I experience a similar feeling of integration of what I’ve been working on.

Written by LeisureGuy

28 April 2011 at 6:07 am

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