Happy, Healthy, & Horsey: Symbiosis

Like the life you’re living.

One of the ways Webster defines “symbiosis” is as “a cooperative relationship.”

We horsefolk are experts in doing our darnedest to create such a symbiosis between ourselves and our horses. The wise ones among us also strive to create cooperative relationships with the vet, the farrier, the trainer, and the bank.

But this week, I’ve been looking into a different sort of symbiosis: namely, a cooperative relationship between me and my body. I am striving to find a balance between how I feel, what I eat, what I do, what the tape measure says, what the scale says, and what my body tells me. As y’all know, for the past several weeks I’ve been working out regularly with DDPY yoga, and I am definitely getting stronger and firmer. (#Win) But on the other hand, the scale has been going UP. (#FileUnderFrustrating) Not a dramatic amount, but up and sitting there.

I know, I know, muscle weighs more than fat. And the scale is only one metric for measuring health. I get it. But that doesn’t make it any easier to swallow (pun intended).

Earlier this week, in my ongoing quest for optimal health, I came across an article from Yoni Freedhoff, M.D. I didn’t really care that he was an M.D. — any article written by some dude named Yoni Freedhoff is gonna pique my interest enough for the click through.

Turns out, Doc Freedhoff is, in my opinion (and — legal disclaimer — I’m no doctor, nor any certified critic of doctors, so it’s just my opinion here, mkay?), one smart cookie. He specializes in helping obese persons find themselves by losing themselves — or, at least, losing several sizes of themselves. And the majority of his patients keep the weight off. Doc F cuts through all the esoteric horse apples, too, which I respect.

In sum, what the M.D. Freedhoff believes is, it doesn’t matter what “diet” you choose, or what exercise program you enroll yourself in, or any detail at all regarding weight loss except one: life symbiosis. Here’s one of many gems from his article:

“Looking to my experiences working with thousands of patients over the course of the past dozen years, it’s clear that liking the life you’re living while you’re losing weight is the key to keeping it off.” – Yoni Freedhoff

It’s clear that liking the life you’re living while you’re losing weight is the key to keeping it off.  #MicDrop

Kiwi loving the life he’s living, now that spring grass has appeared. Photo by Tess McHone, Everyday Beauty Photography

Apparently Freedhoff and Roberts are on the same page: Happy and Healthy go hand-in-hand. In that order. Like the life you’re living + losing weight = sustainable weight loss. #Nirvana

This is why my own weight loss journey is taking me so much longer than I originally thought it would. The foundational promise I made myself when I began this journey was this: whatever it takes, however long it takes, I will get this weight off and get myself healthy in a sustainable way. I’ve dropped lots of weight quickly before. And each time, when undue stress returned to my life, the pounds packed back on. #YoYoNoMo

That’s why I have never mentioned “going on a diet” in this journey. Keto, Paleo, Eieio – I don’t want to try intermittent fasting or any of the latest fads. My present journey is figuring out how to live my life in such a way that I do not regain the weight I’ve lost once I’ve lost all the weight I want to lose.

That’s why my own journey is just as much about personal discovery and personal growth as it is about losing weight and getting in shape.

What does the “life I like” while losing weight look like? (nudge:  ya might wanna ask yourself the same question…)

For me, that “weight loss life” means I have to minimize stress, because stress is my #1 trigger to overeat. I can handle stress — a lot of stress — but, in true red mare fashion, I handle stress overload in one of two ways: have a melt down, or overeat. So, as I’m striving to live a balanced life of zen calmness in order to support my efforts to eat healthier, lose weight, and keep it off, I have had to literally opt out of many activities simply because they would result in stress-overload from an overpacked life. I’m learning to say “no” to more than just cookies, friends. And it feels good to have room in my life to literally sit still for a few minutes and just be. #Breathe

Liking the life I’m living includes a lot more hiking now. I don’t strut through the woods to make mileage and time. I’m deep into Shinrin-Yoku and I love it.

Liking the life I’m living means prepping one meal at a time. This teaches me what a single portion looks like, so I can regulate my intake and learn portion control.

Liking the life I’m living means pushing myself to try new things, just for the sake of seeing if I like the new thing. Grain-free chips? Yes, please!

Wilted kale salad? Not so much.

Liking the life I’m living means spending time with Kaliwohi any way I choose, including walking him like a dog while he stuffs his mouth full of grass. #HorseHog #HuggyHorse

What’s the key to keeping weight off? Liking the life you’re living while you’re losing weight.

Thanks, Doc Freedhoff. The inspiration is much appreciated.


Go Riding!




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