11 Thoughts on Getting Leaner

You may have noticed that it’s rare for us to talk about body composition at Bang. Ultimately, there is so much judgement about bodies that it becomes very difficult to talk about them without a sense of moralism or judgement. 


The history of this goes way back and, like many things in our culture, tends to have its roots in white supremacy. If you’re curious, you can read about some of that stuff here and here.


Personally, I don’t love it when people comment on my body. I feel strong and healthy and grateful for the things I can do. However, comments on fat gained or lost just carry too much baggage. Fortunately, there are more liberating ways to get a sense of movement. Performance measured against your own baseline is a more useful lens to look through if you’re goal or competition-oriented.


 To me, though, the only real question is how do you feel?


Are you as zesty as you wanna be? Are your energy, focus, and mood zinging along as you wish? If not… well, ok. If that is because of factors beyond your control, so be it. And if it’s because of factors within your control, do you feel clear about them? There are some perfectly good reasons why not – including the fact that no aspect of life or nature features a steady, smooth trend upwards. 


Other reasons include running experiments (always good), different priorities (always fine), and working to figure it all out (standard human stuff).


If you’re an athlete, feeling less than zesty may also be because you’re partway through a strategic overreach—where pushing your adaptive capacity often means feeling like poop. Not recommended without a good reason.

IF you’re focusing on an aspect of body composition—like gaining muscle or losing fat—because it will have you feeling better, that is great.


 It is also 100% your business. We’ll support you any way we can. And we can talk about it as much or as little as you like.


Some advice

I want to share a few quick thoughts on getting leaner—parsed through my personal experience.

A quick disclaimer:

There are more nuanced reasons that exist within medical issues and pharmaceuticals. I’m not covering those here. When in doubt, consult a qualified healthcare expert.

Good? Good. Here we go:


We live in an environment that makes over-consuming easy

Great battles are generally presented in dramatic terms. Many of our toughest choices, though, are a question of tolerating repeated inconvenience. That’s the real battlefield. Saying no to time on our devices so that we can say yes to more complete rest. Tolerating mild discomfort—with hunger, boredom, and challenge. Reshaping your own environment instead of accepting default settings. Small shifts can turn the tide.


Most of the food choices we’re unhappy with are not due to a lack of knowledge

I am not under any illusions when I reach for ultra-processed snacks at 9pm. I doubt you are either. We eat for other reasons.


Don’t get rid of something until you know what it does for you

Chewing can be calming. Rich flavours can be deeply satisfying. Freedom of choice can feel liberating. Zero in on the core needs and look to create those in other places.


You need to really know why it’s important to you

There’s nothing wrong with a bit of vanity coming along for the ride. However, you probably need some deeper reasons to keep this objective salient.


Little wins count!

Every extra trip up the stairs. Every time you slow down when eating. Every time you choose to go to bed 20 minutes earlier. These add up. On that note…


Great sleep will make everything easier

Seriously.


You don’t need to track calories

Personally, I find it to be a bummer. If you’re eating and moving in a consistent way and then change a variable, it should be easy to notice.


Every choice needs to be examined through the lens of your priorities

This doesn’t mean that you need to take action every time you notice an opportunity for positive change. Nobody’s got the bandwidth to do that. Not even you. But awareness on repeat often leads to easy action—as long as your priorities are in place.


Slow progress is fine—but you probably need to see enough to not give up

Momentum goes a long way.


Failures happen all the time


Most of us need to go through multiple cycles of experimentation to even begin to get traction. The trick isn’t to get everything right. It’s to make your failures small enough to not create high levels of negative emotions. Run a lot of experiments. Have fun with them. Get good at failing.


Your worth as a human doesn’t have a goddamned thing to do with your body composition

There’s a lot that’s amazing about you. And, at the risk of going full Mr. Rogers, that’s all inside stuff. We like you as you are.