When I turned 60 this year, I made a pact with myself that I would figure out this weight loss “thing” once and for all. I was tired of fussing with my weight and always focusing on what the scale said. Not to mention, I was tired of being overweight. It was time to make the challenge of my weight a thing of the past!
I am about 6 months into this journey. While it has been a challenge (a huge one at that), I am feeling good about the progress I am making. Thought I would share mid-course reflections with you.
Doing things differently this time around!
A big question I asked myself at the beginning on this new journey was what I really wanted to accomplish. Surprisingly the most important thing on my mind was to create a way of eating that I could sustain naturally. I wanted healthy eating to be a natural way of life. Not something I forced upon myself nor an effort that required constant diligence to maintain. How cool would that be – to have a way of eating that was second nature and sustained a healthy weight.
Where the mind goes, the body will follow!
I set parameters around how I was going to approach this journey. These ground rules included:
- Suspending any notion of a “goal weight.”
- Giving myself permission to accept whatever weight my body arrived at as long as I felt that my eating was as healthy as I could make it.
- Paying close attention to what drove my unhealthy eating habits.
- Trusting my body and my intuition.
The scale would play a role. It would be one of the metrics to indicate if my efforts were producing the results I desired. This is a weight loss journey. But instead of creating an arbitrary number on the scale as the goal, I was going to create a healthy eating process that suited me and my lifestyle.
Making changes from the inside out
It became abundantly clear to me that my challenges with my weight had everything to do with challenges in my mind. In other words, my thoughts, beliefs, and perceptions about myself and the world around me had (and have) a huge influence on how I eat and what I consume. The thought processes that drove a significant part of my life also drove my unhealthy food choices. When I did succeed in changing my eating patterns in the past, the success was not permanent. Over the course of time, the weight came back on.
If you truly want to change your life, you must first change your mind.
I have come to believe that if my thought process doesn’t match the desired eating process, thoughts win. Our external circumstances eventually organize around how we internalize ourselves and the world.
Taking a look at who I am
In the hustle and bustle of the last several years, I think I lost track of myself. At least what makes me tick and makes my soul sing. To meet the demands of my life, I went on autopilot. That happens sometimes in life. But now that I have the time and the focus, I want to reacquaint myself with me and my life.
I discovered that my relationship with work was not healthy. What drove me to succeed took a lot out of me and left me drained and mentally exhausted. This exhaustion led to what I call my “evening eating extravaganza!” And that extravaganza has produced a lot of extra pounds on this body of mine.
Problems can’t be solved at the same level of energy they were created. Shift your energy; find your solution! (A. Einstein)
Part of improving my relationship with work was limiting my hours and making my work more efficient. Another part was getting comfortable again with taking time for myself to rest and rejuvenate the soul. Instead of accepting the left over minutes I had in my day, I have been more intentional and proactive in setting time aside for me. That took some getting used to.
Next up was looking at the thoughts and beliefs behind success and failure, who I looked to for support, and what I really truly wanted out of life. Some of these changes have put me on a course very different from those who are closest to me. That has taken some negotiation with myself to be okay with being on a different path.
Discovering my needs
A recent “thought pop” (that is what I call those spontaneous thoughts that pop into your mind) asked “what are your needs?” I laughed because that question was completely unexpected and totally on target. Have you ever been clear on what you truly need? I am not sure I have. At least on the deepest levels. Needs that are part of my essence.
Interesting things are being discovered. To keep my mind fresh and energized, I need a tribe of creative and collaborative thinkers. That’s a new one for me, but it makes sense. Movement is also important to me – bending, twisting, stretching! And I love to breathe! To move strenuously and feel my lungs expand and work hard. Feeling that life force is heaven to me.
What this means for weight loss
Everything! I am learning that as I discover and then shift my thought processes in a way that serves me well, I have ample creative energy to change the way I eat. Some changes seem automatic. My cravings for comfort or “reward” food are way down or virtually non-existent. I am sure that stems from the fact that my internal stress levels have decreased significantly.
Other eating changes are occurring because I am creating them – with ease! It is actually quite fun!
The “evening eating extravaganza” that has always felt like an alien power isn’t as powerful as it has been. The results are showing on the scale as well. I am down almost 20 pounds. And while that feels good, the more satisfying part is that I am creating something for myself and my health. And it feels right!
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