A spiritual mentor once stopped me mid-sentence as I was explaining a new breakthrough. Because the experience was unfamiliar to me and I was struggling with its validity, I indicated to her that it was “weird”. She wondered out loud if there was a more positive word I could use to think about my timid epiphany, and made a few suggestions when I drew a blank. As I listened to her more seasoned perspective I tried the words on like new hats. I don’t recall having ever considered rearranging my thinking to change the way I felt about an event prior to that day. I marveled at the way the new words tasted. Interesting, Intriguing. Fascinating. They all seemed to lend the experience a deeper and more expansive meaning. It was like stepping into a massive library with all the answers in front of me. My job was just to immerse myself in the process.
No two people see any situation in exactly the same way. We see things the way we want to see them – the way it serves us currently. If I didn’t understand something back in those days, it was weird. If you introduced me to a new food, I was more likely to say “no thanks” or “not interested” - because it was “weird”. Staying within the confines of the familiar in all things was more comforting to me. However, it was also quite limiting.
At the beginning of this year, like many other half-hearted dreamers, I made a resolution to lose weight. There are very few annual rituals that have resulted in less commitment or determination for me than weight loss. Everything else in my life zapped the energy that was stored to care for and nurture my body. (Single working mom, yardwork, housework, etc.) When all the important work was done, the best I could manage for myself was to at least eat more salads. I was hoping that all the spiritual and emotional work I had done in recovery would result in some magical breakthrough whereby I would wake up one day completely willing. To do what, I had no clue. Something inside me knew I wasn’t ready to release my grip on the 45-50 extra pounds I had been hauling around. Every diet I would consider seemed to be shot through with “weird” or unfamiliar foods. Going back through my journals, I seemed to be obsessed with my inability to move forward with any kind of plan that would get me to a healthier weight. It became my favorite subject to explore and my least favorite to act upon.
In the past year or so I have made huge changes in my life that are going to put me in a place in which energy, stamina and endurance will play a vital role. At 57 I went back to school, started my own coaching practice, conduct workshops, speak, and author a weekly blog. It occurred me that standing in front of an audience for several hours at a time might be challenging with the weight I was carrying. My mentor’s words came back to me as I contemplated my next steps. What if I looked at this from a new perspective? “Losing” weight had always been a daunting and unreachable goal for me. Besides the universe often conspires to help us find lost things. In searching for a more empowering and positive way to look at the journey I wanted to begin, I considered the feelings around the phrase “eating research” as an alternative for diet. Could I pick SOMETHING to try and just look at the process as an observer and see what happened? I also knew through lots of emotional and spiritual work that the weight I carried was armor to protect me from a world that I had been terrified of for years. I was happy now. It was safe to let it go.
The problems I had experienced from being overweight included many of those things the average American suffers from. Achy joints, elevated blood pressure and shortness of breath prompted me the most. My bookshelf is packed with diet books, all sitting there staring at me every time I walk by. It was time to try one. The anti-inflammatory eating plan seemed to stand out as what would get me some relief, albeit restrictive. That is what I wanted to do…remove something. No weird food – just discontinuing the consumption of many things like sugar, white flour, etc., and replacing those with fresh fruit and vegetables. It entailed a lot of thought and preparation of fresh foods and I can sometimes spend big blocks of time in the kitchen. Considering my use of words, I journaled what I was feeling as I went through the process. Lighter. Encouraged. Energetic. Proud. Seeing the loving words that I used in my journal to encourage myself gave me hope.
I got creative with the things I could eat and reintroduced myself to weird. Some of my concoctions have been quite interesting and often they actually taste good. Sticking with it killed the cravings I had for bread and sweets and I have consistently dropped an average of 5 pounds per month. All from changing the WAY I see the process. I am off my blood pressure meds, have more energy, think clearer and get more done every day. That mashed banana and almond butter I dip my apple slices in, no longer feels weird – it is delicious. Spinach and kale find their way into lots of things and my smoothies are a work of art.
We are nearly half way through the year and my perspective keeps changing with the days. Hubby has come on board and we spend time together preparing things to pave the way to our improved health and slimmer physiques. Finding new ways to see this experience, writing them down so I can celebrate the successes, and being grateful for each small step has created an atmosphere of love in our home. Treating myself with love has caused me to be in love with the person I see in the mirror each day. The numbers on the scale are secondary, how I feel and think of myself is what motivates me to continue. I am on my way to a new and healthy body!
Whatever you are struggling with today…consider looking at things in a different way. Listen to what you tell yourself and consider changing your words. Weird just might turn into wonderful!
Every blog I share comes from the heart and has a challenge or a question within it to help others explore new ways of thinking. I hope that as you read the blogs you would consider starting conversation by commenting. We can learn so much together!