The Discipline of Weight Loss
Food. We all gotta have it. If we don't, we won't stay around for very long. But in the last 50 years or so - some people would argue much longer - our relationship with food has changed dramatically. Instead of heading out to the garden, or perusing the cold room storage for something we've grown and prepared ourselves, the majority of us head to the grocery store and buy meals whose appearance is far-removed from their source. The 5-minute preparation of Kraft Dinner has become a laborious chore that we almost can't endure.
Perhaps you've heard that I'm on a weight-loss journey. If not, quick recap: I've struggled all my life with weight. I have managed to lose some amounts of weight in the past by changing my habits temporarily, always to regain it again. But in 2008, I started a different kind of journey. This one involved changing my relationship with food and activity, not just jumping on some fad, or employing all of the willpower I could possibly muster. This time, it's personal.
But it's not just personal - I've decided to make it my business, too. I've realized that not everyone is as keenly aware of the voice-over track running through their minds, the continual inner-monologue that alternates between "I shouldn't eat that because…" and "oh, but I'm going to eat that…" I've asked people what they think just before they eat that thing they know they shouldn't. May times, the question is met with a blank stare, or a rote answer. But I'm listening and analyzing that inner monologue all of the time, ever deepening my understanding. And I've identified a really great way to keep on track.
Here's a great 'for instance': the other day, I was planning to purchase my once-weekly treat. I've learned that pre-decided limits work well for me, so one dessert item per week is my limit. But on my way to purchase said treat, I realized that I was feeling kind of bummed out, and I knew that I was looking to this treat to provide an emotional boost for me. Right then and there, I knew that indulging in a treat at this time would be an unwise decision - even though I was perfectly within my pre-set limits. The change I knew I wanted to make, however, was learning not to tie food to my emotional well-being. And so, I skipped the sweets and had a salad instead. It was a moment of personal triumph almost rivalling my 2 marathons.
Every day, I'm having revelations just like this. Every day, I'm getting strong and more able to control my relationship to food and activity. And every day Im seeing more and more clearly all of the negative messages we receive in our culture that do not help.
So I started a project: thedisciplineofweightloss.com. It's my forum for putting together messages, thoughts, and ideas that combat the ones out there, in the world, the ones that encourage us to eat, that tell us that eating 'x' brand of cereal will provide some mystical or magical experience, or somehow solve all of life's problems (it won't).
The reason food brands are doing such a great job of helping us get fatter and fatter - oops, I mean, of selling more and more of their products - is because they spend millions getting those messages to permeate our brains. Unless we spend conscious time reversing this trend, filling our brains with positive thoughts, those negative ones will move in and make a home.
I'm aiming to start a daily email program, and have been frantically collecting material. I wanted to be prepared with a year's worth, as I didn't want to be caught off guard, or left with nothing to say one day. I already and easily have 100 days worth of material, that's just how vast and ubiquitous our thoughts are around health, food, activity, etc.
And I continue to be shocked and amazed as I have whole new truths revealed to me on a daily basis. I would have thought I was getting pretty smart by now. Apparently not!
It's an epic journey that we're all on - to live this life, make the most of it, keep our vessels (bodies) running well and make our impact. I know a big part of mine will be always thinking about how I'm fuelling my vessel, how I'm keeping fit and active.
The 'quick fix' that the giant marketing companies sell us simply doesn't exist. But a permanent solution does. That's what I'm after. If you are too, I hope you'll come check out what I've been working on at thedisciplineofweightloss.com. We can all use an extra bit of help - especially when it comes to weight and health.
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