Tuesday, January 4, 2011

My Journey With Food, Not Diet: Another Reflection of Eat, Pray, Love

2011...A new year and new beginnings.   We usually start our year with a resolution for improved health, a planned diet regime, or perhaps set personal weight loss goals for ourselves, I thought I would tackle the "Eat" part of Eat, Pray, Love. Like my journey with God, food was also a journey.  And, like Elizabeth Gilbert, I also discovered it was all about pleasure--but with a slightly different twist.

I was laying on the couch one afternoon after having had a surgical procedure done. With nothing to do except watch some television I came across a show regarding weight loss.  The person interviewed (I can not remember his name...sorry) said something like, "Anything you want to know about diets, nutrition and exercise just ask an overweight person, they have all the answers."  Huh?

I lay there on the couch (overweight) and thought about that comment.  Of course!  I have read Atkins, South Beach Diet, You On a Diet and more.  I have tried Jenny Craig, Slim Fast and Nutri-System.  I have joined a gym, consulted with trainers, attempted aerobics (never liked it by the way) and circuit training.  I can trace my efforts at weight loss back to Jane Fonda and those sexy 20 minute workout videos from the 80s.  Remember those?  I also attempted tennis and daily walking.  You know what?  They all work!  I have lost over 30 pounds several times in my life and have gained it all back and more.

I know exactly what is required for weight loss, desire (there is that word again). Learning more about the Law of Attraction and Feng Shui I have come to see the world as a constant flow of energy.  It occurred to me that I simply had to tap into the right energy flow to lose the weight.  The question was, how?

From the pages of Esther and Jerry Hicks' book, Law of Attraction:  The Basics of the Teachings of Abraham, Abraham explains a style of journaling that seemed rather simple as a means of bringing your desires to fruition--and being one who likes to write--why not?  I was rather incapacitated with my illness (and the following surgical procedures at the time) so major exercise was out of the question--the idea of writing was appealing.

I began writing about my desire to lose weight followed with how it feels to be thinner (which was written all in present tense as my desire will never arrive if I see it in the future--I had to put myself in a frame of mind that I was already thin).  So, I proceeded to lie.   I felt great!  Weight loss was slow but writing lent itself to starting my day on a positive note.  I wanted to do more.  PHASE TWO:  I began daydreaming (or Pure Thought as described by Abraham). Two minutes a day, I allowed my eyes to close and daydream about myself and how I looked thinner and more important, how I felt thinner.  What I realized was that my frame of reference was starting to shift to skinny person thinking.

As the days went on, I was finally able to exercise.  Starting slowly, I began using the elliptical machine a few minutes a day.  As my strength grew I added whatever exercise I thought I would enjoy.  Whatever I did for exercise, it was because I enjoyed it.  I kept it simple.

Finally, I had to consider food.  Here we go:  Diet--I really don't like that word.  What can I do here?  I LOVE TO EAT.  I LOVE FOOD.  I LOVE TO COOK GREAT TASTING MEALS. As I thought about how to handle this, I didn't make sudden nor drastic changes at first.  I did simple adjustments like drinking more water, adding more fiber, adding more salad.  I chose to add things because it felt better than removing food from my life.  I felt that this idea of adding was more in line with feeling good and worked within the constructs of the Law of Attraction.

Here is what I discovered, food had very little to do with my weight.  It was the energy I gave the food.  Because I wanted to dive into the energy flow that led me to weight loss through the Law of Attraction, I had to pay attention to my thoughts. I discovered that having been overweight since childhood, the constant messages playing in my head sounded awful:

  • Your going to eat that?
  • That will go straight to your thighs.
  • I shouldn't eat this or that.
  • That food is fattening.
  • A second helping?  Do you really think you should?
  • I'm already fat, nothing will make a difference now.

This is a complete contradiction to how much I love food, right?  During the times I ate, I realized that I was not thinking like a skinny person as I was throughout the rest of the day.  There it is.  I was paying attention to my daily thoughts moment by moment, bite by bite.   That self-talk was on instant replay with nearly every bite, every choice of food I made.  I took NO PLEASURE in eating and it showed in my body.  I had to make food my friend. I had to appreciate food and love food.  Smell it, taste it, feel the energy it took before it became the masterpiece sitting on the plate in front of me. 

Slowly I realized that pleasure was key to weight loss.  Elizabeth Gilbert in her book Eat, Pray, Love made me want to take the next plane to Italy just to eat.  I loved that her comment about food and weight gain were comical and light-hearted.  It wasn't upsetting.  It was proof of her pleasure.  It was momentary.  It was fun. Obviously, the weight gain (if you have seen her recently) did not negatively affect her body.   She already knew before she left Italy that the pounds would "melt away" by the time she was in India.

As my frame of mind changed, the weight dropped.  During my trip to Greece, I ate...everything.  I gained about 10lbs of joy.  It eventually came off.  I gained again this holiday season.  I know it is temporary. More important is knowing that I am blessed to have the means to purchase the food, blessed to have a kitchen to prepare food, blessed to have friends to share my food, blessed to have food choices--blessed, blessed, blessed.  

It's been two years and except for the natural weight fluctuations, the weight has stayed off.  I have come to learn more about food as other experiences have opened themselves up to me during my weight-loss journey.   Illness forced me to look at food (again) in a different way.  This is another post--another time--no worries though, I am still enjoying food.

For now, I encourage you in whatever resolution you have made for yourself....to do it with joy in your heart.  Happy New Year!

If you are interested in purchasing the books I have mentioned above you may do so with the following links:

The Law of Attraction: The Basics of the Teachings of Abraham
Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia

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