Note: Learn more about the Am I Hungry?® Mindful Eating program here or at www.amihungry.com.
One of the wonderful things about the Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating program is that you are asked to consider where you will put all the new energy you have. This energy might come from no longer fretting about diets, counting calories, or beating yourself up for being “bad”, but it might also come from simply being healthier.
The funny thing is that when I started losing weight, I definitely had more energy, but I didn’t realize it at first because it happened so gradually. Then one day my dad said, “Your social calendar seems to have increased in inverse correlation with your weight loss.” When I sat down to consider it, I realized he was right.
After changing my relationship to food and exercise, so many things changed, and not just socially, although that was a part of it. I became more involved in my church, in many ways: I discovered a passion for leading worship as a lay member of the congregation, which has led me to being co-chair of the Worship Committee; I organized and participated in young adult activities; I was on the search committee for our new minister, and once we found her, I joined other committees; I have greeted and ushered, made food for various functions, and joined a small group ministry.
I volunteered in other ways as well, with the Cancer Community Center and for a community supported kitchen. I joined a book discussion group. I started dating. I discovered a love of travel, visiting places even as far away as the Galapagos Islands. I started to cook and experiment with new foods and recipes. I did more outdoor activities. I began keeping a small patio garden.
It wasn’t just my newfound energy that allowed me to do this, but also a new self-confidence and change in attitude. I can see this clearly in the evolution of my writing. While my reflections aren’t always happy, they now have at their heart a wish to learn from whatever experiences I have, to grow from them, and to let go of old thoughts and feelings that were so harmful to me.
All of this has brought me to taking the AIH facilitator training. Had I still been heavy, I honestly don’t know that I would have the courage for it. Even after losing weight, it took me years to feel able to move outside of my comfort zone and have enough self-confidence to think that I could succeed at something new. It was only by revisiting my journey through my writing that I realized how much my life has changed, and that I would love to help others experience that.
It was also interesting because a woman from church recently commented that I’ve talked a lot about my weight. It wasn’t intentional, but it makes perfect sense when I realize that every area of my life has been impacted by my weight loss. It’s been a long, unexpected, and winding road, but also exciting, and I wonder with joyful anticipation where this energy will carry me in the future.