Note: Learn more about the Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating program here or at www.amihungry.com.
This past week, I held the first of my eight workshops in the Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating program, which included sharing what brought each of us to the class. Going around the room, I was struck by the fact that for some of us, myself included, it took a life-changing event to prod us to motion. As I started thinking about that, I realized it might be because the process of losing weight the way I did is, in itself, life-changing. And that can be so frightening that it’s something we avoid doing unless we’re already in the throes of some other type of transformation. Most of us, after all, are afraid of change, to greater or lesser degrees. Even good things, like starting a new relationship, having a baby, or getting a new job, carry elements of risk and fear. But where does losing weight fit in? How can eating, something we all need to do, change your life? Your clothes size, yes, or how well you fit into airplane seats, or how many flights of stairs you can climb before being winded - but your life? This, I think, is what a lot of people like to ignore: to lose weight and maintain that loss, you need to change your relationship to food and to yourself. People who want to lose x amount of weight to fit into a bathing suit, or before attending a wedding or reunion, or anything along those lines, aren’t prepared for that level of commitment. It’s easier to think that you can go back to the way you were at some point, because the concept of changing something for the rest of your life is terrifying. The thing is, change happens whether we want it to or not. And much of the time, the results will also be with you lifelong. I found that out the hard way when my mom died. When I realized that nothing was ever going to be the same again, it made it easier to consider altering other areas of my life to something that I truly wanted. But changing the way we approach food doesn’t haven’t to be traumatic, or instantaneous. We can take charge of it, slowly incorporating pieces into our lives, a bit at a time, until each one becomes part of our daily habits, like brushing our teeth, or getting dressed. This can be hard to start, but the good news is, once begun, the results can be almost miraculous. Perhaps, like me, you will begin to consider climbing mountains instead of just stairs. Or maybe you will think about getting down on the floor to play with young children instead of trying to bend over to tie shoelaces. Or maybe you will find that you now have the energy to do things you’ve always dreamt of instead of struggling to just stay awake through the afternoon. Yes, this truly can be life-changing. I only hope I can help others recognize that it is change that can and should be their choice, instead of waiting until life does it for them.