Reminders from Paramahansa Yogananda

Today, in my sacred space, I was moved to search for teachings from Paramahansa Yogananda.  I downloaded “The Law of Success” and started reading.  As I read, the following reminders flowed into me…

Aligning my will with the will of the source of life is the way I experience success.  In every failure, there is an opportunity to grow and heal.  There is no need for suffering.  Suffering is a flag that says “hey, something is off here”.  Answers appear when I go within and ask what is off with an open heart and mind.  The answers to every problem and solutions for every need are available at any moment.  The quicker I learn lessons, the less trouble I experience in life.  I give no energy to focusing on the trouble.  Instead, I spend my energy focusing on the lesson, the gift, within the situation.

It is important not to do things for selfish power or to be “special” because of what I can do.  That is a desire of the ego that distracts me from my spiritual quest. It is important for me to set aside time to connect with the source of life so I can attune my will to that source.

I have tasted the sweet fruitage of aligning myself with the unconditional love, goodness and power from the source of life.  I also know the tragedy, stress and suffering from pursing goals that “prove” something.  This duality is a gift in my life.  I can choose the former whenever I wish.  I choose it now.

This is freedom.

This is joy.

This is passion.

This is the gift of my life!

From my heart to yours,

Thanks for reading

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Hungry

Working on building a stronger relationship with my self, I’m learning what drives my appetite.

I lost a considerable amount of weight essentially counting calories and working out. I burned more than I ate.  I learned to eat more nutritious food but mostly because it was low calorie, not really because it was nutritious.  I told myself I would always want too much and I had to control it.

Now, I am telling myself I can be trusted.  I’m practicing asking myself my three questions (see earlier posts).  Last week, I ate more sugar than usual.  I had treats while traveling on business.  I barely worked out.  However, I did not gain any weight and I broke my personal record for a 5K Saturday morning feeling great!  My desire for the things I wanted last week went away.  It’s almost like my inner self was testing to see if I really trusted her or not.  Perhaps she needed something in what I was eating.  She was scared and what I ate helped her feel better.

I only want so much healthy food.  This morning, I substituted a pancake for sauteed kale.  When I eat kale, it feels like my body is saying “yay!!!!!!!” even though I don’t care for the taste much.  I recall times of eating twice as many pancakes and feeling like I still wanted more.

I’m done telling myself I’m fat.  Instead, I’m telling myself that it’s ok to lose the fat I do not need and working to stay in tune with my inner voice.  I’m done comparing myself to other people.  This is my body, this is where I live, no one else.

Instead of controlling my appetite, I’m working with it.  My fat keeps me warm when others are cold.  If it’s fed with non toxic food, it’s there to fuel me when I need it to.  When I was 230lbs, I would have been THRILLED with 168.2 so I choose to be thrilled now.

I deserve to be the best I can be.  Nothing more, nothing less.

 

From my heart to yours,

Thanks for reading

4 Years

Today marks 4 years of successfully addressing my food addiction and maintaining weight loss.

Last night, I attended my first gala.  In 24 hours time I found a dress, shoes, jewelry, the right hairspray and someone to do amazing makeup for me.  When I first had the opportunity to go, I was worried about all of those things but went to a quiet place inside and asked myself if I really wanted to go.  When the answer was “yes”, I had faith everything else would work out.  There was a part of me that was a little concerned.  However, bigger than that worry was faith everything would work out in the end. (If it hasn’t worked out, it’s not the end).

I tried on several dresses that were “ok” but not “wow”.  A few pounds ago I felt like I looked good in everything (just some things looked better than others) but now, I wasn’t sure if it was possible to look “wow” anymore.  I went to a quiet place inside and listened for guidance.  I was guided to a store I’d never been before to a style that I’d never tried before and it was ‘the one’!  At the same place, a talented sales professional found me shoes and jewelry to perfectly compliment the dress. I checked out the VERY minute I needed to in order to make my makeup appointment that day.  Makeup took a little longer than I expected and I still needed to get hairspray before getting dressed to go.  After going to a quiet place inside again, I was guided to a store I didn’t know existed, just around the corner from where I had makeup done.   They didn’t have the exact hairspray I was looking for but they DID have ONE more bottle of something that held my hair JUST RIGHT all night!

My husband tells me women are like flavors of ice cream.  Lots of different flavors are good.  The same ice cream over and over gets boring.  Variety is the spice of life!  I’m my own flavor.  It’s not about how other people look.  I can look “wow” in my way.  It’s about me being my best.  I am beautiful.  

Yes, I just typed “I am beautiful” and a little voice said “You can’t say that” but that little voice is wrong.  I am not sure if it’s my ego talking, old tapes or something else but whatever it is, I’m not listening to it anymore.  Everyone’s true self is beautiful.  It is.  Thoughts that come in are nothing more than that, thoughts.  If they don’t suit me, I can change them, reframe them, or just let them go back where they came from.

It’s recently been reinforced to me that when I am true to myself, I give other people permission to be true to themselves.  Everyone who tunes in to their pure, holy, inner voice and develops a strong relationship with themselves, gives others permission to do the same.  Only when operating from that premise is it possible to unconditionally love.  When we unconditionally love, we make the world a better place (less violence, drug addiction, abuse, poverty, greed…).

I used to confuse my inner voice with addiction.  I thought my inner voice could not be trusted.  She’d lead me “astray”.  Now I know better.  She’s brilliant.  Pure, loving, trusting, kind…  My addiction is fed by something that does not want her to be heard.  Busyness distracts me from listening.  I’m practicing being quiet.  The more I practice, the easier I can get to a quiet place inside.  It’s kind of like how it’s easier to get somewhere you’ve been before than it was journeying there for the first time.

There’s no “quiet space” GPS for purchase (unless you count a good therapist).  I learned how to get there from other people who had found that place within themselves.  When I didn’t know where to find those people, I prayed for them to show up.  They did…out of nowhere.  All I did was believe something different was possible and asked for help getting there.

Once I found my little girl, my inner voice, she was quite upset with me for ignoring her.  She was tired of being hushed.  She is still indignant.  She just wants everyone to LOVE each other, be LOVING!!!  She can be trusted and we’re continuing to build that trust now.  I’m grateful she’s also very forgiving and understands that I never intentionally hurt her.  Going into year 5, I have promised her to listen and do my best.  I’ve vowed not to put her down because she doesn’t deserve that.  I know how to treat other people.  I know how to be a cheerleader and encourage others, she needs to be treated the same way.  She deserves my love, respect and protection.

I am working on feeding myself wholesome food instead of focusing on calories.  She helps with choosing those foods if I let her.  She wants a variety of healthy, whole food.  Yesterday, we tried wheatgrass juice for the first time and liked it!  Sometimes she wants sweet things but not too much, just a little.  I’m practicing asking myself the 3 questions from Jon Gabriel:

What is the food made of?

With what spirit was the food made? (kind, happy, loving people or something else)

What is my intention of eating the food?

I’m practicing visualizing the person I want to be and am looking forward to what I learn this next year!

From my heart to yours,

Thanks for reading

My Body Is Designed To Be Healthy

Watching “Hungry for Change” on Netflix, wearing clothing that could not clash more, I realized why I never lost the last 8lbs I “wanted” to lose.  The author of “The Gabriel Method” said, “You will not lose weight if your body does not want to.”.

Speaker after speaker in the documentary described better living by working with nature and natural laws.  One person said, ‘As long as you are taking in more toxins than you are eliminating, your body will not allow you get rid of the weight that is keeping you safe from the toxins you are ingesting.’  Whoa… say what?!  

Another said as you seek to improve your health, you will want to ADD vegetables and fruits instead of taking out food groups.  Not because they are “low calorie” but because they are so full of nutrients (I knew they were high in nutrients but the motivation was they were ‘low calorie’ and ‘high chew’).  I heard over and over again, “Most people are overfed and under nourished.”  I’ve come a long way… I really have, but I have so much further to go.  I traded one type of processed food for another.  Out candy bars and muffins, in protein bars and protein powder.

A nutrition counselor and friend posted on her company Facebook page a challenge to go “whole foods only” for one full day.  Do you know my response?  I commented, “tomorrow”.

That was several weeks ago and I have yet to actually do it. The biggest lesson of marathon training for me has been learning that when something feels impossible, it’s not, it’s just bigger than anything you’ve done before.  My 4 year anniversary of weightloss is coming up in just over a week.  Days are getting colder and the year is coming to an end.  Those circumstances make me reflect on where I’ve been and where I want to go.

Other sage advice from “Hungry for Change”:  It’s not just what you’re eating, it’s what’s eating you.  Obesity is a “solution” to dealing with stress. Look at where you are not satisfied. If you are upset, don’t eat.

Easier said than done.

Exercise increases the feel good hormones that I’ve previously gone to sugar for.   Hence why when I have not been running, I sign up for over 5 races… in 2 weeks.  Just like other drugs, I end up needing more and more to feel the same “feel good” effect.

My body is not my enemy, it is my friend.  Loving myself is the key.  My parents want to love me, they just don’t know how.  If I am honest with myself, I have maintained the size I am now on a roller coaster of healthy and unhealthy eating.  I have not trusted myself.  I have not truly let go of the concept I am a “fat person” who lost weight.  As if my true self is meant to be fat and I have to fight it every day.

Jon Gabriel described losing 10, gaining 15 (reminding me of my losing 3, gaining 5 a few times over).  I read part of his book many years ago, in a previous life, and remembered thinking “I don’t have time to visualize in a quiet space”.  I have the ability to do better about that now. I do!

In closing, the documentary recommended 3 questions to ask before eating:

Where does my food come from?

What went into my food? (attitude, spirit, process)

What is my intention of eating my food?

My body is designed to be healthy.  I can trust it and I can build its trust in me.

I am ready for the next phase of my journey and I accept myself unconditionally, right now.

 

From my heart to yours,

Thanks for reading

Facing Food Addiction: Part 6: Questions I Ask Myself

When I am struggling to determine whether the hunger I feel is a legitimate need for food or just my addiction talking, these are some questions I’ve found helpful to ask myself:

How are you feeling right now?

How are you looking to feel?

What’s troubling you?

What does my body need right now?

Do I need rest?

Do I need water? Do I need something hot?  or cold? What have I done recently to nurture myself?

What have I eaten recently that might be triggering a craving?  Have I been on track?

Does something hurt?

I’ve watched people exercise themselves into a near constant state of injury.  That is not my goal.  I understand that injuries happen and also know that how I respond when they do plays a huge role in how fast and how sure I recover.

Pain indicates that something is wrong.  I’m not talking about discomfort.  Discomfort is when it doesn’t hurt but it doesn’t exactly feel good either.  Discomfort means you are going past where you have gone before, paving the way for growth.  Pain is when it hurts…sensations of “ow” beyond awareness that a certain part is not having “fun” anymore. Ego gets in the way of wellness.  It’s tricky because the EXACT same mental determination that is helps someone get/be fit can take them past balance into the danger zone of over training.  Ego will tell you that if you don’t complete a workout, you are less of a person.  Understand that is a complete lie. Rest is as important to training as strain is.  It’s actually while resting that your body repairs torn muscle tissue, regenerates cells and makes you stronger.  The “strain” does the tearing, the “rest” does the repairing that makes you better.  Stretching, nutrition and “down time” are important elements to wellness.  Fitness is about more than the physical and it’s only in the quiet moments that I can take care of my emotional and spiritual needs.  Answers to my questions come in the stillness. I am currently working on taking time for both challenging myself AND taking time for completely self nourishing activities   It seems that I choose either one or the other any given week but tend not to do a very good job taking time for both. My ultimate goal is:  self care….fitness in all 3 legs of the wellness stool…balance…moderation in all things (including moderation).  As I strive for this goal, blessings have been coming into my life greater than I could imagine!  People cross my path that both challenge and sooth me.  My husband is stepping up and taking a more active role in taking care of family matters.  My son is becoming more self aware and independent.  I’m making new friends and developing deeper relationships with old ones.  In the quiet moments, I sometimes take a look back to be grateful for where I am now.  In many ways, the only thing that really changed was my self talk which made me start making different choices for myself.  The rest has just come together…

Yesterday, I bought a little painting of a colorful bird on a perch that says “trust the journey”.  That is what I am practicing doing.

 

One day at a time…

From my heart to yours

Thanks for reading

Facing Food Addiction: Part 2: You Are Worth It

Do you think you deserve to be fit and healthy?  Seriously… Not just “it would be nice if I were fit and healthy” but do you honestly believe you deserve to be fit and healthy?  Do you believe it’s possible for you?

If not, start there…

Why not?

What do you fear?

What are you hiding from?

What’s hurt you in the past?

What’s hurting you right now?

What do you think you deserve?

Fat is a barrier between you and the rest of the world.  Why do you think you need it there?

If these questions bubble up tears or a lot of self deprecating self talk, get some professional help and/or find some kind of support group for yourself.  There’s no shame in identifying there’s something that needs to be addressed and then seeking out help to address it.  If you are willing to be honest with yourself about what’s really going on inside, recovery is possible for you! It’s not easy, but it’s WORTH IT!

Recognize that food addiction is real.  It doesn’t go away.  However, YOU, my dear, are worth some of the precious energy you spend on other people EVERY DAY.

Are you taking time to nurture yourself in ways that do not include food?  If not, start making a list of things that fill you up that have nothing to do with eating or drinking.  Think about when you were a kid.  What did you dream about?  What did you love to do?  My core favorite things have not changed for as long as I can remember… Connect with that inner child.  Love her.  Love him.  Don’t judge.  Don’t talk down to.  Help that little boy or girl be healthy.

Carve out some times to do what you love.  Doing so makes it possible for you to TRULY be there for others.  It’s not selfish, it’s self-care.

Become more aware of your self talk.  Turn every judgmental, critical, self deprecating thought around into something positive.  Open your heart to receiving the answers that are available to you at any given moment.  Sometimes they seem like they are slow in coming.  Have faith that the answers you need will arrive when you need them if you are open to receiving them. They are!  Really!

It becomes easier with practice.  The first step is simply to become aware.

It takes determination and constant effort to change significantly.  Keep in mind the weight didn’t come on overnight and it’s not going to go away overnight.  Be kind, be patient, with yourself.  Trust the process.

Seek out people who are living the lifestyle you want.

Learn about addiction and how people successfully overcome it.  The original 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous are at the bottom of this post.  They work.  It’s not easy, but it’s WORTH IT!

Food is fuel. If you don’t eat enough for your body to function, it will take nutrients from your muscles and bones, slowing your metabolism.  It does get easier to make healthy choices and the lifestyle change it takes to change your body does get easier to maintain the longer it’s practiced.  Know that.

Before  you set yourself up to fail (again), take some time to identify what’s gotten you here in the first place.  Start thinking positively.

Change your thoughts and change your world!

 

From my heart to yours,

Thanks for reading

 

As a reference, these are the original Twelve Steps as published by Alcoholics Anonymous as taken from Wikipedia. :[10]

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Facing Food Addiction: Part 1

There are different statistics out there about the percentage of people who gain back weight after losing a significant portion of it.  There is scientific evidence suggesting that fat cells do not actually disappear without some kind of extreme intervention, they merely shrink.  The data can be bleak if you pay much attention.

A recent Facebook interaction with a dear friend preceded by an encouraging conversation with a new acquaintance only a few days before, has inspired me to start a series of blog posts about my journey overcoming food addiction.  If you look at the statistics of people successfully overcoming drug or alcohol addiction for the rest of their lives, the data is bleak as well.  That does not mean no one does it, it just means most don’t.

Unlike controlled substances or illegal drugs, you will die without food.  Food is fuel.  You need it for your brain to work, muscles to flex and accomplish your daily business.  Food is also the most socially acceptable substance to abuse.  My experience has been people more hastily criticize someone choosing to not eat certain foods than they will someone gorging past the point of comfort.  My goal here is to simply acknowledge managing food is tough stuff.  It’s not easy, but it is possible.

There are people who argue that everyone carries weight differently and that some people are just made to be fat.  They will claim their metabolisms are slow or that society unnecessarily judges them for being who they are.  If that applies to you, this series of blog posts is likely not your cup of tea.

I hated being fat.  I hated not being able to walk up stairs comfortably…Not able to run a block without feeling like my lungs would collapse…Not able to fit into clothes at Target.  I hated being overlooked, treated like I was invisible while my sexy, skinny friends got all the attention.  I HATED being the project of the “wing man”.  I disliked feeling fatigued…I felt trapped in an ugly, “too big” body and didn’t know what to do about it.  I hated myself because of it.

Now, I can run several miles without feeling the least bit winded.  Last fall, I completed my first marathon.  Stairs are no trouble at all, unless I run up several flights of them at a time, but even then, I can keep going without feeling like my legs will fall off.  I have a full, happy life and have recently been recharged by some new people who have blessed my path.  This was not accomplished just by dieting…. no… just dieting does little long term.

Did I follow a meal and exercise plan to the letter for several months?  Yes. Do I still follow it to the letter now? No.  Did I change my lifestyle?  Yes.  Is it easy?  No. Did I have support?  Yes.  Do all my friends, family and coworkers follow my diet? Not a bloody chance!

In the next few weeks, I’ll be writing about what’s worked for me, what’s set me back and what keeps me going.  I am not a doctor, psychologist or nutritionist but I have successfully kept off 30% of my original body weight for over 3 years now.  I’ve taken the advice of all three classes of professionals and am an expert at being human.  A mom…A wife… A business woman… A friend…

 

SIDE NOTE:  If you have a particular struggle you want to share or a topic you would like me to cover here, please email me  at powerfrominside @ gmail.com.

 

From my hear to yours, thank you for reading.

 

 

Beach Bodies

It’s been unusually warm early this year.  After spending around 30 minutes criticizing myself while trying on different beach wear, I spent a day on the water.  Body image was top of mind as I observed bodies around that afternoon.

There were guys present but I didn’t notice them as much as the fellow females.  Lots of bikinis.  I was able to criticize and compliment every single lady around.  Even the hot ones had stretch marks and/or cellulite dimples somewhere if I looked for them.  At the same time, everyone had some mark of beauty.  This exercise helped reinforce the fact that no one is without fault and body image is all about what thoughts about myself I choose to feed.

I have extra skin that likely isn’t going to shrink any further.  When I think about having surgery to address that, I ask myself “what are you hoping to accomplish?”.  The answer I come to is after a lot of physical pain and expense, I’ll end up with a slightly different set of “faults” (scares, etc) from the procedure(s).  What I ultimately want is to feel good about myself and I can do that right now just by focusing on the positive instead of the negative.

I’m not other women.  I am me.  I have the body I earned through years of abuse and more recently attention to self care.  Every stretch mark, every wrinkle, is a mark of where I’ve been to get me here.

The women I admire most are comfortable in their own skin.  Their love and grace radiates out of their pores and they are beautiful. That’s what I want.

Let’s all resolve to LOVE OURSELVES AS WE ARE and make the world a better place because of it!

From my heart to yours,

thanks for reading

Overcoming the Devil

Today, with a group of friends better than I could ever ask for, I completed my first sprint triathlon:  8 laps in the pool, 9.55 mile bike and 3.1 mile run.  I placed 9th in women overall.  I made good time, injury free.  Happy day!

While I’m basking in the joy of completing the event, the devil comes in and he says:

  • Look at those fat rolls.
  • Your hair looks awfully thin in those photos.
  • You aren’t as pretty as her.
  • Your teeth are crooked.
  • Your face looks chubby.

Get behind me Satan!

I will not listen to you!  The truth is:

  • That fat gave me energy and endurance to do this.
  • I just finished a race, who the #$%* cares?  And if they do, they are very shallow.  My hair is on my head just how it’s supposed to be.
  • She’s pretty and I am enjoying looking at her.
  • My teeth work just fine and I’m very glad they are still in my mouth!
  • My face is mine, just how it’s supposed to be.

Beyond that, I did it!  My friends did it!  My husband and soul sister were cheering me on!  I showed up and I did well!

I am loved, people really love me.  That’s a lot to celebrate right there.  That is enough.  I will soak in the joy and excitement of this moment.  My own thoughts are certainly not going to stop me…

Big time victories today!  The race was one, kicking the devil to the curb was even greater.

Please do the same!

From my heart to yours, thank you for reading.

Enough

At the core of every self-destructive behavior is a faulty core belief of  “I’m not good enough” in some form.

I’ve spent the majority of my life in such a state and learned to recognize it only a few years ago.  I’m currently practicing rewriting the botched tape.

Before it’s ever a conscious thought, my tape manifests itself in ways like: being critical of how I look in the mirror, comparing myself to and therefore competing with others, getting off task at work, yelling at my son, beating myself up over missing a workout or not doing the entire thing well enough, overeating, etc…

It’s easy to get caught up in trying to control the symptoms instead of addressing the core belief that’s behind them all.  I am good at sticking to a plan and checking tasks off a list but that only tames the demon for so long.

If you’re in the same boat, try overwriting the old tape with me by saying to yourself:  I’m good enough because I am.  I am exactly where I am supposed to be at this moment, what is the next right thing to do?

What a wonderful new world we can make together!