It’s about the journey, not the destination…

This morning, I watched some TED videos, surfed Facebook and spent some quality time with my husband.  I was explaining to him, with tear filled eyes, how touched I was by a few people who have recently told me I matter to them.  They call me “inspiring” for being me. For doing what I love. For trying to eat more healthy than unhealthy, aiming to be kind and taking care of myself the best I can each day.  He told me I should write about it so here I am…

Last Sunday, I heard a speaker John Cacioppo share the results of his research on loneliness.  He shared that it isn’t a ‘disease’ or a ‘condition’, it’s a survival mechanism for social species.  The same way hunger motivates us to eat and thirst motivates us to drink, loneliness is natural response to motivate us to do something different to meet our social needs.   His speech spoke to me.  Most of my life I have been extremely lonely, no matter how many people were around.  The majority of my time has been spent in “survival mode”, watching for the next thing that is going to ‘get me’ and feeling like if I did not watch out for myself, no one else would.  It was comforting to learn that was not a defect in me but a instinctual response as a social creature in a particular environment.  I am human.

It is only recently, the last few years, that I have begun to feel part of society.  This year, I attempted to mentor others in running and it wasn’t as much about my race, my time, my fitness as it was their’s.  By doing so, I am feeling like I belong. They are motivating me and encouraging me in ways beyond words.  I am extremely grateful for the experience.

I default to thinking about all the things that I don’t do well, all my shortcomings.   I project a positive outlook because every day is battle against negativity.   I am practicing acknowledging the heartbreaks, disappointments, anger, I feel without letting any of that own me.  It’s not easy.  Simple, but not easy…

I have not maintained my diet or exercise perfectly. My body composition is not exactly where I want it to be at the moment.  However, I am healthy.  I was able to go 18 miles last Saturday, injury free.  People are different.  My body has certain strengths and limitations that are unique to me.  My husband has certain strengths and limitations that are unique to him.  Everyone has a place.  Everyone deserves to belong.

The scripture about not comparing yourself to others means more and more to me all the time (Galatains 6:3-5… “If you think you are better than others, when you really aren’t, you are wrong. Do your own work well and then you will have something to be proud of. But don’t compare yourself to others.  We each much carry our own load.”).

I am on my own journey but I am not alone.

John’s Cacioppo’s TEDx talk can be found here.  I highly recommend watching:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0hxl03JoA0&feature=youtu.be

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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.

It is possible…

In yoga, there is this concept of “practice”.  Not crossing a finish line or attaining merit but value gained from consistent practice.  Your own practice; your own body’s way. This concept of practice opens up a whole new world of possibilities because it’s not necessary to master something, only to set out to practice it.  Intention…

It is not necessary (or possible) to solve all the problems in the world.  By solving some problems, you may even get in the way of someone’s growth.  However, it IS POSSIBLE to set intentions.  It is possible to practice a certain frame of thought, feed peace, starve unrest, and take the next step in the direction you want to go.

It is not possible to change what other people do but it is possible to imagine people living healthy lives, making choices that are right for them and wishing good things to come into their lives.

I do not know why or how but I am here typing truth I have seen in my life now: good things have come to those to whom I have intended good things to come.  I did not do it, I know this, but yet I feel in some way I helped.  If nothing else, I let go of negative thoughts about their situation, freeing myself of that unnecessary burden.   I am unable to spend mental energy on everyone in the world but I do have people in my circle of influence I can practice loving unconditionally.  We all do.

What if we all did?  What’s the saying about 6 degrees of separation?  If we all thought about good things coming to 6-10 people, including ourselves, could we change the world?  I think so.  I have seen positive changes in my life when people are praying for me.  Even if I didn’t believe in how they were praying or who they were praying to, their prayers worked.

I find peace and joy by feeding peaceful and joyous thoughts.  It hurts my heart when people are unhappy, burdened by negativity and feeding helplessness.  I was taught that you shouldn’t be happy if other people are unhappy and it seems that there’s always someone who is unhappy.  That does not work for me so I’m practicing something else, a different way of thinking…

No matter what, there is someone in the world who has less and someone in the world who has more.  If not in material things, in something else (intelligence, physical ability, number of friends, health….).  It accomplishes nothing to compare oneself to someone else.  The only value in looking at what someone else says, has or does is to see yourself in them; see ways you can grow.

I am testifying before you now that you do not have to carry the burden of misery.  Unpleasantness happens but it’s over more quickly when it’s seen and accepted for what it is: a bump in the road, an opportunity for growth, a bookmark to remind you what you are grateful for…

I close with excerpts from Yoga Sutra 1.33 that resonated with me:

The first suggestion is that we cultivate friendship and happiness towards those who are happier than we are.  When we are fortunate enough to meet people who are consistently happy and content, we should seek out their friendship.  In this way we can learn from them and share their joy… We can become so busy wishing we were happy, that we lose the opportunity to share and learn from them…

The second suggestion is that we cultivate compassion for those who are unhappy.  All people, and all living beings, want to be happy.  When we are suffering, we are so grateful to others who offer any support – even just a friendly smile or a knowing glance…Even if the person is not someone you know, or if it is someone you don’t like…their suffering is keenly felt, and finding compassion in yourself pushes out hatred and opens a place of love…

The third suggestion of Yoga Sutra 1.33 is that we cultivate joy and gladness toward those who are virtuous…appreciating the virtuous actions of others and celebrating the good fortune of others.  Often times, it is easier to see the faults and shortcomings of others, and unfortunately, that causes our mental energy to become critical, divisive, and harsh.  When we see good in others, and celebrate their good intentions and actions…we feel a sense of unity with them, and a general sense of appreciation for others.  Also, when we see other people receiving good fortune – whether it’s a promotion, a new loving partner, a winning lottery ticket – we are often tempted to evaluate whether or not they deserve what they have received…If there has been some gross injustice, perhaps you will chose to take some action… but generally speaking, if we can celebrate with them and be glad for their good fortune, we will find ourselves feeling a sense of peace, rather than one of conflict.  Naturally enough, none of us is perfect, and we all appreciate it when others forgive us our shortcomings and look at our finer qualities instead.

Finally, the hardest of all, is the suggestion that we remain undisturbed by the errors of others…  In his speech “Loving Your Enemies,” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. talks about the difference between loving a person and liking a person… finding the ability to recognize the humanity in others, even if they have committed harsh or terrible actions.  We do this, not for their sake, but for our own sake – so that we do not fall into a cycle of unforgiving, impatient and vengeful behavior.  This doesn’t mean that we mustn’t act in the world; this is not an excuse for not getting involved in matters of justice and social progress.  However, when we are able to see the humanity in others, we keep ourselves centered – and we are able to act in the world from a place of calm and stability, rather than lashing out from an emotionally reactive and defensive position. And this is when we are most likely to be effective and to change people’s hearts and actions.

Namaste