Monday, July 15, 2013
ďOur greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world as being able to remake ourselves.Ē ~Mahatma Gandhi
Iíve been listening to a great series from Renee Stephenís Inside Out Weight Loss in which she shares the assumptions or presuppositions behind her program for releasing weight. I think they are very relevant and would like to share them with how they apply to my life and my experience.
1. All behavior is positively intended.
This means that even binging or overeating or not exercising happens for a good reason. Our intention is good, even if the behavior might not be the best way to reach that intention.
For me, binging was a source of comfort, safety, calm, a break, a release from stress, etc. Of course this method (binging) wasnít the best way to achieve my needs, but my reason for doing it was positive. Instead of beating myself up about it or feeling badly for having done it, Iíve forgiven myself, recognized the positive intent behind it, and let the behavior go.
2. Our essence is good.
This means that even if weíve done things we arenít proud of, our core is good. We deserve to love ourselves, no matter what! We are worthy of our own love, respect, forgiveness, and self-care, because at our core, we are good.
For me, this means loving myself now, even if Iím not perfect, even if Iím not the exact weight I want to be, even if I raise my voice at my daughter sometimes, etc. This means forgiving myself for the many mistakes Iíve made along the way.
3. We learn from our screw-ups and they are a chance to do a redo!
This means that when we screw up, and we always will because we are human, if we fixate on our guilt, self-loathing, frustration, then we give lots of emphasis to our mistake and that is what we rehearse. In paying attention to what we donít want to do, we reinforce that behavior. If instead, when we make a mistake (overeat, binge, or something else) and learn from it, we can truly change our behavior. When we replay the moment in our mind, the way we would have preferred it to go, we can rehearse the new, better behavior.
Iíve been doing this regularly. When I engage in a behavior I feel is unskillful, I let go of any bad feelings, and instead replay it in my mind the way I want it to have happened instead. Instantly I feel better
4. It is better to learn than to get it perfect every time.
This means that if we did everything perfectly all the time, there would be no growth, no excitement in life. Even with weight, if we honor our overeating screw-ups, respect our mistakes, meet them even with humor, we will grow and learn and do it better next time.
For me, this means looking back on the years I earned my PhD in overeating and binging and yo-yo dieting were all preparation for fine-tuning my behavior, finding my way, and learning how to take great care of myself now. And when I screw up now, itís another chance for me to learn something new about myself and next time or the time after that, Iíll get a bit better.
Screwing up all those years brought me closer to being naturally slender now!
5. We can achieve liberation from the cycle of overeating.
Itís possible to end the cycle of eating to feel good, then feeling bad from overeating, then overeating more to feel better, then feeling worse, and on and on.
To end it, we realize that we feel so much better over time when we eat healthy foods in reasonable amounts. We focus on real pleasure over time!
This has been so true for me. When I think about eating sweets, greasy food, and things that some people see as treats, I remember how they make me feel over time, and I have no interest. Itís not deprivation at all for me. Itís all about thinking about how I want to feel over time!
6. Liberation can be achieved through learning and practice.
To become naturally slender, we need to connect with others, learn from others, learn with others, and practice our new behaviors, watching ourselves and learning from our mistakes. Itís all about learning and growing constantly.
For me, finding IOWL and Spark has led to a year of immersion in healthy living. Itís been such a learning experience. I have gained so much insight about how to enjoy life fully, and not only as pertains to body and food, but also about a joyful life in general (they are so interconnected)!
7. We give the most to the world when we first take care of ourselves.
When we figure out what we want and ask for it where happier and were able to give so much more. This improves our relationships and the quality of our life. It reinforces the idea that we are worth taking care of!
For me this meant asking for help, asking people to take my daughter when my husband is really not well so I can help him and find time to rest. This also meant taking time off of work so I could help my husband and rest. It also means leaving my house to take walks in the park when things at home are too much to bear, even if my husband protests sometimes. I need time to renew and get balanced so I can help him. The better I feel, the better I am for him.
8. All is well and all will be well.
This means we can let go of guilt, anxiety, worry, fear and stress. When we are in the present moment, we are actually just fine. We are alive, we can breathe, we can feel, we can think, we exist.
For me this means learning that I am not my thoughts. When Iím stressed, it means Iím believing lies and I can just breathe and come back into balance. This has been hugely transformational because once I stopped identifying with negative thoughts and urges, I had no desire to binge anymore! Really it just seems to have happened like that.
It also means that when I get on the scale, even if itís not the number I want, Iím still great. Iím alive, fit, healthy, strong, breathing, and all is well in my life.
This is my new mantra!!
I actually think that this assumption has been more important to me than any of the others. Because it works for almost anything. When I find myself caught up in stress and faulty thinking, I just breathe and remind myself that right now, all is well. When Iím upset about something from yesterday or something that might happen tomorrow, I breathe and remind myself that right now all is well.
In these days of caring for my husband, whose health is rapidly declining, I need this mantra more than ever. Because even during the hard times, within every hour there are really good moments in which all is well.
ďEvery day brings a choice: to practice stress or to practice peace.Ē ~Joan Borysenko