Tag Archives: Health

How to Find Time to Exercise When You’re Too Busy

Just Show Up

This time of year, it’s crazy busy for most everyone.  Finding time to stay healthy can tumble down the priority list pretty quick.  That’s why I collapse all of my goals into this single thought:  Just show up.  I show up, then I listen to my body.  No time clocks.  No calorie burn rates.  Just me, whatever time I’ve got, and whatever my body can handle that day.

This simple idea keeps healthy habits alive because it nurtures momentum.  I can eat too many treats.  I can detour my workout away from what I had planned.  But I can’t lose my momentum.  Once that’s gone, it is so-so-so-so hard to get back up.

Here’s what keeping momentum looks like for me this month:

  • Walking the dog down the street instead of doing that full hour in the gym.
  • Plugging in a 15 minute yoga DVD instead of staying for the 5:30 pm class.
  • Blending my green smoothie, even though there’s a party with a buffet waiting for me tonight.
  • Rolling around on the floor to stretch my back and lube my joints because I woke up too late to do the 15 minute yoga DVD.

This time of year, I have to narrow my focus and just show up.  There’ll be plenty of time later to ramp back up, and I’ll have all that momentum to propel me forward.


Shelby lives in Missoula, Montana where she works out at The Women’s Club Health and Fitness Center


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Infographic: Prevent Holiday Over Eating

Just in time for all of the holiday parties…

Prevent Holiday Overeating with These 3 Tips from 100poundsin1year.com

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Why do these tips work?  Find out in “Eat to Thrive,” a free eGuide from 100 Pounds in 1 Year absolutely brimming with more reasons food can be a friend.



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What Flips that Switch Inside?

Lately, when sharing my story, the same question keeps popping up:  What does it take to get unstuck and make the healthy choices we already know to make?  It’s as if there’s this mysterious black box  that we cannot see into, but which holds the key to flipping whatever switch inside, so we can make the choices we want to make — but for some reason — haven ‘t.  I cannot know what will flip the switch for you, but I can suggest one way to feel for it.  I call it “Micro-Meditation.”  I started this practice as a way to calm my monkey mind.  To my surprise, it also helped me make better decisions, including the ones about what to eat and how to move.

I started inside my car, waiting for traffic.  I focused on where I placed my hands on the steering wheel, which finger reached for the stereo, or how I slid my sunglasses around my face.  Then, while getting out of the car, how I grabbed my purse strap before wrapping it around my shoulder.  How I leaned into the door to unlock the car.  Which foot hit the ground first and how my balance changed as I closed the door.  You see what I mean?  It sounds too simple to make a difference (Typing this paragraph took more effort than the actual doing of it.)  However, if I wasn’t practicing micro-meditation, I would be busy worrying, planning, or just being numb.  There’s lots to gain and nothing to lose.

Soon after starting this practice, my insides started to change.  It’s hard to describe, but it was that same feeling when every light turns green, you take curves with the perfect balance of speed and torque, and seas of traffic part with mere intention.  In one word:  flow.

I’ve since fallen in love with “Micro-Mediation” (when I remember to do it).  It works instantly at any moment without extra equipment.  It takes nothing from my day and, in fact, saves time because I make better decisions with more clarity.  When it’s time to choose a meal or workout, the switch almost flips itself.


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Sneak Peek Chapter: “3 Ways to Get Small or Go Big”

Midnight Facebook Entries,  100 Pounds in 1 YearNo one joined me at the bar that night, but I still had the time of my life.  It was spontaneous.  It was infused with inspiration.  My covert rescue of neglected road-side rhubarb, plus my midnight trip to town for some funk band assisted writing, was decidedly not boring.  This is important for me because a hefty portion of my extra pounds originated from boredom.  I don’t mean the, there’s nothing to do kind of boredom.  I mean, there is nothing to look forward to boredom, a deeper pall.  This numbness greeted me when I woke up each morning and robbed me of my joy.  With those kind of days, it’s no wonder I resorted to using food to feel.  No meal could feed this craving, though.  I craved that geyser of vitality which gushes through the dusty build-up from everyday life and exclaims, “I am alive!”

Whenever I sense numbing boredom, I now understand that I have a choice.  I can get small or go big.  Personally, I’m a fan of going big.  Mostly because I like the thrill of it, but also because I’ve discovered how going big can eclipse gnarly problems and even heal the roots that feed them.

Going big, however, is not always my first instinct.  I usually attempt getting small first.  How does that look?  Well, it’s not so much about how things appear on the outside as the feeling on the inside.  In fact, two different people could be doing the exact, same thing, and one would be getting small while the other is going big.  The difference is in how they feel while they’re doing it.

Getting small feels like:

  • Settling
  • Amputating
  • Shrinking
  • Anything with the word “should” before it
  • Half-nourished while half-starved, like eating a picture of a salad and being bummed I’m not satisfied

Going big feels like:

  • Expanding
  • Stretching
  • Inspiring
  • Heart fluttering
  • Totally full, with lots of room for more

Given a choice to get small or go big, here are three ways I have encountered that decision in my life:

Open Up to Desire

If I want to learn, heal, or do anything worth doing, all need do only one thing:  surrender to desire.  I’m a big believer that wanting something is enough to propel me forward.  I don’t always have to go mining for childhood trauma, emotional scars, or ugly trolls guarding my bridge to sanity.

Desire is enough.  To understand why, all I need to do is realize the hefty effort I put towards conveniently distracting myself from desire every day.  It’s much easier to be too busy.  Throughout my 100 pounds journey, I’ve learned how staying in that desirous space brings plenty of opportunity for profound work.

Desire, being a deep calling within our hearts, naturally asks us to decide whether we are going to get small or go big.  For example, I want to lose 100 pounds.  That sounds pretty big, a large number anyway.  I can get small, though, even with such a large number as my goal.  I can choose diets that promise to work by making certain foods my enemy, thereby amputating the part of me that loves to sink my teeth into a cream cheese danish once in a while.  I could force myself to workout until it hurts, pushing my body until I shrink in dread at the thought of another torture session.

In contrast, I also have the choice to go big with my weight loss.  One way I did this was to release myself of any and all food rules.  I aborted the “eat this”/“don’t eat that” mentality.  At first, I didn’t like my idea. It felt too risky. I had used food rules to feel like I was at least trying.  What would I do now? My desire was bigger than my worry, though, and I surrendered to each and every craving. This was very scary.  And thrilling.  My heart fluttered as I tasted food without guilt.  I felt physically full. No more deprivation. Not that small, festering kind of wanting. Just big desire and big satisfaction.

Such joy with food delivered me to the other side of my eating struggles. I started to consider how food could help me heal, how it could be my friend.  Could I actually break the curse that had been my rancid relationship with food for most of my life?  I dared to find out.  In this situation, going big helped me expand beyond the tug-o-war and begin to heal from the inside out.

When I released food rules, I discovered one clue that shows me whether I’ve chosen to get small or go big is pretty simple and easy to uncover:  talk back.  When I get small, I have thoughts like, I should… I’m such a… I’ll never…

Going big still produces talk back, but of a different nature.  Often, I’ve thought, This is either crazy or brilliant!  In those moments, I like to talk back to my talk back and say, Yeah, well, that’s what they said about Jesus, Martin Luther King, Jr., and John Lennon, so I guess I’m in good company.

Be Vulnerable

Another get small/go big decision moment comes when I face vulnerability.  I’m not talking the shallow, self-effacing digs that we use to fish for social acceptance.  Jesus wasn’t like, “Dude, I’m totally stressing over these bunions on my feet from all this walking.”  Anyone who makes a difference in anything always encounters deep vulnerability, that tender moment between rejection and flight.

As Brene Brown, leading researcher into vulnerability and shame, explains, “Vulnerability is the birthplace of change.”  Of course, anyone who’s ever wanted to lose a significant amount of weight – including me – is all about change. I want it off and I want it now! After three rounds of dieting, melting off payback pounds, then gaining it all back, I can see how I always stopped short before hitting that layer of vulnerability.

Of course, I put that layer off as long as possible.  Like Brene Brown, I fear rejection.  I know she knows how I feel.  In her interview with On Being’s Krista Tippett, Brene said (paraphrasing here) “I was afraid of the intense criticism in our world today, so I had engineered my life to stay small.”  She got away with it, too.  That is, until her groundbreaking TED talk that surpassed ten million views.  When her talk went viral, Brene could have chosen to get small.  She could have listened to the talk back (You can’t just do that.) and back-peddled on all she had shared.  She could have accepted all the Fortune 100 company requests for executive training which came with one condition (“We would love to have you speak!  Could you just do one thing?  Could you not mention vulnerability or shame?”)

Going big rarely happens without encountering shame or vulnerability.  The good news is, rejection rarely happens, too.  The good news: my imagined fears are much worse than any actual blow back I’ve encountered.  I am my own, worst critic.  The take-home message is this:

Be Compassionate

Which brings me to a question:  When I confront my shame of being overweight, what I’ve done to my body, or how I became so apathetic about life, then what do I do?  This is another get small or go big moment.

My first instinct tends towards getting small.  I squeeze my life into a tight structure of unyielding routine. I toughen up. I stuff my shame down with discipline, like trying to fit a fluffy sleeping bag into the nylon stuff sack it came in (How did the manufacture get it in there?!)  Truth be told, I’ve rarely been able to maintain strict discipline over the long haul.  Eventually, my edges spill out.  When I pop from the pressure, I go ballistic and pack on those payback pounds.  This is why mere discipline often fails and compassion is so important. Compassion can head off a reactionary binge. Of course, the last thing I want to do is give up control by getting all soft and understanding, but that’s exactly what I need.

Mine is a common reaction, according to Dr. Kristen Neff, Associate Professor of Human Development at The University of Texas at Austin.  She explains, “I found in my research that the biggest reason people aren’t more self-compassionate is that they are afraid they’ll become self-indulgent.  They believe self-criticism is what keeps them in line.  Most people have gotten it wrong because our culture says being hard on yourself is the way to be.”

I may betray my best efforts by poo-pooing compassion.

So what would going big look like, after surrendering to my desires and risking vulnerability which brings me face to face with shame?  Going big oozes compassion.  It honors all the habits I developed to ward off disappointment, whether I numbed myself with food or avoided activities which reminded me of my body.  Instead, compassion thanks those habits for keeping me alive.  It acknowledges my need for them.

Thank you, midnight pizza run, for getting me through my divorce.

Thank you, broken-down couch, for giving me a safe place to cry.

Then, compassion moves on.  In doing so, it validates my desire for more (which has really been my only desire, all along).  Compassion surveys my heart and says, “Yeah, we can do something with this.”  In the end, I see that I’ve always had what it takes.

I am the space big enough to nurture the biggest of going bigs.

Take Home Tip

Desire is enough.  To understand why, all I need to do is realize the hefty effort I put towards conveniently distracting myself from desire every day.

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Do Want Your Outside to Match Your Inside? Find out how in the latest 100 Pounds in 1 Year Weight Loss eGuide

When I share my 100 pounds story, people always ask, “How did you keep your will power going to lose all that weight?”

That’s when I nod.  I know exactly how they feel.

Find out how I maintained my will power and cleared common hurdles in, “I Want My Outside to Match My Inside,” the 100 Pounds weight loss eGuide which answers the question, “How do you keep going?”

IWantMyOutsidetoMatchMyInsideCoverSmall100Poundsin1YearIf you’ve been riding the weight loss roller coaster most of your life, then the last thing you need is someone telling you it’s going to be easy this time. I’ll admit it — straight out – easy would be great. Hard sucks. Too hard to lose weight. Too hard to keep it off. Too hard to live with that undying dream of feeling comfortable in my skin again.  That dream never goes away, though, does it? Even people who’ve lost a lot of weight will admit they have trouble matching their new body to their old body image. Even they want their inside to match their outside.

This eGuide stays true to that dream. In witty, practical terms, I cover the mental hurdles I faced while losing 100 pounds in 1 year. In this digital pdf download, I untangle obstacles (It’s never as easy as all the diet gurus want it to be.) I tell stories of how I crossed the gap between what I wanted and my inability to get there. In charting the not-so-straight line from fat to skinny, I unearth the wisdom that taught me how to become a bridge across that gap. Today, I experience life with greater focus, more energy, and expanding joy, no matter what the scale reads. That, in itself, is a huge lift of weight. I hope this eGuide inspires you to launch your own lift.

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Curious why “I Want My Outside to Match My Inside” is different than everything else you’ve tried before?  Try this on for size…

  • I won’t schmooze you with easy, but I will share the insights that super-charged my ability to keep going
  • Gut-level insights to dismantle the mental mud that keeps us stuck
  • Power-packed truths which most weight loss books like to leave out (the messy stuff too complex for simple how-to’s)
  • Inspiration to relieve your burdens and boost you up when the couch beckons
  • When you share in my struggles, then you get to enjoy the triumphs, too!
  • PLUS:

Every 100 Pounds in1 Year eGuide containsBuy eGuide from 100 Pounds in 1 Year

To wet your taste buds, here’s a sneak-peek at the Table of Contents:

  • I Want My Outside to Match My Inside
  • 3 Ways to Get Small or Go Big
  • Am I the Fat One or the Skinny One?
  • Take a Vacation from the Diet War
  • The Funnel of Love
  • Switching Gears
  • Putting the Cart Before the Horse
  • The Gap
  • Bonus Chapter: Living in the Between
  • Reflection Worksheets

100 Pounds eGuides Now DownloadableWhat is an eGuide?

Your 100 Pounds weight loss eGuide is a handy, electronic download.  You can take it anywhere you go:  your phone, your tablet, your computer, the Cloud!

 One reader says:

“Its like you read my mind! You appear to know so much about this, like you wrote the book on it or something.”
— Ashley
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Get More Results Out of Less Effort: Learn from the mistakes I made, and the lessons I gleaned, through my 100 pounds journey.  Packed with lots of smart, time-saving ideas to keep you motivated.

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I Know How to Eat Right, So Why Do I Choose Something Else?

Lost So FarI have fallen off The Wagon.  I am on the couch, pulling open a bag of Dorito chips.  I reach in, feeling the pointy ends for a big one.  I stretch my mouth wide and bite down like a lion ripping flesh from the bone.  The crunch rattles my pleasure sensors.  It’s the sound of rebellion, of savory sin.  Except it’s not nearly so dramatic a scene from the couch.  When I take a breather between handfuls, I’m still just one woman in binge and lounge mode.  I feel the weighty guilt of my choice as I sink solid into the cushions.  Then, my mind talk starts.  I remember that I should have more will power than this.  I remind myself that I write about how to not get into this position.  Now I’ve fallen by the wayside, clutching my bag of chips and watching The Wagon move on without me.  Clearly, I don’t always follow my own advice.  Despite all of the health ideas I’ve gleaned, and all the dots I’ve connected, I still make poor food choices.  Why?

I know this question is not for everyone.  Many seem to eat healthy with ease.  For emotional eaters like me, however; it’s exactly where I live.  I believe the answer depends on more than intelligence.  Otherwise, I wouldn’t even be asking this question.  I’d simply adapt my eating patterns to ever-healthier foods as science discovers more and more about nutrition.  I would learn the right way to eat, and I would eat right.  It’s the Scientific Method of eating:  break the whole down into its basic parts, then we can understand how to heal the whole.

This linear, scientific approach is the road on which The Wagon travels.  This road is marked by all the “right” foods experts say we should eat.  When I make healthy food choices, I consider myself on this right road because I’m following their signs:  “Eat more fruits and vegetables.”  “Eat less fat.”  “Eat more fat.”  I use whatever guideposts I can to reassure me that I’m still eating “good.”  However, nowhere on the map of healthy eating is there a sign reading, “Binge and Lounge Rest Area, 10 miles.”  When I’m ensconced in the couch, crunching my chips, I’m squatting at that rest area.  If I want to get back on the road, I have to start following the signs again by making healthy choices.   The Scientific Method of eating tends to feed this idea.  I’m either on the right road, or I’ve wandered off.  I was curious if other women looked at eating this way, so I asked them about their food choices.  They repeatedly referenced one of two extremes, either “being a good girl” or struggling with “bad habits.”  I’m not alone.  But, If it’s all about habit, then why do I switch habits over and over again?

Is habit about will power?  If so, then where does will power come from?  Is there a limited supply? Do I drain it every time I make a poor food choice, like a battery slowly sucked dry?  Or is will power a matter of character, genetically encoded in some and forged by hard-won discipline by the rest of us?  If I can discover where will power resides, then perhaps I can understand why mine comes and goes so readily.  Sometimes I feel like I’m accelerating zero to 60 in 3.9 seconds in my Tesla Model S with a full charge of kick-ass will power.  Then there’s the rest of the time when you couldn’t get me to eat a vegetable, even if you slathered it in peanut butter (well, maybe if it’s good peanut butter).  The more I ignore my best advice, and eat whatever I want any way, the more curious I become about why I do this.  I cannot pinpoint where will power ends and choice begins.  I know the axiom, “You are what you eat.”   However, it feels just as true that “I eat what I am.”  In other words, in that moment of choice, I’m trying to connect with who I am.  Screw “eating right.”  I’m tired.  I’m bitchy.  As Kris Carr said, “I want to go do bad things with bad people.”  Aren’t you glad I chose Doritos instead?

I lick the processed orange powder from my fingertips, and I burrow deeper into the cushions.  I suspect finding the source of will power may not be easy.  It may be a mix of biology, chemistry, Quantum Physics, and even a little desire.  Here’s what I’ve learned so far…

It Could Be Biology
Neuroscientists have watched the brain in the act of choosing.  They’ve noticed two things.  First, thoughts run in neural pathways, like ruts, in the brain.  When I’m choosing, my first thoughts likely emit from these pathways.  This is the biological equivalent of habit.  Why am I compelled to eat buttered popcorn when watching a movie?  Perhaps because I have established ruts which connect the neurons of these two experiences.  When my “watching a movie” neuron fires, electricity flows on to a neighboring “eating popcorn” neuron.  Secondly, scientists observed the difficulty of choosing outside these neural pathways.   To change a habit, I have to make new choices, over and over again, physically unhooking those neighboring neurons and nudging them into new connections with other neurons.  The experts call this “Neural Plasticity.”  It is difficult but possible, so choice is flexible.  This explains both the power of habit and how habits can change.  Is will power involved in this change?  To find out, I need to look deeper.

It Could Be Chemistry
I remember science class, when my teacher explained that everything – including us – contained mostly space.  This was hard to believe until I saw that fuzzy image from an Electron Microscope.  A swirl of electrons, protons, and neutrons buzzed within each atom, like leftover Cheerios floating in a cereal bowl.  Yep, mostly space!  Common sense, however, says that when I bite into a chip, I feel the crispy crunch of something solid between my teeth.  Now, with new instruments, I saw a deeper truth.  Unfortunately, nutrition theory hasn’t adapted to this new reality.  We’re still focusing on only the solid elements of food.  In reality, I am not a stagnant, solid-state being.  I’m changing all the time.  Electrons pass from atom to atom, changing electrical charges within all of that space inside.  Food has the same, basic chemistry.  Is the secret I seek hidden within these changing charges?  Do they trump my best intentions with their dynamic interplay between food and body?  Or, if I’m mostly space, then is there something about that space that generates my will power?

It Could Be Quantum Physics
Let’s dive into the weird, or the really real (depending on how you view it.)  What’s inside all that space?  One idea is called “String Theory.”  This foundational theory of Quantum Physics says that space is not empty but filled with “strings” of energy.  They behave much like guitar strings, each vibrating at their own frequency.  According to Wikipedia, “Every form of matter or energy is the result of the vibration of strings.”  These vibrating strings combine, separate, and recombine in patterns which create a kind of energetic harmony.  That harmony becomes reality.  Think of the strings as a group of instruments and the realities they create as songs.  In one moment, the song could be jazz.  The next, it could be blues.  The same instruments play both songs; they’re just combining in different ways to make different harmonies.  String combinations are infinite but precise, giving rise to flexibility (in everything, from the brain to food choice.)  Therefore, will power could be a product of how these strings of energy combine at any given moment.  I know, weird, right?!

If this is happening in me, then could it be happening in everything, including my Doritos?  What if I eat to match my energy level?  Even when I know all the “right” things to eat, I choose Doritos because they’re vibrating at the same level as me.  We’re in harmony.  I’ll never look at string cheese the same again.

What Next?
Wherever will power begins, my next, best step will be the same.  I must connect.  Connecting with myself — whether with food, music, or any other practice — will only move me towards my ultimate desire.  Sure, I want to lose 100 pounds in 1 year, but I chart my weight loss by the connections I make.  I don’t need to coax my path into something I think it should be.  I don’t need a road.  I am the road.  My body is already the perfect vehicle for where I am today.  What makes me want it to be different is not what experts say I should be, but how I change on the inside.  My work is to learn how to trust that change.

Take Home Tip

I’m going to eat whatever food matches my energy.

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Introduction to String Theory (AKA M-Theory)


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When Food Talks Back

Here’s a chapter from my weight loss eGuide, “Eat to Thrive.”  If you like what you see, feel free to download the entire eGuide at the link below.

It’s the end of week 22, and I’m confident that the scale will be down another two pounds when I weigh myself tomorrow.  I’m writing at my laptop; sitting at Bernice’s Bakery and enjoying a pastry filled with cream cheese and blueberries.  The pastry feels soft and silky in my mouth; like biting into a satin pillow.  Why am I so confident, even as I take another swig of robust coffee with 100% cream?  I think it’s because I’ve found a secret.  I’ve discovered a key to losing weight that goes beyond pounds and inches.  I’ve found a way to change my mind, as well as my dress size.  It’s this turn of the tumblers inside, more than food or exercise regiments, which has delivered the most results.

I admit that most of my habits aren’t really about food or exercise.  They’re about what’s going on inside my head.  Before I started my 100 pounds journey, I snarfed McDonald’s because I was bored.  I gorged on doughnuts because I wanted a reward for pushing so hard.  I crashed on the couch because I was exhausted from the low-level barrage of negative, judgmental thoughts boiling in my brain.  My mind was my biggest barrier to improved health.  I’ve heard this sentiment echoed among professionals, too.  When I asked Certified Personal Trainer, Lani Bolenbaugh, “What do you think are the biggest challenges facing people who want to lose weight?” she immediately answered, “Their minds.”  Unfortunately, most weight loss plans place the mind a distant third behind food or exercise.  Diets like “The Zone,” “Atkins,” and the recently-popular “HCG” target food as Enemy #1.  Workouts like “Insanity” and “P90X” promote extreme exercise.  While I see benefits to these programs, I notice that they rarely address the mind.

I decided to bring my “mind revolution” to life with a visual concept.  It looks like this:

triangel hierarchy of weight loss approaches

As you can see, I’ve turned the typical weight loss approach upside-down.  Mind becomes 60% of the whole; exercise 30%; and food a small 10%.  How can this work?  Because my daily routine stems from thought patterns in my heads, that’s the only sensible place to start.  To see my patterns clearly, I have to work backwards, like this:

My body is shaped by habits.

My habits grow from my experiences.

My experiences are created by thoughts.

Food Talks to MeFor example, last Thanksgiving, I weighed 44 pounds more than I do today.  I constantly felt heavy, like I was moving through invisible sludge.  I ate McDonald’s drive-thru three to four times each week.  When I ate fast food, I experienced relief.  The food became a comfort.  In fact, it subconsciously spoke to me.  It’s no surprise that these thoughts led me to pack on the pounds.

To make a difference in my life, I needed to start with those thoughts.  But, not in an attacking, “my mind is my enemy” kind of way.  Instead, I started with a positive thought.  The first thought is often the most important – and the hardest to authentically believe.  In her book, “Secrets of a Former Fat Girl,” Lisa Delaney puts it perfectly.  She explains that, to lose weight, we need to let go of judgment, rules, or programs, and foster the belief that we can lose weight.  I’m a person who can be healthier is a powerful starting belief.

How we get there, and however long it takes, is nobody’s business.  For example, before I began my journey, I spent six months doing some pre-weight loss heavy lifting with my beliefs.  I practiced “stopping.”  Any free time I had, I spent in bed, being still.  I didn’t always sleep.  I’d be too awake with worries like…

I should be doing laundry or the dishes.

I’m being too lazy.

How will the bills get paid?

You know what, no one had to wear dirty underwear.  I didn’t regress to larvae stage.  The bills got paid.  PLUS, I learned a massive lesson.  One afternoon in bed, I lay awake.  By now, I had gotten rather bored of all the “shoulds” in my head, and I’d gotten passed any guilt.  I began to truly rest inside.  In that moment, I felt a light shining, starting from within and expanding to fill the entire bedroom.  I say “felt a light” because I couldn’t see it, but the warmth and clarity enveloping me absolutely lit me up.  I imagined angels dancing over me in some invisible place, celebrating my existence.  And I knew – I knew that I knew that I knew – I was of great value, even as I lay in bed, doing nothing.  I was of so much value that not even I could take it away.  It was the kind of knowing which comes from such eternal truth that I immediately believed it of everyone.  You, me, we are all of infinite value, just by being alive.

That sounds foo-foo, but this idea had a real-world impact on my life.  Now that I had an awareness of my permanent value, I had something to compare all my worries to.  I realized how much time I wasted arguing with thoughts that aren’t even true.  Once I saw these thoughts as time-suckers that didn’t even help me, it became easy to see beyond them.  That meant it became easier to channel that worry into action.  I got lots more done.  Instead of fretting over chores, I just did them.  When I wanted to rest, I napped.  Then, I’d wake up refreshed and ready to do some more.  I paid the bills quicker, instead of letting them stew in a to-do soup.  Everything got easier.  Life got easier.  Eating healthier became easier.

To get off the weight loss rollercoaster, I had to spend some time in my head.  Even so, I can drum up a worry about that:

If I spend so much effort on my mind, then I’ll become obsessed.  I won’t be moving.  I won’t be dieting.  How will I get results?

This seems logical, but reality doesn’t work like that.  When I was heavier, I was already obsessed.  I thought about my size, or compared my body to another woman’s shape, at least once an hour.  Little things would constantly remind me of my girth:  the butt-squishing seats in the movie theater, the chafing of tight waistbands, and the rubbing of my inner-thighs when I walked.  I obsessed about my size all the time.

Today, I spend a minimum of energy focusing on my weight, partly because I’m doing something about it and partly because my value is no longer attached to my size.  All this freedom, and I haven’t even lost the whole 100 pounds yet!

Action dispels fear.  Movement creates momentum, even when all of the action is on the inside, under the covers.  In fact – especially on the inside, because the same thinking that caused me so much worry can be retrained to work double-time in my favor.  After a few months of seeing beyond my worries, that habit-forming pattern which caused me to gain weight began to work in reverse.  I considered the possibility that I could get healthy again.

Not too long after, I felt like moving, just 10 minutes in the pool.  I started reading about health.  I joined a support group to help me continue examining my thoughts.  Soon, I began having fresh experiences.  I felt lighter while doing water aerobics in the pool, I didn’t feel so alone in my struggle, and I cultivated a deep acceptance of who I already was.  It didn’t take long for others to notice a change.  Coworkers noticed my energy boost.  I made friends with the gals at my favorite smoothie counter.  The more I moved, the more momentum I created, the cleaner I ate, and the easier every day became.  Eventually, I realized what my heart had known all along:

I am a person who likes to be healthy.

Today, I rarely visit McDonald’s.  I’m aware of my triggers, like stress and lack of sleep, and I anticipate ways to work around them.  I feel like I can affect my life again.  I’m more myself than I’ve been in a long time.

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