There’s a popular decluttering process developed by Marie Kondo in which you hold something in your hand and ask, “Does this bring me joy?” If it doesn’t, you throw it out or give it away. The idea is that you only keep the things that bring you joy.
We apply the same principle to our weight management practice when making choices. Does this choice of food bring my body joy? Does this choice of habit or thought bring me joy? When we’re building self-esteem, we use the practice of being two to recognize our emotional joy separately from our physical joy.
Those of us who work on our weight spend a lot of time counting. We count calories, we count carbs, we count steps, we count time spent at the gym and time swimming. We count pounds, we count inches, we count notches on our belts and the number of changes in the size of our clothes. We count how many years it’s been since we could wear our rings.
All this counting serves us in one way or another. It encourages us, it raises our awareness, it tracks our progress, and it demonstrates our commitment. Sometimes it also discourages us, frustrates us, and lays a guilt trip on us. And all the counting I’ve mentioned so far relates to our physical selves. It’s all good, it gets a lot of our attention and at the same time, it’s not the sum total of all there is to count.
We have established the fact that we are not what we eat. Food does not control us. Food has no power in and of itself. We, the thinking, reasoning beings that we are, have the power over what we do and how we create our lives and our bodies. We are the boss of food, food is not the boss of us!
So how do we boss food around? How do we create our lives and our bodies? It’s no secret that it’s all in our heads. Everything starts with an idea. How many times a day do we start an activity by saying in our heads, “I think...?” Even if our thought doesn’t begin that way, the “I think” part is implied.
There is a saying, and a commonly held belief, that ‘you are what you eat.’ I did a little research in Wikipedia to find out where that saying came from.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” ~Viktor E. Frankl
The whole point of increasing awareness of physical hunger and emotional hunger is so we can choose the best response to it and find the best way to satisfy it. If we aren’t aware of our triggers, our go-to response is a reaction. We always do what we’ve always done. If I always go to the kitchen to find food when I’m bored, that’s a reaction to that stimulus. I don’t have to think about it because I’ve pre-programmed a reaction. Boredom-kitchen-food. No thought involved whatsoever, and no awareness that I might choose something else.
When I walk into my annual family reunion, I am greeted with hellos and hugs. I feel welcome and loved. I feel comfortable being there, knowing I am accepted and knowing I will have a good experience. I feel content and eager to participate. This is emotional feedback.
When I go into my room, lie down on the bed, put a pillow under my knees and relax, my body settles into its easy place. My back lets me know it’s happy, my hip feels good, my shoulders relax, and very often I fall asleep just because I’m so comfortable. This is body feedback. It’s my body letting me know I’ve done exactly the thing it wants and needs to feel really, really good.
Right now, I’m going to recommend we separate ourselves from our bodies. The things we identify with, and the names we give ourselves are very powerful. So, when I have a thought like, “I am fat,” I’m taking on the identity of “fat” to the core of my being. By accepting that label and putting in an “I am” statement, I’m making a judgment about my entire self.
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