Well, like 97% (!!) of people who lose weight I gained some of mine back. It's been 2 years since I made my weight loss goal and I have gained back 30lbs. :-(
I like to think that I know one or two things and so I should be able to keep my weight off. I know that I dealt with the underlying issues for why I protected myself behind excess fat. I know that my intensive years of spiritual work let me shed old skins and move in to new ways of being. I know that I am not the same person I was 7 years ago. So how on earth did I slip right back into old patterns?!
I have lots of excuses. When I have listed my reasons in confession to confidants I hear that they are good reasons (ya gotta love the people who love you!). And they are good-enough excuses: DIY renovations, a sick family member, an intense University course etc. But the real reason is a layer or two deeper than that.
It's about the gravity of habit (As I learned from Ellie Hernon). For all the changes we can go through, we still have a comfortable baseline that we fall back on. We rely on the comfort of the place that is familiar. We do work on the Self and there is an elevation. From this place, we understand a bigger picture and we cultivate and create energy to move into another place. However, there is always the other pull. The weight of gravity that pulls us to the earth and to our comfortable habit and way of being.
For me, it's about accepting food in social gatherings big and small because I am enjoying the love. Its about confusing self-indulgence with self-care as I get a quiet moment to myself. It's about missing work-outs and long runs because I am a Very Very Busy Person and I don't have time for those. It's a place I lived for a lot of years and it's a familiar repetitive pattern: the worse I feel, the more I eat. The more I eat, the less I move. The less I move, the worse I feel. It feels like the Rock of Gibraltar. It's not pleasant over the long term, but it is a place I know well.
Deeper than that, it's about falling into a pattern of putting other peoples' needs ahead of my own. (Ouch, that hurts!) It's true. I am a middle child/ mother/ helping professional and my default is to help others before taking care of myself. In fact, in the moment, I can even feel a little noble about sacrificing my own needs. I will also do it with one area of my life over another. I will choose to focus so greatly on renovations or volunteer work or something else that I will neglect my own personal needs. The sacrifice becomes the excuse for the treat or the missed work out. As I write this now, that sounds weird and wrong to me, but I know it's part of my Rock that when left unchecked, I will just keep rolling up the hill.
You know what though? It doesn't work. I felt like crap. Over the last 6 months in particular, my mental state went from feeling my life was a fantastic gift full of joy and love to feeling like I couldn't handle things. And the more I felt like things were hard, the more I turned to the familiar comfort of sacrificing, eating and sitting.
I am happy to say that I this is recently past tense. After a particularly crazy summer and fall (and who am I kidding- winter, too) I am on the upswing. I am back to working out, running and yoga. I can feel the difference. I sleep better. I eat better. I enjoy my family more. I am happier!
Sure there is still the reality that when I was losing weight, it was like a part-time job. I spent a fair amount time dealing with my food and working out. I don't want to have a life where I have to spend that much time and be that focused, but I do want to do it better.
Instead of climbing Weight Loss Mountain (and apparently rolling down it again!), I want to make a new comfortable home on the mountain. I want to find the place that isn't at the pinnacle of fitness or the apex of professional achievement or even (gasp) the peak of spiritual enlightenment. I want to live on that part of the mountain that offers an integration of all these things- spirit, body and mind. I want to live in all of these aspects of my life everyday.
Here is what I think the secret to this particular spot on the mountain might be; the simplest lesson of them all: take care of your self.
Eat properly. Drink water. Get enough rest. Move your body. Have quiet time alone in your head. Have time with loved ones. Let your own needs be met. Allow yourself to care and nurture your Self- everyday.
It seems too easy to be true, doesn't it? It even feels a little disappointing to think that's it. Well, I think its one of those life truths that is easy to espouse, but remarkably difficult to achieve:
Put the rock down and walk away.
Dare to meet your needs.
Thanks for reading.