Week 2: A time for exploration

Tranquil Zen Retreat

Before you do anything about either your eating habits or any physical activity, wait and see.

A recent Stanford University study, by Kiernan and her colleagues, showed that people who were delaying the time they were going to start changing their eating habits by several weeks –up to eight weeks- were more successful than people who decided to go on a diet right away. They were also more likely to keep the weight off.   (New Research on Weight Loss from Stanford University School of Medicine  Published Oct. 31, 2013 in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. http://med.stanford.edu/ism/2012/october/stability.html)

It makes sense that knowing what to expect is reassuring and allows for some adjustment. Before you want to live in a new town it is better to spend some time there, visit the area, the town itself.

So I invite you to be a tourist for a while, so you can discover where thin people “live”: what their kitchen looks like, what they eat often or rarely, how they eat and with whom and what guaranties that they enjoy eating and moving, and stay thin.

Understanding the Process of Becoming Thin.

w2 3 phases

Food is Energy. Energy gives you movement. Movement is life and growth.

v  A. The Preparation Phase.

  • 1. Getting your kitchen and your life ready for change.
  • 2. The cook and the helpers
  • 3. Food and life

v  B. The Experiential Phase

  • 4. Checking in: hunger, satiety, taste, pleasure, habits
  • 5. Cooking and moving: Long and short meals. Exercising versus moving.
  • 6. Eating with others. The gym and other places of fun or torture

v  C. The Transformative Phase

  • 7. Serving the food.
  • 8  Eating the food
  • 9  Digesting the food and losing weight. A new rhythm of life

Before next week, I invite you to spy on your thin friends. See what they have in their fridge, their cabinets and their pantries. Ask them what they eat when they don’t have much time.  Listen to them telling you about their experiences about cooking, eating and exercising, as if you were doing research. Don’t ask for advice. They are not in charge of your weight loss.  You are in charge of this discovering process.

Next week: Looking at how you can get your kitchen and immediate environment ready for change.

A “no shame, no blame” approach: Why you don’t need another list of tricks

If it was just a question of information on food, exercise and weight lost, everybody would be thin in America. There is an abundance of tips, lists, recipes, advice, advertising and promises on the net. Some of the tips are quite correct, most of them are obvious, and all of them start with the promise that “You just have to do this or that, and you will succeed.” Well, most people are not stupid and can think by themselves that eating less and exercising more for example, will result in weight loss. Being exposed to a plethora of information, just information, only results in more guilt and shame in people who are overweight. Guilt is bad enough, it tells you did something wrong but shame is even more painful. It tells you that you are bad.  In a recent Ted Talk Brein talks about the devastating effects of shame when it runs unconscious. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psN1DORYYV0. It can be recognized and transcended. Don’t you want to take another path?

The mystic Hafiz says:
You carry all the ingredients to turn your life into a nightmare
Don’t mix them!
You carry all the ingredients to turn your life into joy
Mix them. Mix Them *

Information is useful sometimes and I will share some with you but it is not the focus of this blog. The focus is to show what can lead you from belonging to the group of overweight people in America for whom eating is tainted with shame and guilt to the group of people who eat what they want, enjoy it and stay thin. It takes intention, understanding of what is at stake, and experiencing the thin way of eating and moving around.  This blog is focused on the process, not just the information.

I am not saying that you should be thin, but if you want to be, there is a path with different challenges at each step. This is not a difficult path, since many people are thin without effort. However taking it requires intention and being open to seeing differently.

For people who are overweight, something went wrong at some point: Each person has his or her own way to gain weight and maintain this surplus. It is much more difficult because it is a blind spot. It really works like the blind spot you have when you are driving. Everyone can see the big truck except you. It takes a different point of view to see it.

As we go through the journey of becoming thin, we can see how each person who wants to lose weight get stuck in one or several points. That the time where the dieters give up and the membership card to the gym stay in the drawer. If you choose to overcome this obstacle not by brute force, but by wisely walking around, you will lose weight and stay thin. Losing weight is not a question of will, but a question of seeing what needs to be done.

*in The Gift, poems by Hafiz,  translations by Daniel Ladinsky