That’s my JOY!

Weighing over 260 pounds I told my doctor I ate healthfully I just had trouble with portion sizes.  She asked, “So you’re only having a small portion of dessert once or twice a week, right?”

WHAT!!?? She wants me to give up my nightly dessert?   That’s the part of my day I look forward to the most.  No!  This can’t be happening!  What would I do on weekends or evenings if I can’t create what I was craving?  I always made sure I had the cookies, cake, ice cream or candy available so I wouldn’t run out during the week.

Now my doctor wants me to give this up!?  NO WAY!

Relaying that story to a friend a couple of years later she asked me why I was so panicked at the thought of giving up dessert.  I blurted out, “That’s my JOY!”  That dessert was my reward for making it through the day.  I started noticing that as soon as I had a couple of bites of cake, cookies or candy I would instantly relax and feel pleasure.   If I had made the sweet treat it was also a sense of accomplishment and pride.  If my husband enjoyed what I baked, I felt loved and appreciated.  This nightly dessert was not just dessert.  There was a whole behind the scenes story going on that I was unaware of.

 After I discovered this it was still a couple more years before I had the chili cheese Frito epiphany and began exploring the pattern and working to change it.

Recognizing these patterns and choosing differently takes courage and LOTS of it. Because I seldom indulge in this pattern anymore, unsatisfying situations are less tolerable.  I FEEL the dissatisfaction, fear, anger, frustration in the moment.  Instead of reaching for a sweet to calm myself, I address the situation in some other way.

Over the last couple of years I’ve expressed myself more honestly with family, friends and coworkers.  This has led to an uncomfortable distance in some relationships and more closeness in others.  This is why I said it takes courage.  Moving closer to living an authentic life means I put myself out there more and it shakes up situations that were fine with me stuffing my preferences, desires and feelings.

For me, this exploration, discovery and expression are part of living an authentic life.  Living authentically means more than being true to me.  It also means to be mindful of my thoughts and reactions, to discover the habit, thought and belief patterns that are not intrinsically my own.  In this way I can consciously choose what I want to bring into my life or how I want to act.  I can more clearly hear the small inner voice of my deepest heart’s longing.

So now I know when I have that craving for dessert, there’s something else I’m really craving and I better find out what that is.

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Simply Flow

On my quest to live an authentic life I’ve discovered New Year’s Themes instead of resolutions.

New Year’s Resolutions weigh me down and usually become unfulfilled obligations. How many years did my list of resolutions include lose weight and declutter the house? Too many! So several years ago I decided to create “themes” instead of resolutions. The intention was to adopt a theme that help me bring more of what I want into my life.

In 2010 I adopted my first theme, “Connection”. Throughout the year if I seemed stuck I’d ask myself, “How can connection be part of the solution?” By the end of the year I had developed deeper relationships with friends and family.

2011 was the year I lived “Mindfully and with Joy”. I participated in a Mindful Eating Retreat and brought mindfulness to many aspects of my life which brought about more joy.

2012 was the year to “Lighten Up”. My original intention for this was to loosen up and have more fun. What I ended up doing was losing the bulk of 101 lbs. Literally, lightening up!

2013 was the year of “Play”. Looking back, last year didn’t really work out to more “play” in my life. By the end of the year I wasn’t sleeping well and I was more stressed. Why? What happened to the “play”? I felt a pressure to “play”. Play isn’t about pressure. The theme of “play” was intended to bring more ease and creativity into my life, not pressure.

So for 2014 I chose the theme, “Simply flow” and at almost three weeks in, I’m psyched! Through synchronicity this theme continues to be reinforced. Articles I read, conversations I have, TV programs I watch, support me. I’ve started simplifying my life and have felt more in flow which is allowing more creativity and ease into my life.

In the past couple of weeks I’ve allowed myself to cancel commitments that don’t support the theme. This has brought personal growth and a surprising sense of lightness. I have so many ideas about what I want to do. It’s been a long time since I felt this inspired but instead of going full out, like I usually do when I feel this way, I’ll go with the flow. No planning. No forcing. Just ease and lightness.

Yesterday, no less than three times the phrase, “take the next right move” came to me from different sources. So, yes, that is what I’m going to do for now. Marinate in this time of inspiration, throw out a few ideas and take the next right move. Simply flow.

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Out of the Fog

April 2011 July 2103Through the Chili Cheese Fritos fog a voice emerged, “The life I was meant to live cannot be lived in a fat body!”

Huh?  What was that again?

“The life I was meant to live cannot be lived in a fat body!”

Of course, I was meant to live this life and I had been fat since I was 6.  What other life could I live?  But if I was living my real life, why did I feel so miserable?  And why did I binge on Chili Cheese Fritos last night?

The voice kept going!  “My life is better than a Chili Cheese Fritos binge, painful swollen joints, size 24 clothes and a fatigue so great that no amount of sleep can relieve.”

Ok, fine.  What do I need to do, this time?

“Take care of myself.  Do it slowly.  If I slip, get back up. Do exercise I enjoy, none of the “no pain, no gain” punishment of the past.”

That inner conversation occurred October 8, 2011. Over the next 16 months I followed my inner wisdom to lose 101 lbs.   For the first time since I was 6 years old I am a healthy weight.

At 53, I now eat mostly healthful food, wear size 8-10 clothes, exercise regularly, my joints feel significantly better and the fatigue lifted.  Back in October 2011 I would have been happy with that.  In fact, that is where I expected my journey to end.

What I found is that my journey is just beginning.

Most of my life I ate to cover up who I was, what I felt.  Eating became the only “joy” I had.  “Joy” is in quotation marks because it wasn’t true joy.  It was false joy to make up for the real joy of being me.  The more I listen to my inner wisdom the more inner joy and inner peace I experience.

This blog isn’t about weight loss or maintaining weight – though I’m sure these topics will come up.  In my experience doing either of those is a byproduct of living authentically.  Learning to live authentically is what this blog is about.

It’s about coming out of the fog and learning to play in the sun!

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