Motivation. We may think we know why we are motivated to lose weight and look our best, but could our idea of why we are motivated really be holding us back? Sometimes we think we intend to lose weight but in reality we intend to stay the way we are, only that intention is hidden.
This morning I began questioning why I am having difficulty losing weight when losing weight has been easy for me before. Why do I lack conviction? Why do I sabotage myself? I found some answers through focusing, or as my teacher Tom Brown Jr. would call it: inner vision or looking within. I began with the question, “Why do I want to lose weight?” I surrendered to nothingness and waited for the answers to arise, one by one. The answers that returned were wishy washy and lacked conviction: “I want to look good. I want to be healthy. I want to feel good. I want to be my best.”
I was puzzled by the lack of conviction I felt so I asked myself, “Why do I not want to lose weight?” and surrendered to nothingness to feel the answers arise within me, one after another as I peeled back the layers of my motivation to stay as I am: “Looking my best scares me. I feel safer when I am heavy. Looking less than my best helps me to be invisible. More will be expected of me if I look and feel my best. I’m too angry to want to look good. Thinking about looking my best makes me feel like I want to cry and die. I feel vulnerable when I think about looking my best. I feel broken when I think about looking my best. I want to scream at the image of me looking my best. I want to scream at everything when I think about looking my best. I feel pain when I imagine myself looking my best”
Wow. These answers, as I go deeper and deeper are getting more painful and violent the deeper I go. I have some very real issues regarding looking good. I have some strong programming about staying heavy and tired and ill as I am.
This is a lot to take in. I am going let this information simply be for a while and let my conscious mind ponder these answers.. I will work on this later. My brain is on overload right now. More later.
The other day when I was focusing away my depression (click here for previous post) I hit upon an idea which I started immediately using. I spent moments throughout the day centering my attention inward, as is done in focusing to discover emotional layers, but instead of asking how I am feeling, I quiet myself and center my awareness deep inside my core and touch the place where I feel peace, relaxation, and love for myself; I then ask myself, “”What do I want to do right now?” This sets me up for working on something I really want to do, plus I am always much more productive when I am doing what I most want to do. Surprisingly, the answer to what I most want to do is often to organize something, or do the dishes, or help one of my children with their homework, or some other chore. My answer is not always to make art! That doesn’t matter though, because I am doing something I really want to do at that point in time, that fits in my overall life plan; something that is calling for my attention, and gives me pleasure to accomplish.
I am realizing that this first focusing question, “What do I want to do right now?” does not remove any of the myriad of chores that were overwhelming me when I wrote about focusing away depression in my last blog. Instead, this process allows me to temporarily place all those things in a holding pattern, patiently waiting in line, as I accomplish the one chore that will bring me the most satisfaction at this time. Then I can ask again for what is the next thing I really want to do. This first question takes care of reducing stress, allowing me to enjoy the process of accomplishing things, and have more joy in my journey. I am finding that in my core, I do want to accomplish all the things necessary for success in my goals. In other words, I am not wanting to play all the time, but asking what to do first allows me to let go of the rest until they pop up as what I want to do next.
For the weight loss part, I focus again to that deep centered place within my core, where I am calm and relaxed. I remind myself that I am me, one person, centered on myself and my needs right now; knowing I have to take care of myself (no one else is going to do this for me) to be healthy and balanced; reminding myself that I answer only to myself and no one else for my health and well being and happiness; reminding myself I do not have to let anyone stress me out or make me feel less than I am; creating a protective shield of seperation around myself that allows me to rest when I want to, eat when I want to, and focus on a chore or fun activity when I want to. Once I am centered and balanced and ready to take care of myself, I ask myself, “What do I want to eat that will make me feel good and help me be my best self?” My answers have been the healthy foods I know are good for me and make me feel good and will help me lose my excess weight. When I then proceed to eat the healthy food, I do feel good. When I have not centered myself and focused on what I want to eat that will help me be healthy and my best self, I find myself reaching for chocolate, or ice cream, or bread and butter, or cereal, etc.
The key is focusing away from external stimulation that cause me to want to eat fattening sugary foods. Resting when I am tired. Pausing when I feel stressed, evaluating that stress, and focusing for what I want to do next. Eating sugary starchy food, which makes me feel sleepy, is a way I have been self medicating and dulling my senses so I don’t have to feel stress. Or, I reach for the giant (and I do mean giant!) bar of chocolate to rev me up and give me a big push, which gives me a high I enjoy, but does not benefit my health in the long run, nor does eating chocolate help me put my finger on what I really want to do.
I understand that this method is not easy when there are so many demands made upon us by external sources (and to be honest, most of the stresses and demands in my life are self induced). Regardless, I have to do something to get my happiness and health back, so I now give myself permission to experiment with focusing for happiness and weight loss. Once the simple meditation is accomplished a few times, it really takes very little time to recenter and ask those two questions again: “What do I want to do right now?” and “What do I want to eat that will help me be healthy and happy and be my best self?”
Focusing for happiness and weight loss worked so well for me yesterday (I know . . . only one day) that I wanted to share the process. I will let you, dear readers, know how it goes as I continue with this experiment. Also, if anyone wants to try this, I would love to hear how it goes for you in the comments section! Love and happiness and health to you all.