- October 10, 2010
After a lifetime of yo-yo dieting and living as a shut in at over 300 pounds I finally figured it out! It turns out that losing weight permanently and living a healthy lifestyle is not difficult. After all of my misdirected attempts I have finally made that magical “lifestyle change.” That realization hit me after I had stopped the lifelong battle, and looked at life, health and food as an adventure to be lived every moment. I stopped fighting my body and started to embrace it and it embraced me right back!
Diets, exercise programs, attempts at lifestyle changes were all difficult for me to follow and impossible to continue for any period of time. The diet and fitness industry is a multi-billion Dollar monolith that feeds on our multiple successes and failures. That is why they don’t work for the vast majority of people who try them. I did not use any specific diet or fitness program to lose weight and I am still getting more fit and healthy by changing my outlook first.
I tried just about everything and as a result I was living a life of deprivation, guilt, shame and physical discomfort when I was morbidly obese. Diets and exercise programs gave me some hope, but when I would gain the weight back my hopes were smashed into pieces and I felt like I was dying inside.
I thought I had only two choices for my life:
Live a life where my body is overburdened, unattractive, riddled with pain and dying more rapidly than normal,
Do something about it by dieting and exercising. The only way I thought I could make this choice was by living a life of deprivation, guilt, shame and constant work. I tried and failed with this option many times. Each time I became heavier, older, less healthy and more severely depressed. Eating less and exercising more sounds easy, but when I was unable to do it I would beat myself up inside for having no self-discipline or will power.
THE THIRD CHOICE
Until I embraced the third choice I was doomed to misery. That third choice was/is to embrace life. I know, that sounds goofy and cryptic, but bear with me. I chose not to deprive myself; rather I started on a path of fulfillment. I stopped denying myself foods I wanted to eat. I stopped feeling guilty and ashamed. Instead, I started a quest to seek out healthful choices for eating that I actually enjoyed and I didn’t worry when I ate something full of sugar, fats and carbs.
Every day I make up games in my head to help me to enjoy moving around. I don’t “do” work-outs, but I like being playful so I found ways that engage that playful part of me with physical activities that I actually enjoy. I chose to release guilt and shame and live in the present moment.
The result? I stopped looking at the scale. I interrupted the guilt cycle. I am stronger and more physically fit than I have been in decades. And my tastes have totally changed. I still eat cheeseburgers when I want them, but I actually enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables every day and would feel deprived without them. Best of all, I no longer suffer from immobilizing physical pain and I am less depressed and anxious.
I did not diet, I did not deprive myself. I did exactly the opposite: I fill my life with abundance of positive thoughts, healthful foods and fun activities. The more I filled my life with good stuff the more I could feel my old habits, cravings and guilt slipping away along with more than 100 pounds of my body fat.
With this blog I want to explain how I put it into action that ambiguous Third Choice and how I intend to remain this healthy for the rest of my life.
There are some underlying keys which turned a nice idea into reality for me. I strive:
• to be mindful in every aspect of life
• to ignore diets, but instead to see eating and health as a constant adventure
• live moment to moment, aiming to make each moment better than before.
• forgive myself. Stop judging, stop the guilt and just live life.
• be open to always looking for something new and better for my mind and body.
All of these concepts are difficult to explain, and take a while to fully embrace but they are not difficult to do. With a little patience a clear intention to change the way I think old habits died off and new, good habits started. Before I knew it, the momentum had me craving healthy choices, enjoying physical movement and I have even become bored with fast food and too much TV.