Taking the Long Road
I’m taking a class that teaches mindful eating and it’s really been an eye opening experience for me. I think that the biggest lesson I’ve learned so far is that, although I’ve lost over 100 lbs, I still have the mindset of my former fat self.
Although many of my old thought patterns have changed, I have a long way to go. I hate this part because the little person in me wants to whine “…but I’ve been through so much already! I’ve been good. I’ve tracked my food and I have been working so hard! WHEN DOES THIS END???
This is the way I thought about diets my entire life. It’s likely the reason why I never permanently lost my weight, it’s also likely the reason why I’ve been struggling these last few months. There’s a part of me that wants the journey to end because I don’t want to always have to track my food as diligently as I have been. There’s also part of me that wants to just chill out and not worry about food or weight for awhile. Lately, my struggle has been real and it’s been exhausting.
With that said, I’ve learned that it really doesn’t get easier. It just gets different.
This class validated that weight loss, a healthy lifestyle and maintenance are all about balance. It’s about learning that you don’t have to cut all of your favorite foods out of your diet. It’s about learning how to live with them IN your life; learning that it’s okay to indulge - and that it’s okay to stop eating when we are full.
I need to consistently distinguish between emotional hunger and physical hunger. That means pausing before I reach for food to determine whether I am emotionally or physically hungry. That’s a big component of this journey because food will satisfy me physically. No matter how hungry I am, I will eventually feel full.
However, Emotional hunger is different. When I am emotionally hungry, no matter what I eat, I will never feel full or be satisfied. Its because I’m trying to fill an emotional void with something physical and it doesn’t work that way.
I’ve learned how to deal with stress and emotional hunger a little better - but I have more work to do in this area. I exercise more. I meditate. I journal and blog. I talk to friends and loved ones. I knit. All of these activities are wonderful options, but there are times I still revert back to old behaviors and eat.
The good news is that I eat less. A lot less. I no longer go through an eating rampage in my kitchen. That’s a big step.
More good news? I realize when it’s happening. Being mindful of my behaviors is another step forward. If I am aware, I can change my course of action. I can go for the apple instead of the chocolate. I can even walk away from the kitchen empty handed. It hasn’t happened often, but theres potential.
I’ve learned that I’m on a journey that never ends - but there are beautiful landscapes to enjoy along the way. It may be the long road, but it’s the right road for me to be on and I’m grateful for it.
Bee healthy. Bee happy.