How do you begin and continue to make lasting changes?
How to begin...where to begin? Right here. Right now, where you are!
You are not condemned to your habits.
You can indeed emerge from them.
You can change and grow more and more free.
With daily practice, you can nourish and develop wholesome mental patterns and transform unwholesome ones. Just keep planting seeds of well-being and gradually your garden of well-being will grow and flower as you provide the supportive conditions.
Many times in the past I have tried to motivate myself to change through abusive self-talk: Get with it! What’s your problem? Just do it. It’s like I have a Gestapo Man in my head that says, “I have ways of dealing with you. You will perform, or else.” He would put me before an inner firing squad to get me to shape up. I really tried the “beat myself up approach to self-change.” I, at last, discovered that approach does NOT work. Over ten years ago I ultimately learned the important lesson of self-talk that is nurturing and encouraging.
Taken from my diary on August 26, 1992 (20 years after I lost my weight): “God, how do I allow you to bless and support the world through me and stay in balance, not get used up and burned out? How do my needs for companionship happen? Closeness? Fun? You seem to say wait, trust, and go with the flow—f- - k! I’m lonely, and tired. I don’t know where to meet friends. I’ve gone to groups, reached out to my old friends, and no one returns my calls. Everyone is too busy and doesn’t care if I exist. It’s hard for me to not want to beat up on me and blame me for my present situation. It seems to be going on for all of my life. No one wants me. I’m only OK if someone needs something.” At that point I became so angry at myself that I “wished myself dead” with such emotional intensity—I really meant it—that within 4 hours, my body manifested a 104-degree temperature and I was sick in bed, with severe sweating, for a week.
One other time, about a year later, I was feeling those same emotions. I had taught too many classes and contributed to too many committees while trying to set up a neighborhood crime prevention program. I was so needy, lonely, and horny, I couldn’t stand it. I got so angry at my need to be touched, loved, and hugged—at my sexual needs—that I wished, with great emotional intensity, that my penis would fall off! It didn’t. However, within 2 hours my body manifested a bladder infection. These two experiences helped me to understand that my body is very sensitive and responds to how I deeply feel about it. I would never treat anyone else I know as terribly as I have treated myself. Right after these events, I started to go to a counselor for help to learn the dating skills that I mentioned in the social isolation section of this story.
Sondra Ray explains in her book, The Only Diet There Is: If we forgive the past, drop negative thoughts and resentments, stop being victims—we drop our fat as well. She asserts that as we release our negativity, we release excess weight in our minds, hearts, and in our bodies.
Practice a diet of self-love
Fast from harmful thoughts and actions
Sondra Ray’s steps are as follows:
Diet from negative thinking, feast on affirmations, use visualizations, give up anger, write down your feelings, bless your food, love your body, nurture yourself, turn it all over to God, and give thanks to God.
I used this book extensively and found all of the exercises and affirmations to be quite helpful. Copyright date is 1981 by Celestial Arts Publishers. Explore Nourishing Affirmations!.
One thing that helped me facilitate all of this learning was to keep a lifestyle journal. I KEEP A JOURNAL of insights gained, of food experiences and food consumption and of patterns. I note when I have failed to follow my food program, and when I do well! I jot down WHAT I learned.
I don't have to keep it all of the time—only when I feel compulsive, confused, and thankful! I have kept many kinds and different formats. I also use a computer nutrition analysis software program (Diet Power) to evaluate my eating patterns. A journal is not just keeping foods but also noting emotions, aspirations, thoughts, prayers, insights, and possible strategies. I like to use color!
Here are a couple of examples from my diary:
As you can see, there are many things to learn about if you want to lose (release) weight and keep it off—permanently! You will have to SPEND TIME ON YOU! In this society, we regard material possessions as having great worth: our house, car, stereo, TV, boats, ski equipment, ad nauseum. We spend great amounts of our time acquiring material possessions. I will give you an example. If you have a couch in your living room it could easily cost $1000.00. For ease of computation, assume that you take home $10.00 an hour. You worked 100 hours of your effort, toil and trouble to purchase the couch that you sit your rear on. The couch might be a lovely material possession, but wouldn't it be GREAT to have a thin and healthy rear to sit on that couch? Yes, it sure would! It might take you 100 hours to learn about and apply the different areas of self-care and get to the root causes that I have talked about. With all of the distractions that are available in our culture, I have found it valuable to consider:
You Are Your Most Precious Possession!
The "House" You Live in is Called Your Body.
Life has to be lived forwards, but frequently is better understood looking backwards. I have found for most people’s healthy weight management journey, the following truth applies:
There’s always a simplistic answer to a complex problem, and it’s wrong. Quick “fixes” do more harm than good. It will require time to learn about and run through all of the areas that I have mentioned, but you will be rewarded with health, true happiness, and peace of mind. What a bargain! YOU TOO can experience the gift of a changed life. It takes honesty, open-mindedness, willingness and...LOTS OF PRACTICE! There is no such thing as microwave change. Change is a slowly evolving experience.
Every second is a new beginning!
You may find the root causes of your being overweight are similar to or different from my own. I encourage you to take the time and make the effort to transform your root causes, so you can bless yourself and the world with your delightful friskiness.
Remember, Progress. Not Perfection.
Easy Does It. But, Do It.
These two buttons are on my kitchen wall.
The story of the buttons: Several times in the process of changing my life, I have been put in the middle of family chaos; I have made choices to overeat and drink in response to the challenges and stresses. And I have become so angry at myself for not being able to “make it all better” that I took it out on myself and hit my head with such force into the kitchen and dining room walls of my home—using my head as a battering ram—that I put holes in them.
Later, after personal and home remodeling, I put the buttons over the plastered and painted holes to remind me where I have come from and to remind me that one day at a time I CAN make new choices, that the incredible force of aliveness in me and others always supports and encourages us to achieve our greatest sense of personal exuberance. In my case, my body, mind, and spirit have resisted my best attempts to kill them in every way possible and have blossomed into my present, miraculous life!
Attitude is everything.
Keep your face to the sunshine
And you cannot see the shadows.
There are two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though everything is a miracle. Albert Einstein.
A DAILY REMEMBRANCE:
See your unborn wholeness and trust it to emerge.
The fundamental nature of my mind is pure.
Within me is an inexhaustible source of love, wisdom and power.
The purpose of all spiritual practice is to uncover and make contact with this.
When ignorance is removed unlimited wisdom, compassion and power arise.
It is the mind's conditioning that limits our understanding of who we are and what we can become.
I will cleanse my mind of faults and develop beneficial qualities.
This removes obstacles to my progress and creates beneficial conditions.
Recognizing the interconnectedness of all I will strive to be my best and to manifest my potential, ever dedicated to benefiting all people.
I will think, speak and act as a loving person. By Lama Yeshe at www.LamaYeshe.com
May all people have happiness and the causes of happiness.
May all people be free of anguish and the causes of anguish.
May all people not be separated from the great happiness that is beyond all misery.
Copyright © 2001-2017 Bob Wilson BS, DTR All Right Reserved. Articles are for personal use only. Please request permission for other uses. Thanks!