What’s your biggest remaining challenge?

More on Oprah’s weight gain tell-all »

I’m not going to talk about Oprah.

But I do want to talk about this statement in a blog about Oprah:

“For people with disordered eating or an eating disorder, weight is but a symptom of a larger, often emotional problem.”

(Disclaimer: I’m not suggesting Oprah or fat people have emotional problems.)

The realization that I needed to focus elsewhere — not on the weight — freed me. I think that, for me, it was about finding better ways to:

  • Manage stress
  • Nurture myself
  • Not be so self-sufficient

The first one, manage stress, is probably pretty obvious. Like many, I ate under stress. I spent two weeks at the Rice House a little over two years ago and the most important lesson I left with was that if I didn’t destress and deal with stress more constructively, I wasn’t going to maintain any sort of weight loss. I spent those two weeks doing tai chi and yoga, meditating, walking, and going to classes. I lost weight, but what people noticed the most is that I looked ten years younger because I was so relaxed. I felt it, too. When I left, I didn’t have time to do those things all day with family and a job, so I had to find other solutions. I tried different things and settled on those that worked best for me given my lifestyle and needs: Holosync and exercise.

The next one, nurturing myself, sounds pretty namby-pamby, doesn’t it? I’m not talking about taking a bath or doing my nails instead of eating cake. I was doing a set of self-discovery workbooks from The Solution (seems quite a bit different at a glance than what it was when I did the workbooks several years ago, so not necessarily an endorsement) and did one exercise in particular that was just profound. In a nutshell, the program overall was about balancing healthy nurturing with setting limits. (I was all about shutting off any need for nurturing and all about emphasizing limits in the form of discipline with varying degrees of success. Definitely not in balance.) This exercise was about discovering or creating a source of nurturing. Wow. Powerful. Phew. That exercise actually provoked a deep spiritual experience and has kicked off a number of art projects.

The last one, becoming less self-sufficient, might seem counterintuitive. In short, it’s about me not needing to have all the answers, not needing to be hyper-responsible, not having to be in charge, not needing to do things perfectly. I can be human. I can show vulnerability. I can humble myself. This has also a profoundly spiritual experience. I have a little hint, a tiny taste, as to why obedience and humility are so valued by monastics.

As you can imagine, all three of those things have roots in my childhood, but I find that I don’t focus on the past so much as act on what’s going on today. (My mother visiting for the past week has helped me see what’s changed and what still needs to change.)

I also think that, in the last month or two, my focus has shifted back to weight rather than the root causes — and I’ve been struggling more. Even when I have a loss, I feel less at peace. Time to get back to focusing on what really matters.

More on Oprah’s weight gain tell-all »

Wed, December 17 2008 » Strategy, Stress eating, Support, Useful tools

2 Responses

  1. Just_Kelly December 17 2008 @ 7:59 am

    Wow, fabulous post. I think it’s a good idea to address the root of emotional eating problems and I’m trying to work on that now. I just wrote a whole “reflective” post you might enjoy at my blog where I sat down and thought long and hard about what was working, what wasn’t, and what is holding me back.

    Good luck on getting back to focusing on what really matters. I know you can do it!

  2. Angie December 17 2008 @ 8:06 am

    Alexia, excellent post! That is why you have had such tremendous success thus far – you’re a smarty pants :-)

    RYC: now, my dear, don’t do this to yourself :-( You are in our top 3! You showed us all what kind of standard we should have for ourselves when you kicked some major butt while in China during part of this challenge and you SILL managed to kick butt WHILE IN CHINA! You have got to be proud of yourself for that and happy to bring in the new year having lost over 20 lbs in this challenge! WOOOHOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! I am beyond proud of you! Enough diet coke and cake missy!! Snap out of it and show 2009 what you’re made of!

One Ping

  1. anchainc December 22 2008 @ 4:36 pm