This is a two-part update to my post from January, 2018: How I lost 14kg in one year: by practicing mindfulness.
i’ve been fighting with myself.
I have been avoiding updating my blog all year, and after asking myself why this is the case over and over again, I realised this: I was in deep conflict with my last major post, which was centred around my weight loss journey and how I accomplished it with mindfulness.
I hated the title. I hated the emphasis on weight loss. After all, I’ve been anti-weight loss and weight obsession for most of my life. For years, I didn’t want to check my weight and I didn’t want to try to lose weight. I cringed when people commented on my weight, even when they were intending to ‘compliment’ me.
So how did I end up focusing on the one thing that I stood against before?
I was scared.
In April 2016, my knees hurt a lot after a dance performance. I was scared I wouldn’t be able to dance if they continued to hurt. Losing weight seemed like the best way to help the situation, and I was determined to dance for the rest of my life. Thankfully, my mindfulness coach intervened and reminded me that this wasn’t a project. She focused away from the numbers and looked more at how I was feeling and living mindfully. So I focused on mindfulness, with discipline and commitment, and it led to a shift in my body weight.
I was using the right tools, but my intention was still linked with weight loss and that was the underlying factor driving my discipline.
Thus commenced the persistent fear once my body weight had stabilized: Am I gaining it back again? Shit. I better get my mindfulness act together.
I don’t want to live like this.
I don’t want to be mindful because it will help maintain my weight. I don’t want to be driven by fear. I want to be mindful because I want to listen to my body and give it the care it deserves. I want to be mindful because it makes me feel good and it allows me to thrive.
If my body increases or decreases in weight, it doesn’t matter. I can observe that, be curious about why that might be happening. But I want to feel good in my body no matter what weight it is at. I want to continually re-commit to mindfulness, and not wait until a change in my weight reminds me to be mindful. I want to continually remind myself of my intention to love and listen to my body. I want to honour and respect my body.
What had I been thinking?
I continued to grapple with why I wrote that post the way I did, to find some answers.
I had intentionally chosen a click-bait title mentioning the magnitude of my weight loss because I wanted as many people as possible to read my message around mindfulness. I figured, if I can’t shift people’s obsession with weight, I can still inspire them to live mindfully by tapping into their obsession. I’m disappointed and angry with myself, but I’m also trying to be kind and to accept that this is part of my journey. In the desire to spread the message of mindfulness, I was perpetuating a way of thinking that I find to be so harmful.
I had been feeling a great sense of accomplishment. I had been feeling excited that I had figured something out. I was proud of my commitment and dedication throughout the year. The number was proof of that commitment. But why is my celebration of how I choose to live and love my body limited to when one number changes? What about when it doesn’t change, and I’ve continued to stay committed?
an alternative mindset: Whatever number my body chooses to rest at, is fine.
Maybe some of the discipline was hinged on the focus on weight loss, and once I take that focus away, I’ll gain some weight back. It’s okay. Whatever number my body chooses to rest at, is fine. I am committed to being the person I want to be and living life intentionally, in service of my well-being, growth and sense of joy.
I know there are benefits of weight loss. But I find the cost of focusing on it to be too high. The cost is living a life of self-judgment and fear, at least for me. I can’t dangle my knee pain in front of me as a reason to focus on weight. I believe that if I’m truly committed to listening to and loving my body, it will rest in equilibrium and serve me exactly in the way its meant to.
Sounds nice, but what does this mean for how I live?
Great, I know how I want to think about it. It’s a start.
I’m aware that it will take some time to truly shift away from focusing on weight. I’ll need to do the work of continually catching myself thinking in old ways, reminding myself of how I want to think and why, and being kind to myself throughout the process. I’ll need to continue deepening my thinking around this so that it truly seeps in.
But beyond mindset, I want to figure out what this means for me practically. How should I deal with circumstances differently? How should I choose what’s best for me, without being driven by fear, without policing or restricting or rebelling?
That’s what I’ll cover in my next post. Stay tuned!