Last week, I talked about meditation and how it can help you reach a healthy weight. One of the benefits of meditation is that it increases your awareness because, at its essence, meditation is all about observing life in real time.
The only way you can lose weight and keep it off is by changing the habits that caused you to gain weight in the first place. And, you can’t change your eating habits without being aware of them. Awareness is thus the single most important factor in successful weight loss. To change your habits, you must be aware of the thoughts behind your actions.
How aware are you of your thoughts anyway? For many of us, we are disconnected from them. We just have them, often without even realizing it.
Other times, we may notice our thoughts, but don’t question them. We believe them and think they are reality.
Clients will tell me, “I can’t lose weight. I’d tried so many times before and failed.” That is just their thought. It may be based on their history, but it is only a thought that they believe without questioning. When you believe you can’t do something, you then unconsciously look for ways to prove that your belief is true. If you want to lose weight or change any pattern of behavior, you have to question beliefs like this. You have to be aware of them. And you have to change them.
Did you think before eating that doughnut?
So, instead of accepting your thoughts, try thinking, “I may have been unsuccessful losing weight in the past, but I’ve learned from those experiences, and I know what I can do this time for a different result.”
When I ask my clients, “What was your thought when you decided to eat that?” they often answer, “I didn’t have one. I just ate it.” It isn’t that they didn’t have a thought. It is that they didn’t observe it. They didn’t notice that they had the thought that told them to eat something.
Your body does not just move automatically. It needs some directions from your brain. The first step in the process of becoming aware is to start observing your thoughts.
With eating, so many people are just in the habit of doing it. Someone brings doughnuts to the office, so you eat one. Did you think “Am I hungry?” or “How will I feel if I eat this after having eggs and toast 30 minutes ago?” Or maybe you think you didn’t think at all.
Well, I can pretty much guaranty that when you reached for that doughnut, your brain said something like, “Wow, those look delicious! Let’s see if there’s a [fill in your favorite flavor] in there” or something like that. Because you weren’t observing your thoughts, you didn’t even notice your thought. You just grabbed the doughnut.
If you take the time to be aware of your thoughts, to observe them, you can learn to control them. Being able to control your thinking is not only the key to losing weight and being healthy, but it is the key to your power to be happy no matter what happens in life.
If you are not in control of your thoughts, you are not in control of yourself. If you are not even aware of your thoughts, you cannot control them.
Being aware of your thoughts separates you from your emotional energy and the content of your thoughts. It allows you to pause between the stimulus (see the doughnut) and your response (eat the doughnut).
When you learn to observe your thoughts, and someone brings in that box of doughnuts, you will notice yourself think, “Wow, those look delicious! I love doughnuts.” But before you reach into the box, you will pause and think. You might think any of the following:
• Those look great, but do I really want a doughnut right now?
• Am I hungry?
• How will I feel after I eat that?
• Maybe I’ll take one and save it for dessert after lunch.
• I love doughnuts, but I’m really not in the mood for one right now. I can always buy one if I really want one.
If you want to lose weight, it is important to eat only when you’re hungry. “Am I hungry” is therefore a very important question to ask yourself whenever you are thinking about eating.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t eat the doughnut, but that you should think about it first, and notice your thoughts, rather than operating like a doughnut-eating version of Cookie Monster. You can still decide to eat the doughnut, but it will be an affirmative choice.
If you stop, observe your thoughts and control them, the road to your healthy weight becomes a much smoother and faster one.
The more you practice being aware of your thoughts, the more it becomes a natural behavior. Meditation can speed up this process.
So start practicing noticing your thoughts. Next week, I’ll talk about the process of changing your thinking and your habits that aren’t serving you.
If you love food, but really want to be a healthier weight, I know just how you feel. I’d love to help you learn how to live deliciously while you melt down to your healthy weight. To learn more about how you can work with me, click HERE.
May 26, 2016