Monday, June 9, 2014

The Decision

As I mentioned several days ago, my workplace is offering a Weight Loss/Fitness Challenge for 12 weeks over the summer, ending August 28th.  The cost to employees was $35 which includes a weekly lecture, which would be videotaped if you couldn’t be there, daily email support, unlimited yoga and a one-on-one consultation – which was really the thing that appealed to me.

I was feeling very conflicted about joining this as I made up my mind a few months ago that I just wanted to stop dieting and learn how to love and accept myself and enjoy my life without having to constantly obsess over food and exercise.

The week leading up to the challenge was very stressful because they kept changing what they had originally told us:  NO one-on-one, half hour sessions due to one stupid manager who was refusing to let the two people in his department take more than a half hour for lunch, and no video taping of the sessions.

I got so frustrated, I just said “NO.”  Then fellow employees started bothering me on a daily basis and I had a manager say it looked bad that the CEO’s assistant wouldn’t participate.  I got so aggravated I looked that person straight in the face and asked, “Are you telling me I’m FAT and need to go?  Am I being forced to enroll?”  They backed off fairly quickly.

Finally, I agreed that I would go to the second ½ hour session and listen but I wasn’t signing up or paying and there was no guarantee that I would.  I also said if the person said anything about food tracking/calorie counting/calories in-out I was going to get up and walk out.

Last Thursday was the first session… and I ended up joining.  This is why.

The facilitator is not giving out diet and exercise advice.  She has been working with clients for over 20 years as a nutritionist and several years ago came to the conclusion that it wasn’t just about diet and exercise – that there was a bigger mind-body connection.  So, she started working with clients to create what she calls The Happiness Effect.

The base premise is that if you free your mind, your body will follow, naturally, right where it’s supposed to be. She also told us one of the first things we have to stop doing is thinking of food as “good” or “bad.”  I’m just going to admit straight out that perhaps two sentences in to her presentation, I was hooked.  It seems that she’s going to facilitate the very thing I have been trying to do on my own.  I also LOVED the fact that she wouldn’t promise weight loss!

Each week we are being given mind-body homework.  I am sure there will be those who will most definitely keep dieting/tracking, etc. because they want to win the challenge.  But that is not the case for me.  I want to win my life back.

As an example, this week’s mind homework was to make a list that could contain one thing or many things.  On one side we had to write “What I Don’t Want” then on the other side write “What I Do Want.”  Then we had to pick one that excited and motivated us and create a positive statement for that.  Third we had to visualize the end result of our want.

The Body homework was becoming aware of hunger cues so we could learn the difference between true physical hunger and emotional hunger.  She asked that we try to eat only when truly hungry and gave us a scale with definitions to help.  Then we are supposed to write down in a journal each time we eat, where we were on the scale at the time.  No judgment, just be matter of fact about it.  Finally, she asked that we eat only foods that would get us closer to our vision we had created earlier.  No judgment there either, just eat what you want when you’re physically hungry.

I spoke with her one-on-one for an additional half hour after the presentation and told her of my hypothyroidism and my knowledge of nutrition due to that and then about what happened on my vacation this year.  Her response was that while I was on vacation, I had somehow managed to tap into the very thing she will be teaching over the twelve weeks. Then she said, "Helen, if it was all about food and exercise, you'd be there."  Then she asked me why I refer to myself as a big ball of mess.  I said, because I am.  She responded don’t let your mind create a vision of a big ball of mess.  Make a new vision for yourself and work on that.

She then asked me if I wanted to be weighed/measured (you had to do that to be considered for the weight loss prizes at the end).  I told her I was willing but I didn’t want to see any of the numbers because I’m not after challenge prizes, I’m after my own prize of being free from dieting forever.

So I joined and yes, I will enjoy the yoga (went to a lunchtime class last Friday) although I’m not going to pressure myself to get to any certain number of classes.

I have to admit, I'm looking forward to seeing how much closer I am to my vision in twelve weeks.

15 comments:

  1. (((LOVE)))
    that is a PRIZE we all need and deserve.
    FREEDOM.

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  2. Sounds like she is right in line with what you've been leaning toward, and I like that you're making this work for you. Here's to an empowering 12 weeks!!

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  3. I hope you get out of the program all that you hope to. Could you please speak about this "vision" your trying to create in another blog post ?
    I was very impressed that you lost weight without trying on your vacation. I wonder what the "it" is if its not calories in/out and exercise? Maybe something to do with our stress hormones? Again I would love to hear you speak about this.

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  4. Your approach, so wonderful and right for you, is a wonderful example of defining our unique boundaries required for our individual success. Regardless of the next 12 week's results, you've already won. Can't wait to read more about the Yoga classes!

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  5. I think the best part is that you already had a fairly firm vision of what you want for your life. That's why you were firm about only joining when the program was in line with the vision you already had. It sounds like she will be able to help you to make that vision permanent.

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    1. I think you've hit the nail on the head Debby.

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  6. This all sounds so positive, and the group support will be a good thing. While I like WW, their information is a bit more surface in nature. It sounds like this program works at a deeper level. Her first sentence is so true: to stop thinking that food is either good or bad. As I lost my 30 plus pounds, I came to believe that more and more. I had become obsessive about food and was always looking for a new weight loss method that eliminated one food group or other. Coming to grips with the food that we are constantly exposed to is more than half the battle. Best of luck to you. I wish we had such a program here.

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    1. Constant thoughts about food and exercise and what was "right" or "wrong" were making me exhausted, because I already know that. I needed the madness to stop which is what was driving me in the direction I was going. It IS the deeper stuff I need to deal with at this point.

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  7. Out of this whole post, I loved this line the most Helen " I want to win my life back." Hooray that this will be the tool to get you to where you want to be!

    I'll be your biggest cheerleader! :D

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  8. I hope this gives you the freedom you are looking for Helen. You deserve it.

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  9. Sounds like a good group and sounds like you have a great perspective! Enjoy Helen!!!

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  10. First I was kind of pissed that you were almost forced to go as assistant of the CEO. Since I have the same job, I immediately asked myself what I would do and I wouldn't have gone, just because it's stupid and I don't want to be forced.

    But I'm glad you gave it a try and that it turned out to be good. I like the approach and hope you will share more of it the next weeks because it can be helpful for me and others too.

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    1. I was aggravated too Fran! But then I thought a half hour wouldn't hurt and I knew if I went back to my boss and explained why I didn't want to join he would be fine with that. Turns out, it was a great half hour lol!

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  11. 1. I LOVE LOVE LOVE that you told that person off who was guilting you into joining. Do not let anyone bully you into doing what you feel is right for yourself.
    2. Conversely, I am glad you gave it a chance anyway, and it turned out to be the right choice. SO GLAD she is more into the head-stuff and not the body-stuff. You're right, you know HOW to eat right and be healthy. She's there to help you figure out the other stuff.

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  12. I am catching up on blog reading and have to say that I love this approach and that you're not attached to specific outcomes. There's no greater prize than inner peace and acceptance!

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