Oh come on! Damn! Not again! How did I get here? These were the first thoughts that came to mind in the summer of 2023 when I stepped on the scale. I was horrified.
In retrospect, I thought I did everything right.
I was so happy.
I had forged a strong spiritual life, was happy, felt like I understood why I was constantly overweight and on the food swing of yo-yo dieting.
I thought I had it conquered.
I was fitting into clothes I had not fit into since grade school!
Every now and again, that nagging voice would pop into my head. “Be careful. It could all fall apart.”
I dismissed it, chalking it up to my ego and vestiges of a low self esteem that I had happily left behind.
Bit it did fall apart. Not like before, but still, there was some unraveling. I had been knocked out of an orbit that I had worked so hard to enter.
I started gaining weight. It was hard to maintain dietary patterns that had previously brought me joy. But why? My transformation wasn’t based on deprivation. I wasn’t starving myself like I had done in the past. I was doing the thing right, damnit! I spent countless hours reading, meditating, praying, working hard on forging a new way of life that served me well and was a joy to embrace. Why had it changed? What in the hell was wrong with me?
And the cycle continued. I had learned that what one resists persists, and some part of me knew that it wasn’t right to fight this thing, but I didn’t know what to do. It felt like my life was falling apart.
When all was said and done, I had gained 60 pounds back from the 170 pounds that I originally lost. None of my skinny clothes fit anymore. I was beginning to hate (again) the reflection of the mirror. I felt tired, frustrated, defeated. I wasn’t able to bike and run like I had before. I no longer enjoyed the gym. So many of the things that brought me joy felt like a distant memory.
What the hell?
What to do now? I knew one thing for sure. Giving up was NOT an option. There must have been something that I overlooked. There must be something that needs to be adjusted. Somehow, somewhere, there must be something that I could do to fix this.
I returned to my usual mode of meditating, reading, and in general opening myself up to whatever it was that I needed to know. A recurring theme in my prayers was asking God to reveal to me those things that I needed to know.
Fast forward to the end of September, 2023 and my best friend of over 30 years was coming for a week’s visit. I was so excited to see him, but I was also dreading it.
I was dreading him seeing that I had gained weight. I knew that there would be no judgment. There would be no exclamations of “oh you poor thing, the weight is coming back” or anything like that. John has always been my greatest champion. He has known me since my 20’s and has seen me at my best, as well as my worst. But still, I was dreading it. I was dreading not having energy and that sense of wellness that I had enjoyed for so many of our visits. A large part of my joy was dimmed. Not dead, but dimmed.
The pain and frustration was real. I was reaching my limit.
In a moment of calm, I was guided to calm my mind and meditate, but nothing came. More frustration.
Shortly after this, late one night, I was checking email. An email from Tara Brach, one of my favorite spiritual teachers was waiting. She was announcing a new video. A discussion between her and Judson Brewer which focused on the brain and habits. His was a neuroscientific approach to why and how we build certain habits.
It was a revelation. I watched and was captivated. The discussion resonated with me and my Higher Self was exclaiming “PAY ATTENTION! THIS IS IMPORTANT!”
In that hour, I learned that perhaps the reason I was here again, on the food swing yet again, wasn’t because I was flawed. Wasn’t because I had no willpower, wasn’t because I was hopelessly addicted to food. No. It had to do with the way my brain was operating. And the good news was that I could learn to work with it to bring about a transformational change that echoed what I had previously enjoyed, but this time in a more sustainable way!
So here we are. This is the first of many posts intended to capture my journey in the hopes that it can help you to find the freedom and joy that I am finding! I hope you gain some insight from my time on the food swing!