10 Things I’ve Learned About Dieting Mindfully

#Blog 10 Things I've Learned About Dieting Mindfully, diet mindful, mindfulness diet, mindful eating, the mindful diet, mindful diet zen habits, mindful eating exercise, what I learned about diets, help me eat less, mindfulness and food,

10 Things I’ve Learned About Dieting Mindfully

Recently I went on a diet, which is interesting because I don’t believe diets work. To be more precise I don’t believe that diets dictated by other people, books, magazines and blogs with the sole extent of helping you lose weight are effective over the long term. Instead they tend to encourage us to seek extremes, to ignore our own intuition, and embrace an unbalanced path.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ever try to change the way you eat. Going on a short term diet can be very helpful, so long as you understand what you hope to learn and that no diet lasts forever.

My Diet

This January after rehabbing from an injury post marathon and a decadent holiday trip to my sisters house, I stepped on the scale to discover that I weighed more than ever before.

I knew I wanted to take that weight off and do it in a balanced way. So ever since the end of January, I’ve been on a caloric deficit diet. And I’ve made strides in becoming more active after my rehab.

It’s been a long time since I’ve tried to diet like this and I thought it would be an interesting experiment. The process has helped me learn or relearn many things about diets. And I want to share some of those with you.

I offer these observations not as a comprehensive guide or endorsement of any diet, but merely as a list of things that I found useful in navigating life on a temporary diet.

1. Dieting is frustrating –

Often we put on weight in a slow, subtle, and almost imperceptible manner. The problem is that when we diet we want the change to be dramatic, obvious, and fast.

Alas, this is not the case and slow weight loss can be unbelievably frustrating. Especially if you are trying to lose those last 5 – 10 lbs. Despite this, it’s better to make small slow change, than try to push harder.

Drastic measures often lead to a halted metabolism or even worse, burn out and disillusion. So instead of getting frustrated, try focusing on the joy of eating healthier and of being more mindful of your body and the food that nourishes it.

2. Dieting is Simpler Than We Want to Believe –

The reason I chose a caloric deficit diet is it’s the only diet that actually works. Or more accurately, it is the foundation that makes all other diets works. Studies have shown that all these diets are about as equally effective so long as the reduce calorie intake.

Because diets are frustrating, we want to believe there is some magic way to get around eating less. Unfortunately there isn’t. This doesn’t mean we can’t try little tricks to make this easier (using smaller plates for example). But it does mean we should be aware of these tricks and not believe we can use tricks to get around the inevitable discomfort dieting causes.

3. Things Have Way More Calories Than We Realize –

An ounce of cheese has 110 calories, yes 110; that’s the equivalent of an apple and a half. Or a bunch of Kale. Every time I track my caloric intake, I’m amazed by how many calories there are in certain types of food.

When I do, I learn to go skip those foods or I learn to eat them more mindfully. I do this not because I want to become obsessed with calories, but because it helps me understand how small choices can effect my health in a big way.

4. Exercise Burns Less Than We Think –

It can take a while to burn a bunch of excess calories. Which is why people say you can’t out train a bad diet. Nevertheless, exercise is essential for losing weight and being healthy. Not because it ‘melts away’ the pounds, but because it gets us out of our routines and encourages our vitality.

I notice that when I exercise regularly, I crave better food and have more energy to make the hard choices that losing weight sometimes requires.

5. You Must Learn To Adapt –

Often the little habitual things make losing weight harder. It’s the coke we like to get at the movies. It’s the bag of chips we buy at the store. It’s the love of sweet, sweet cheese that makes it harder.

This is why going on a diet is a great opportunity to learn to be flexible and find alternatives.

For instance, I recently found out that goat cheese has much fewer calories than regular cheese. So, I’ve been using it instead. I’ve also been turning to oranges instead of ice cream for a post meal snack.

What makes all of these changes possible is that I see each of these choices as an opportunity not a penalty. Learning to adapt doesn’t mean begrudgingly accepting change. Instead, it’s about being dynamic and looking for the joy in the alternatives.

6. Diet’s Make the Desire to Be Self-Obsessive Stronger –

It’s easy to lose track of others when you are on a diet. I’ve noticed myself thinking that my partner is bent on sabotage, by adding extra chocolate to my post run milk or by serving me a bigger portion.

But the truth is she just isn’t thinking about it because well, she’s not the one on a diet. Even though your diet may be important to you, it’s equally important to keep it in context and not put it in front of everyone else’s needs. You will be better of with a little flexibility and a smile.

7. Don’t Weigh Yourself Everyday –

Weighing yourself weekly isn’t a bad idea if you want to lose weight, but daily is a mistake. Your weight will fluctuate and so will your confidence. In general, it’s better if you don’t focus on your weight at al and instead focus on how you feel in your body.

Whenever I let go of weighing in and instead focus on what I’m doing to be healthier, I feel I’m making progress. This in turn keeps me going. Whenever I step on the scale and see that I haven’t lost as much weight as I’d like, the more discouraged I feel.

I’ve learned it’s best to let go of the scale and listen to your own internal measures instead.

8. Vegetables Are Your Friends –

I know this, but every time I log or journal about my food I find that eating more veggies always makes me happier. Not only do veggies have a ton of nutrients, they have fewer calories than almost anything else of comparable volume.

If you like veggies, Great! If you don’t, you can learn. I know you don’t believe me but you can. And it’s actually not that hard. Just look up a few good recipes and try them. You’ll be amazed at how good veggies can taste if you just keep at it.

9. Cook for Yourself –

The only way to get a very good sense of what you are eating is to cook for yourself. It doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated, but I’m amazed how hard it is to estimate calories, points, or even nutritional qualities of the food when I eat out.

Instead, you are much better off buying a bag of beans and a bag of rice and cooking at home. Not only will you be able to control the amount of oil, sugar, and other things that go into your food, but the act of cooking food helps you see the whole process and enjoy it much more.

10. Diet’s Aren’t Forever –

It’s important to remember diets aren’t forever. No matter how disciplined you are, you can’t stay on a diet forever, because diets are by their very nature artificial ways of being.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t retain some of the awareness or habits you develop on a diet. You can learn to love new kinds of food. You can learn to let go of old habitual food patterns. And you can learn to be more aware of what you put in your body.

But your goal should be to integrate and adopt small practices while letting go of the structure of a diet. If you don’t you’ll only see a diet and non-diet world. And shuttle between the two forever.

Instead, treat a diet like an experiment or a foreign language class. Always be on the look out for valuable data or useful phrases that you can keep after your diet is long gone.


Be Free, Organized, and Happy – The Best Posts May – July

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Be Free, Organized, and Happy – The Best Posts May – July

The last 3 months have been really big for MindFitMove –
This blog has moved from 1,200 views in April to having over 6,000 views in July
In July I broke through not only the 10,000 view barrier but have now blasted past the 15,000 mark as well.

So here are the best posts of the Last 3 Months:

Plus here are some of the guest posts I wrote in the last 3 Months

I have many people to thank for this including but not limited to Jane Endacott my romantic partner and often editor, my parents, Lori Deschene of TinyBuddha, Peter Clemens of ChangeBlog, Leo Babauta of Zen Habits, and most importantly all of my readers who inspire, support, and keep honoring me with their attention.

Don’t Forget to Subscribe to Mind Fit Move for more great post from August and Beyong

Click here to join hundreds of people who receive regular posts from MindFitMove about changing your life with mindfulness and movement.
(+ get a free Beginners Guide To Mindful Fitness just for signing up.)

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Minimalist Mindful Fitness – 5 Key Practices

#BP Fitness_Model_Britt_2007 mindful fitness, mindfulness based personal training, mindfulness based life coaching, mindfulness meditation, mindfulness based stress reduction ,mindfulness exercises, mindfulness training, mindful,meditation, mindfulness, mindful eating, what is mindfulness, mindfulness techniques, zen meditation, benefits of meditation, what is meditation, mediation, be mindful, free meditation, mindfulness, mindfulness stress, mind body fitness, mind and body fitness, mindfulness practice, practice mindfulness, mindfulness at work body and mind fitnessMinimalist Mindful Fitness – 5 Key Practices

(Avg. Reading time 4.5 Mins)

What the Hell is Mindful Fitness Anyway?
Recently I received this question from one of my readers:
“What activities and/or cues have you found to be most helpful in incorporating mindfulness into your clients’ activities? Walking, breathing, something more meaningful to each person? Do you have an activity that you tend to start with to introduce that concept?”

First off, I want to say this is a great question. Many people struggle with how to start practicing mindfulness and/or fitness with so many fitness options the possibilities can be a bit overwhelming.

So here is my
Minimalist Mindful Fitness Guide –
5 Key Practices to Get Your Started.

1. Intention –
The first practice I start with most of my clients is identifying their list of internal and external goals. We look at how many pounds they want to lose or how many miles the want to run, but we don’t stop there.

We also look at how they want to feel and what they think losing weight or getting in shape will do for them. By looking at their intentions first, they connect with deep motivations and a sense of purpose.

2. Journaling –
The second practice I recommend for all my clients is journaling. Many people trying to make a life change struggle with judgments, self doubt, and internal criticism. The purpose of journaling is to increase awareness without judgment.

I have my clients record a very basic journal of what they eat, what activity they do, and their state of mind. I also ask them to notice any connection between these three. Lastly, I encourage them to write down one thing everyday they are grateful for.

I do this before we start with any exercise or nutrition plan. Because I want them to just notice what’s going on.

Often without any prompting, they will identify ways they are sabotaging themselves or areas where they need to do some investigation.

Because this wisdom comes from within these revelations are much more powerful than anything, they’ve read in a book or heard from a trainer.

3. Habit Formation
Many trainers have a particular exercise regime or nutrition plan they employ with clients. But I believe the best nutrition and exercise plan is the one you will actually do.

The main problem with most diet and exercise plans is they demand too radical change too quickly. The main goal of the MindFitMove method is not to help you lose weight or gain muscle.

Let me repeat that again because I know it sounds crazy. The main goal of MindFitMove method is not to help you lose weight or gain muscle.

The main goal of this mindfulness based fitness approach is to help you create more awareness and then use that awareness to make different choices.

The first two practices help establish a baseline awareness. In habit formation we take that awareness and start making change a reality.

First, I find what that person likes to do and get them to do more of that. I believe that if it doesn’t fit smoothly in your life you won’t do it.

For example, I had one client who liked riding his bike so I got him to ride his bike up a steep hill 3 times a week. I had another client who lived next to a lovely park so I got them to walk and eventually jog in that park.

The hardest part of regular exercise is the regular part. By finding, a physical activity you enjoy or at least don’t despise. You vastly increase your chance for success.

4. Set the Stage
Once we’ve established baseline awareness and started creating new habits then we work with specific mindful fitness techniques.

The fundamental mindful fitness technique is creating an environment for mindfulness.

I encourage my clients to exercise outside, to exercise without the use of music, and to exercise with the intention to focus on their bodies.

These 3 techniques all help create an environment of mindfulness. And though they don’t require a ton of concentration. They do lay the groundwork for intense focus and spacious awareness.

5. Active Mindfulness – 4 Mindful Fitness Techniques
Once we’ve established an environment of mindfulness, then we use advanced mindfulness based fitness techniques to increase awareness and focus during exercise.

I’ve used these 4 mindful fitness techniques in my own practice as well as with my clients.

1. Noticing before and after –
At the end of your work out take a minute close your eyes and focus on how you feel now vs. how you felt before you exercised. This practice helps connect us with the ease that exercise can bring. It also tunes us in to any aches that may indicate any problem areas we need to work on.

2. Cadence –
Cadence is the rate at which your feet hit the ground when running, or the speed that your pedals turnover in cycling. When practicing with cadence we simply notice how it changes as we exercise.

Cadence helps us in two ways:
One. It helps us tune into our bodies natural rhythms
Two. Working to maintain a fast even cadence will decrease injuries and increase speed and efficiency.

3. Pay attention to sound –
The world is filled with sounds we never notice. But when we open our sense, we often find joy in the sound of chirping birds and the even pad of our feet on the trail.

In addition to enjoying our natural environment, sound can also reveal imbalances in our exercise form.

For example, I’ve noticed, as I get tired my footsteps get louder. Louder footsteps means higher impact and lowered efficiency. So, by working to run quietly I increase my speed and decrease the stress on my body.

4. Breath-
Breath practice often gives us cues about how we are approaching exercise and our life in general. No matter what the activity, noticing our breath can help us perform with greater skill and confidence.

In yoga, the breath helps us move the body in an even rhythm. In endurance events like running and cycling, our breath tells us when we are pushing too hard or moving out of sync. And in weight lifting, our breath not only helps us connect to movement, but also works to stabilize and strengthen our bodies.

Simply Amazing
There are 1000’s of books on fitness and eating, but most of them overcomplicate everything with complex theories and complicated techniques. What’s so amazing about these practices is how simple they are.

Using just these 5 practices people can make amazing progress towards establishing a mindfulness based fitness practice.

Mindful fitness isn’t about taking one model and applying it to everyone. It’s about establishing principles and then investigating how those principles apply to your life.

Because of that, no two people will ever approach mindfulness based fitness the same way. But it also means that this practice can adapt and change as you change. It can become an organic part of your own growth and that’s why it’s such an amazing tool for lasting transformation.

Thanks very much to Kelsey for sending in this question. Kelsey has been one of my best and most loyal readers from the beginning of my blog. She is an awesome physical therapist and super cool lady.

If there is a question, you have please feel free to leave it below or email me and I’ll do my best to address it in one of my future posts.

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100th POST! Mindful Eating at Food Carts – A Guest Post On FoodCartsPortland.com

I am excited to announce my 100th Blog Post.
And I am honored that this post was guest post I wrote for the awesome Blog FoodCartsPortland.

FoodCartsPortland.com is an awesome blog that tells the stories of the amazing food cart scene in Portland OR. I highly encourage you to Follow them on Twitter , Share the hell out of this Post, and if you live in or plan to visit Portland Download Their Ap For Itunes Or Andriod

It’s written by Brett Burmeister  aka dieselboi who is an excellent blogger, community leader, and a all around inspiring guy to hang out with.

We went out a few weeks ago to answer the question:
Can you eat mindfully at a food cart?
And here is what we found out:

 Dope Da Nang Pork Sandwich from Graffiti Food Cart on Woodstock and 48th, mindful eating at food carts, food carts portland, foodcartsportland, Blog Food Carts Portland, Graffiti, Food Carts Portland, Mindful eating, eating+, mindful eating on the go,

Dope Da Nang Pork Sandwich from Graffiti Food Cart on Woodstock and 48th

Mindful Eating at Food Carts
June 20, 2013 On FoodCartsPortland.com

[I had the pleasure of enjoying lunch with our guest author and we discussed mindful eating. A guest post from Sam ‘Gentoku’ McCree, Founder of the Mind Fit Move]

When most of us think about mindful eating, we think of a quiet room, with a lit candle, and a bowl of chocolate covered strawberries. Not midday on a street corner with cars rushing by and strangers yammering on their cell phones. But when you’re a food cart connoisseur, that’s exactly the environment you eat in.

I recently had the chance to check out some local carts with Brett of FoodCartsPortland.com and together we tried to answer this question: Can you eat mindfully at a food cart?

The first cart we went to was Graffiti at the corner of 48th and Woodstock. They serve a variety of delicious sandwiches inspired by both street food sensibility and big city savvy. We ordered the Da Nang Pork sandwich, a tasty looking creation with…

Click Here To Read More


Eating with Gratitude: A Mindful Eating Thought Experiment (Audio)

Paleo diets are all the rage so lets do a Paleo thought experiment.

Imagine you were a Paleolithic man or woman. It’s been a hard winter and your food supplies have been dwindled. Your young children are hungry, but spring has come late this year. Nothing is sprouting and the game hasn’t returned as it normally does.

The Search
You have been searching for food, but other than a few meager herbs, nothing can be found. You know that if you return home with nothing it will mean another day without eating.

Your youngest has been growing weaker. She’s been coughing and unable to rise from her mat. You know that if you don’t find more food soon she won’t make it.


p style=”text-align:Left;”>Feel the fear, the frustration, and the confusion at your situation. Feel the deep hunger in your own belly, which hasn’t been properly fed in weeks. You feel an ache not only for yourself but for your family as well.
Eating with Gratitude: A Mindful Eating Thought Experiment (Audio), eating+, gentoku, gratitude, guided meditation, mindfitmove, mindful eating, mindful fitness, What is mindfulness?

Now imagine as you return home you become lost. You have never been in this part of the valley before at first, you are scared, but then you come across a tree.

On the tree are strange objects you haven’t seen before. You take one down and it smells sweet. You are unsure what to do, but you figure you have nothing to lose. So, you take a bite. The taste of sugary sweetness fills your mouth.

The rich grainy texture is a little sour, but you can tell this is food. You rush to gather as much of this new fruit as you can, eating as you go.

With your arms full, you head back the direction you came. And with each step, you know you carry hope for your family. Your heart is filled with deep abiding gratitude.

The Salvation of Food
For centuries, food was a blessing. People sacrificed to harvest gods and performed sacred rituals, but for most of us, access to food is an afterthought. Living in a modernized western world our idea of hunger is mostly abstract.

Even hunger that occurs on a diet is very different from the hunger brought on by starvation. Because of this, we have lost our sense of the struggle to eat that our ancestors fought with.

Wars have been fought over the same salt and sugar we buy at the grocery store everyday. But it’s hard to access that reality, because of the relative bounty that we live in.

So for this post I thought I would share a Mindful Eating exercise that helps reconnect us with our gratitude

Eating With Gratitude
[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/92698148″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

Interested in the Paleo vs Veggie debate read this awesome article by Matt from No Meat Athlete – http://www.nomeatathlete.com/vegans-and-paleos/


Minimalist Health: 5 Unbelievably Easy Ways To Live Healthier

Minimalist Health: 5 Unbelievably Easy Ways To Live Healthier, minimalist health, eat better, mindful fitness, mindfulness, what is mindfulness, live healthierThere is a deluge of advice out there on how to live a healthier lifestyle. You can eat Paleo, do Crossfit, go vegan, and get a TRX.

But for all the theories and programs, a healthy lifestyle isn’t actually that complicated. And some of these programs do more harm than good.

A Crazy Diet
When I was a high school wrestler, I had to cut weight for matches. So, I tried all sorts of crazy dieting theories.

For several months, I was on a liquid diet of protein shakes. Another time, I ate baked potatoes for almost every meal. I also tried eating meals the size of a soft balls.

Each of these wild plans worked but I’d end up feeling like crap. For example, when I came off the liquid diet it felt like someone dropped a bomb on my body. Other diets left me so tired the feeling of my clothes irritated me.

You Did What?
When I tell people these stories they think I was nuts. Yet, you see this kind of stuff all the time in the diet and fitness world. People will do anything to try to conquer their weight.

Too often, this means making yourself miserable just to lose a few pounds. The problem is being miserable isn’t sustainable. The pursuit of health needs to be part of the pursuit of happiness. Otherwise, you’re not on the right track.

Listen to Your Body
When I came back to athletics as an adult I realized that when I lived healthier I felt healthier. I could have ice cream for breakfast but I felt bloated and sleepy. I could eat a salad for every meal, but I’d feel weak and be prone to sickness.

If I paid attention, my body would tell me if I was on the right track. I still worked out hard and sometimes I felt sore. But when I pursued a balanced path, I looked and felt much better.

Being healthy and happy doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact it shouldn’t be. The idea at the core of Mindful Fitness is that healthy, happy living is about simplicity and balance.

So here are 5 Unbelievably Simple Things You Can Do To Improve Your Health

1. Move Bad Food Further Away
The closer you are to food the more likely you are to eat it. So, move food out of your office and into a break room. Don’t bring food into your bedroom unless it’s for a meal. Only take half of what you normally would for dinner and leave the extra in the kitchen.

Best of all don’t buy food you don’t want to eat. If you have to move to get it, you have to think about it. This one step will increase you awareness of everything you eat.

2. Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
Between every meal, eat a piece of fruit. Make half of each dinner plate some type of non-starchy vegetable. I tell all of my clients to eat more veggies. I tell myself the same thing.

Like Snacking? Eat fruit. You will get more vitamins, eat fewer calories, and feel better.

3. Never Go More Than 2 Days without Exercise
This doesn’t mean you have to lift weights or run a mile everyday. It just means you should do some intentional activity every other day. Even if it’s a 5 min walk around the office.

The habit of exercise is the first step to being active. Make it small. Make it doable. Make it happen.

4. Spend 10 Minutes a Day in Intentional Silence
Turn the radio off when doing the dishes. Turn the radio off when you pick your kids up from school. Take a 10 min walk in silence.

Listen to the sounds around you. Focus on your breath. Silence is the most nourishing practice for our minds. This habit is a key to mindful living.

5. Stretch
Whether you are training for an Iron man or mostly sedentary, flexibility is essential. It prevents injury and helps your body be happy. Stretch every other day. Even if it’s just getting out of bed and spending five minutes bending this way and that.

Even better take a yoga class. Look around and you’ll discover many options to choose from. Take something simple and take it easy. Your body and mind will thank you.

The most amazing wisdom is usually the simplest. Being healthy isn’t complicated. Just start small and stick to it. Remember that radical change is gradual change.


Why is it a good rule to not have rules?

A Blog Without Rules

Rules Don’t Rule the Heart

Sure sure I’ve heard it before RULES! RULES! RULES! THEY TOTALLY RULE! Except  sometimes they sort of don’t. Rules are not a panacea ( panacea – n. A solution or remedy for all difficulties or diseases).

They can be helpful in some situations, but very often they can actually impede the very thing that can create change in your life, AWARENESS!!! (oooo ahhh).

I love rules and who doesn’t, they make life so simple. I just listen to this set of parameters my mind determines and everything will be fine. I mean that’s what makes human beings so great, it’s our ability to blindly follow a set of instructions without question.

Ok ok so you have you have probably picked up on my sarcasm at this point, but maybe not. I don’t really think that following rules are what makes us unique animals.

Bee’s and Ants are great because they follow set rules well and in some ways humans ability to follow rules has helped us, but what really make us unique is our ability to adapt and reflect.

Humans are unique in our ability to problem solve, but even more so we are unique in our ability to be aware of our awareness. We can reflect on whether or not we are being present in a situation and what our motivations are.

The key to adapting successfully is awareness, but all to often we rely on rules instead of awareness to guide us.  So let take the same situation and see what happens when we use rules instead of awareness to guide us.

Sally has lost alot of weight in the past, but has put some of it back on. She works out regularly, but feels like she has lost her way out of fitness. She notices she has some cheese in her fridge. She knows that if she has cheese, she will eat it, so she throws it out. She decides no more cheese, but then another voice arises in her, perhaps one of not wasting food or maybe a voice that is comforted by cheese when she feels anxiety.

She reconsiders takes the cheese out of the garbage, but then the rule voice reemerges, “NO CHEESE!” it says. So back in the trash with cheese. She feels better, but is not quite sure what happened. She wishes she could be stronger, that she was just a normal person.

In this example, we can see all the forces at play for Sally, but she doesn’t necessarily notice them. She is aware of only one kind of hunger: “Mind Hunger.”

Mind hunger is hunger based on rules and regulations set up by our mind. All the facts and figures that you have in your head about how you eat, all the ideas you have about nutrition, and all the articles you have ever read about food are what make up mind hunger.

The problem with mind hunger and the rules that it makes up, is that they can either be followed or broken. It’s a very black and white world, but this world only works we are feeling good and strong.

In the example above, there are all these other hungers and voices that Sally may not see. There is heart hunger, her need to be comforted. There is mouth hunger, her love of the taste of  things like cheese. There is also likely some inner critic, Sally’s internal voice that tells her she will fail. There is an inner coach that is telling her how to get in shape. All of these factors are hidden behind a wall of rules and morality.

Now let’s imagine what might happen if Sally was aware of all of her hungers and the voices that created this internal struggle over weight and cheese.

The situation is the same Sally has lost a lot of weight, but put some back on. She works out, but feels like she has let herself down in the fitness department. She notices a block of cheese in her fridge, she knows if she has cheese she will likely eat it, but she wants to get into shape. The urge to throw it out arises.

This time Sally notices the urge to throw it out and gets curious. Why does she want the throw out a perfectly good block of cheese? She notices that some voices are arising in her.

One voice (the inner critic) is telling her she doesn’t have the will power to have cheese and not eat it. Another voice (the inner coach) tells her she better get with the program, which means throwing out the cheese, getting on a stricter work out schedule, etc. etc.

She notices these voices and first acknowledges that some of the things they are saying really hurt. She is feeling sad and scared that she won’t get her weight down to what she wants. Next she wonders if the voices are telling her the truth.

Does she have no will power? No that’s not true, she works out, she writes a blog, she has run long races before; so she must have will power.

She may be more likely to eat cheese if she has it in her house, but overall she doesn’t have a problem with will power. She can observe that she has a need for competency when it come to healthy eating habits, but she doesn’t judge herself for not always making the best choices.

Sally wonders, Is the inner coach voice helpful? Well it does seem to be motivating her to make healthier choices, but it’s technique is ignoring all of the complex needs that are coming up for her. It only see’s a world where there are rules and she better follow them or else. She sees this voice can be helpful, but if she listens to it, without considering her needs, she will likely burn out and not be able to sustain a life-long transformation.

Next she notices that when she is feeling stressed out or anxious about herself and her body she starts to feel empty inside. When she eats the cheese she is comforted by the flavor and how good it tastes. It feeds her heart hunger.

She realizes that though she may throw the cheese out, she won’t feel any better if she doesn’t also find a way to feed that empty part of herself that is comforted by eating yummy cheese.

She also notices she eats cheese as a reward. She needs to do something to celebrate her successes. Again she notes that she can throw the cheese out, but that she needs to find some other way to reward herself for a job good done. She brainstorms other healthier ways to reward herself.

Finally she notices that she loves the crap out of cheese. She can throw the cheese out, but she can’t throw her love of cheese out. Cheese satisfies her mouth hunger so much.

She realizes that she doesn’t want to stop eating cheese, but maybe she can just eat it less often. When she does buy it, maybe she just buys a bit less.

After all this reflection, Sally feels better, she may not understand everything that’s going on with her, but she has a much better idea. Sally acknowledges that these parts of her need to be honored, but that she does want to make healthier choices.

She decides to throw the cheese out to support her desire to be fit, but does so with the awareness that it’s just cheese she is throwing out, not all the things the get fed by eating cheese.

We can see in the second example how much more Sally was able to observe, by looking into all the motivations that lead to her inner conflict over the cheese. In the first example she wants cheese, but she is weak, so she must throw it out.

In the second example she sees she is strong, but that she needs to find some more awareness to meet the needs she has arising. She wants to be in shape, but she wants to honor all the parts of her that need to be fed.

The key to transformation is awareness.  Until we see a bit of the internal show of our mind we are doomed to repeat our karmic patterns again and again. The world of fitness talks A LOT about will power, will power, will power, but that only takes you so far. The truth is will power is just one part of your mind and you have to honor all the parts of your being if you want to become a new person.

It’s like the difference between repainting a house versus rebuilding it’s foundations. Will power can change how you look on the outside, but awareness changes how you think and feel on the inside in a deep and fundamental way.

Take some time this week to notice a unhealthy pattern you want to change. Reflect on the voices, feelings, needs, and motivations that arise in you. Write down what you notice and try to find a way to honor all the parts of yourself while making healthy choices.

You don’t have to notice as much as Sally in our example. Even just a little small bit of awareness can make a big difference in your ability to transform your life.

Thanks for Reading and Be Well