"I have been struggling with my weight all my life. I know I have to lose weight. I do not like the way look. I do not like the way I feel. I have gone on diets, tried diligently to exercise, lost the weight, and had it all come back in no time. I've lost count of how many times I have gone through this yo-yo cycle of loss and gain. I am totally frustrated, ashamed of myself, anxious and overwhelmed about my weight. I am tired of carrying this extra weight around. I do not feel good. Every day is a struggle for me. Every night is a nightmare. I have diabetes now, and I am really worried. I fear that I will not be around to see my children grow up. I am here because I do not want to give up. There must be a way out of this suffering." --Participant in a mindfulness retreat
We've all heard these sentiments before. Whether they are scattered thoughts that run through our own mind on a daily basis, or words of frustration shared by a close family member or friend, these feelings, worries, and grievances are widespread in our culture.
With New Year's health and weight loss resolutions abound, these are the frustrations upon which countless diet plans, programs, and pills will capitalize. However, escaping this "yo-yo cycle" of weight loss and weight gain will not be achieved through the latest and greatest product.
In 2015, let's shift our attention away from the diet craze and prevent weight gain, attain and maintain a healthy weight, and lead a more satisfying life through mindful eating and mindful living.
The Buddha taught the Four Noble Truths to his disciples in helping them transform any type of suffering. Based on these teachings, SAVOR introduces the Four Noble Truths of Healthy Weight, which serve as a powerful starting point for ending your struggle with weight:
Being Overweight or Obese Is Suffering. Physically, every part of the body feels the burden of extra weight. Our knees may ache, our heart works harder, breathing isn't as easy. Emotionally, we are burdened by stigma, shame, insecurity, regret, and a myriad of other difficult feelings. These problems can be easier to suppress than to deal with, but they won't go away. The first step toward healing and transformation is to recognize the existence of your suffering and not run away from it.
You Can Identify the Roots of Your Weight Problem. You must understand why you are overweight before you can change your weight. Science has found that many factors can influence weight---including ancestry, lifestyle choices, and our surroundings. Look deeply into these numerous factors to seek out the true nature of your problem with weight.
Reaching a Healthy Weight is Possible. You can put an end to your weight problem. It is very important to believe in yourself. Focus on whether or not you aspire to be a different person, to feel better about yourself, to be able to function better, to be happier. Recognize that losing weight is possible and that you can do it. It will not be as easy as popping a fat-melting pill, but it will be a journey--sometimes hard--that will be well worth taking.
You Can Follow a Mindful Path to a Healthy Weight. Learning what to do to lose weight is not difficult. Putting that knowledge effectively into practice is the real challenge. Mindfulness is the tool that will help you begin to make healthier behavior changes and keep them up over time. Consider it your ally to help you get out of your ingrained habits, changing counterproductive actions, and overcome the obstacles and difficulties that led you to be overweight.
SAVOR offers so many resources that have already helped many escape the cycle of shame and guilt. These truths are just a glimpse into the tools that can help you begin the journey of mindful self-exploration to achieve a healthier weight for good. This year, ignore the in-your-face diet advertisements. Eat and live mindfully instead!