“The opposite of obesity isn’t starvation – it’s compassion.” –Dr. Martha Beck
Here I was in early spring, wanting to let go of a fifteen-pound postsurgical weight gain and dreading what that meant in terms of interrupting my routine and restricting my eating patterns. Then I read the brilliant quote above from Martha Beck, O Magazine’s contributing life coach, and in a split-second I realized that I had it all wrong. The prospect of a weight loss journey wasn’t something to be dreaded at all. Because unlike stereotypical programs which invoke lack, hunger and sacrifice, my weight loss journey was going to be an exercise in total self-nourishment. I was going to love my fat away.
You can read my observations on the weight-loss aspect of the journey in my recent blog posts below. While the program I chose to follow resulted in a satisfying twenty-pound right-sizing in record time, the best part of the experience was what occurred alongside the weight loss. A number of years ago I realized that in order for me to have the resources to support other people, I had to nourish my own inner resources. My cup needed to be so full that it overflowed with blessings for others. In our hectic lives, finding space for healthful eating, exercise, adequate sleep, recharge time and all the other things that result in radiant health is no easy thing. How many of us have let go of excess weight on a short sprint toward a weight goal, only to have it reappear within weeks as we return to the hurly-burly of our routines?
The secret, then, was to follow Dr. Beck’s lead and shift the goal from weight-loss to compassion, in the form of total self-care. Rather than resist the task as an interruption to routine, I scheduled time to shop and cook as needed for my chosen nutritional plan and reveled in the colors of spring vegetables in the market and the taste of each delectable bite on my plate. Rather than resist bedtime as an interruption to accomplishing my to-do list, I made sure to be in bed at a time that allowed me to sleep my optimal number of hours, and even managed a number of baths as a relaxing wind-down. Rather than resist exercise as something to be squeezed in among more urgent tasks, exercise became a respite from the routine and a creative endeavor in its own right. Each time I dedicated time to an aspect of self-care, I reinforced to myself the message that I am important and worthy of attention. No wonder then that as the weeks passed, my energy climbed steadily and my outlook improved even as the pounds steadily fell away.