Okay, now that I have your attention I want to share with you not only how I lost 15 pounds, but how I learned to look at life with a new perspective. I have been on a weight loss journey for what seems like an eternity and at times it felt like I was searching for the Holy Grail.
I have tried more diets than I care to mention and have seen many doctors to find out why my body wouldn't respond to those diets. A few told me that I was just getting older and I would have to eat less. One doctor actually told me to only eat 800 calories per day! Now, that is crazy!
It was never an issue of willpower; I had no problem depriving myself on those "diets", so I thought there was something seriously wrong with me. I wanted to be the “after” picture so badly that I not only over trained, I wasn’t fueling my body well enough and this sent my body into “flight or fight mode."
You add on the stress of an aging sick parent and my first daughter going to college and well, that was more than my body was willing to put up with. I wasn’t loving myself enough to stop the madness. I didn't need to deprive myself, I needed to love myself. I was so focused on the goal of weight loss that I was actually stressing my body out.
Our bodies naturally go into fight-or-flight mode when they start to feel stressed. It’s an instinct we developed centuries ago when we were being chased by predators. Our bodies are so brilliant, when we are in extreme danger they will stop or slow down all unnecessary functions.
When our bodies go into fight or flight mode, our heart rate increases and we become hyper focused. Our digestive system slows down to allow us to run faster and our immune system even shuts down. After all it doesn’t matter if we catch a cold right now, we have a bloody tiger chasing us!
In addition to being hypothyroid (a condition where the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones to meet the needs of the body), it turns out that I also had high Cortisol (one of the stress hormones). If our Cortisol level remains high, our body simply will not release the weight no matter how hard we try. And I was trying so hard that my high Cortisol was keeping my body in fight-or-flight mode for extended amounts of time.
While all of this made sense to me intellectually, it just didn't seem right to me at first. After all we have evolved as humans…haven’t we? Well, yes and no.
You see, I thought I could outsmart my body by trying harder to lose weight so I would exercise more. Sometimes I even gained weight…what?!
This is where the real secret comes into play. I knew I needed something to help me slow down and learn to be present, but didn’t know what it was. I felt the Universe nudging me towards meditation for a while and then FINALLY I listened. I immediately signed up to learn Transcendental Meditation.
I committed to meditating 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the afternoon, every single day. If that sounds like a lot of time, it is, but my well-being was worth it and so is yours! The 40 minutes I gave to myself everyday were invaluable. They allowed me to appreciate my body for all the hard work it does and to slowly learn to love myself no matter what the scale said.
I meditated every day for 4 months and lost 15 pounds. My body was finally able to come out of the panic of fight-or-flight mode and shift into rest and digest.
Meditation activates our parasympathetic nervous system (part of the involuntary nervous system that conserves energy by slowing the heart rate and increases intestinal and gland activity) and allows our body to leave fight-or-flight mode and to move into rest and digest mode. Doesn’t that sound glorious?
If you are still with me, then I know you want this change for yourself or a loved one. 40 minutes a day may sound impossible to you, I actually wasn’t able to keep it up after 4 months, but I knew I still needed mediation in my life.
It wasn’t until my friend and meditation teacher, Shannon Demko’s seminar that I learned that any amount of time spent meditating is beneficial. She teaches many kinds of mindful practices and gave me permission to not be perfect with my practice and encouraged me to keep practicing.
Her blog, MindfulMBA, is filled with wisdom and mindfulness for everyone. She writes,
“Mindfulness comes in many forms. It utilizes techniques like meditation, mindful movement (walking, hiking, yoga, etc.) or breathwork, among others, to provide a focal point for a mindfulness practice, which like any workout, is time you set aside to practice a skill. The point is not to get “perfect” at it, but rather just to keep coming back and doing the work to strengthen your “mindfulness muscle” and make it more accessible to you when you need it. Even a few minutes a day can make a difference, and you don’t need anything more than your breath and your awareness to try it.”
If you are have tried every diet in the world, but aren’t finding the success you want, it may be just as simple as sitting on your bottom and closing your eyes. Try it, YOU ARE WORTH IT!! And remember, you are so much more that what that silly scale says!
**If you are interested in setting up a mindfulness session for yourself or your team, contact Shannon Demko www.themindfulmba.com/courses-programs/
To find a TM teacher go to www.tm.org Or if you prefer to learn how to meditate in the comfort of your home, I highly recommend www.zivamind.com I took this course as well. Just so you know, I do not receive any money from recommending these courses to you - this is my honest opinion. Namaste, Sharon