I woke last night abruptly, sometime in the wee hours. My brain was working overtime on something that was on my mind; my weight. I find managing my weight difficult. It’s a common enough challenge, and I won’t bore you with bitching and fussing, we’ve all got our own Tale of Awful with regard to beauty challenges of one sort or another, and other writers write well and powerfully about how our self-image is affected by culture, advertising, internet trolls, our upbringing… all that. I won’t bother to re-hash it.

I had gone to bed irked because I gained some weight that I’d fought hard to lose. Again. I woke up because my busy brain continued to contrast, compare, filter, collate, and sort information from a number of areas of life where I have (or have not) progressed and how I understand things to have worked in that instance. I woke because my brain got finished with that project and urgently needed to get my attention back on it asap. lol Peculiarly (encouragingly) I woke feeling hopeful and aware – aware of how I affect my progress (or lack of it) – and how I can get control of it (and myself) and make more powerful gains toward my goals. Nice.

Yeah. There are gonna be verbs involved. 🙂 I can even sum it up pretty briefly; I need to eat mindfully. No kidding. It could be literally that simple – and will likely be every bit that difficult. I know the quantity of calories I must limit myself to, daily, in order to lose weight. I have a decent understanding of my nutritional needs, and what the content of those calories must be. I want very much to be both healthier and more attractive, and I like it when my feet don’t hurt just from hiking a couple miles. I have the means to ensure my pantry has the type/quantity of basic ingredients needed to meet my needs day-to-day. I miss my goals when I fail to approach food and meals mindfully. It’s so easy to take my eye off good portion control simply by being casual about it, eye-balling something I’m ‘sure of’ now and then… which quickly becomes ‘so much easier  than’ measuring things all the time… which ends up with portions easily three times what I need to be healthy. The small mistakes add up in pounds. Damn it.

I dislike constant oversight, and living alone I don’t have any… but oversight is something that has value, if I am not willing or able to manage my life with that level of detail… so… can I do this, or do I need help? My brain says I can do this – and what woke me is how similar what needs to be done is to all the other tasks and processes I’ve worked to improve on over the last couple years. Mindfulness matters. It’s not even fancy or complicated – be here. Now. Show up. Be attentive. Be present. Enjoy the thing I am doing, in this moment I am doing it, awake and aware. Mindful. It’s the opposite of ‘mindless’ – it’s the opposite of ‘auto pilot’, and the opposite of ‘eye-balling something I’m sure of’. Mindfulness requires that I step through each routine, and handle each task, so entirely committed to it that those ‘I didn’t realize I…’ moments are minimized.  Before I go to far down this exciting garden path of feeling encouraged… It’s clearly not ‘easy’, or no one at all would need to have it pointed out, or would need to learn mindfulness, or practice it – we’d just do it!

I woke up realizing that a lot of what I struggle with in life would perhaps less difficult, less trying, less awkward, less painful, less embarrassing, less regrettable, less aggravating altogether if I were more mindful. It seems a given simply because at each opportunity to be more mindful on which I have been indeed more mindful, there has been a lot less struggle. Case in point; shortly after the new year, my new physician was fairly blunt that I need to take off some weight to overcome some of my pain management challenges. That’s pretty motivational… if that’s all it takes… right? Well, and for about 8 weeks I reliably lost 2-4 pounds a week, seemingly without real effort, by being very mindful about all matters related to food. Then… I got distracted, took my attention off the details, and gained some of that weight back. Again. Damn it. Fuck this gets frustrating. I went to bed last night being pretty hard on myself about it. I woke remembering very specifically that the emotions that surface through ‘being hard on myself’ about my weight quickly undermine my progress; depression wants calories, fancy soothing dessert-y calories. So does loneliness. So does yearning. Shit.

Practicing mindfulness with regard to food and eating allows me, as an emotional human primate, to feel what I am feeling, and continue to practice good practices. There are, as it happens, verbs involved. Yep – and my results vary. It’s why I’m still practicing – and probably always will be. It’s why I have to begin again. Again. 🙂

This? This is not a tale of failure – it’s just a few words over coffee about a common source of frustration in a very human experience, and what I will do about it, myself. It’s the doing that’s the real challenge, and it can be done. I’ve done it before. I’m eager to begin again, and I’m feeling fairly fearless about approaching the matter. I take a moment to appreciate that I know what needs to be done, and what works for me – that’s an excellent starting point on any journey.

An obstacle - or something to see along the way?

An obstacle – or something to see along the way?

The sun is up… Time to begin again. 🙂