The majority of your weight loss resides in your eating. But how you feel during that weight loss resides in your movement. Yet how well you honour either, resides in the consciousness you bring to them.
Today’s Wisdom Bite about mindfulness and consciousness views these as distinct skills you can develop that will make all the difference to your weight loss efforts. Mindfulness brings non-judgemental awareness to the moments of your life, while consciousness brings wise practice to the choices of your life. Both skills are also essential for enhancing your quality of life.
When you’re reaching for excess food or dismissing movement, there’s a need presenting…
See below for an insider’s look at what Wisdom Bites members have further access to
Here’s what you need to know
When you’re reaching for excess food or dismissing movement, there’s a need presenting. This need might be basic and physiological (e.g. thirst, sleep), or more complex and growth-oriented (e.g. challenge, expression). Your capacity to: recognize the moment that a need is presenting; identify the need; and then satisfy the need appropriately – without turning to food or vegging on the couch – depends on how well-developed your skills of mindfulness and consciousness are.
- Mindfulness meditation has gone mainstream. The people who practice it seem to be calm, peaceful and endlessly Instagramable. No doubt you’ve heard that if you just eat mindfully, you won’t have any food or weight issues. Personally, I’m not interested in taking an hour to eat a raisin, chewing my food ad nauseum or parking my fork after each mouthful. Nor am I a fan of baseless, positive affirmations. You can only breathe deeply and meditate on a donut for so long before “Just say Om” becomes “Om my, time to eat this donut.”What does work is using the present moment experience of mindfulness to tune in to your body’s internal state (e.g. muscle tension, heartbeat) and how it’s currently functioning (e.g. energy level, digestion) based on your recent choices (e.g. a single donut, the whole box). When we overeat we’d much rather tune out but non-judgemental awareness allows us the objectivity to connect the dots.It took me years to realize my digestion issues were self-inflicted because I was too busy rejecting my body – while reaching for another donut – instead of learning how to inhabit my body. Mindfulness is particularly helpful in dropping down from your head into your body and addressing your physiological needs; throw in a splash of kindness when you can manage it and this will be even easier.
- Losing weight unconsciously means you’re at risk of gaining it back unconsciously. While mindfulness helps you connect with your body, it’s not enough on its own. Even if you lose weight this way, it lacks the wisdom needed to keep the weight off. Consciousness helps you to step out of your autopilot patterns and start developing natural relationships with food, movement and your body.The ‘wise’ in wise practice means quickly applying and testing the insights of your past choices in your next choices. The ‘practice’ part is a reminder that every choice is just an experiment as you gain clarity about what does and doesn’t work for you. Note: what doesn’t work typically shows up sooner than what does work; that’s not a mistake or failure, it’s just an experiment that didn’t work. Let the learning land and keep moving forward.
Wise practice also requires a bit of courage. Courage is the tipping point towards more empowering levels of consciousness. Many people assume courage means bracing yourself for difficulty. I see courage as simply a willingness to try something different – without knowing or being attached to the outcome – in the pursuit of new skills. Hmm, sounds a lot like an experiment to me. Consciousness and its developmental learning, excels at addressing your growth-oriented needs; add a dash of curiosity and this will be endlessly fascinating – way more than those folks on Instagram.
Here’s what you can practice
All of your current behaviours, like them or not, are trying to address your needs. Reacting harshly to the behaviours you don’t approve of will only limit your level of consciousness. Judgement and learning cannot co-exist. Gaining insights but being slow to apply them will also limit your level of consciousness. Applying your insights is what leads you to wisdom and that wisdom is what ultimately creates the behavioural shifts and changes you want.
For mindfulness: we can get hung up on all the ways that our body has failed us, or that our poor choices have failed our body. Instead, try making an audit of all the ways you are tuned in to your body. Recall the last 60 minutes. How many times did you make an adjustment to accommodate your body’s needs (e.g. lighting, temperature, posture)? Your body is giving you constant feedback. The question is, do you also listen when it tells you something you don’t want to hear? Until I developed mindfulness, I never met a donut I didn’t like. Now I can sense better quality information from my body and it’s the rare donut that makes the cut. Are you less or more tuned in to your body than you realize?
For consciousness: picture yourself parachuting back into your teenage years with your wisdom of today. What would be different? Um, everything! Perhaps you would make your own fun by being more active and engaged (vs. self-conscious and withdrawn). Maybe you would speak your mind more, stand up for yourself or take risks because you know you have your own back (you’d definitely put what’s-his-name in his place). But mostly, you’d be more fearless because you have the wisdom of all those years hence to know that you’re going to be okay. The difference is all the courage you’ve shown since then and the higher level of consciousness you’re now operating from. Have you ever paused to give yourself credit for how far you’ve really come?
Remember to get your free wallpaper of this Wisdom Bite to help you keep it top of mind.
How did it go for you?
You may be wondering what to expect as you develop your mindfulness and consciousness. Imagine a version of yourself where you’re able to keep all the things you like about yourself and let go of all the things that have held you back. That version of you is irresistible & irrepressible! Perhaps one of my clients said it best when she humbly shared “I continue to feel like a different person, but not someone I’m not.”
Pick a recent mindful moment or conscious choice that made you go Hmm, Aha or even Wow and share it in the Members-Only Comments section below.
How did applying this insight lead to a shift in your behaviour?
Be sure to check back in too, to let us know how it’s going!
Conscious Weight Loss®