Since February I have lost 25 pounds. People have remarked about it and asked me to say how I did it, which I am taking as an opportunity to reflect on this whole experience. I am especially wondering if it has anything to teach me about any other areas of my spiritual/psychological/somatic life. There will be at least two parts to this reflection. This first part simply tells what I did.
In terms of the weight loss, I had no prescribed “plan.” Certainly nothing from a book. I started with a very simple strategy, based on rudimentary knowledge and a little past experience, which was basically to cut my consumption of carbohydrates and increase the fiber in my diet. For the first two weeks I cut the carbs way down by avoiding pasta, bread, rice, and potatoes, and reducing my sugar to the honey in my morning tea (and whatever was in the fruits and vegetables I ate). I also started eating yogurt with two tablespoons of wheat germ in the morning. My goal was to lose five pounds by my birthday, February 27. I wanted to see if I was on the right track. It worked.
After this I began to set more ambitious goals. I added back a moderate amount of carbs, but some things, like soft drinks, I eliminated for good. I reduced the size of my lunches. The weight continued to drop off, but much slower. I made my goal of losing ten more pounds by Easter, and another five by Pentecost. A final component is that I became a compulsive self-weigher, taking a reading at least once a day (in the morning). This gave me some idea of what I could or couldn’t do that day.
Then I hit a wall. The strategy was not working for the last five to ten pounds. I stayed around the same weight through the summer. Then this past month I focused in on further carb reductions and that did the trick.
Meanwhile, I continued doing yoga, attending a class once-a-week, and doing sun salutations most mornings. I also got into taking morning walks and even running for about half a mile, but this has become sporadic.
So much for the weight thing. I will also say that a bunch of other events happened to me over this seven month period. Like, I had an operation in April to clear out and drill open my sinuses.
More importantly, I regularized my daily Scripture reading and prayer/meditation routine, something I have been trying to do for years. Part of this has been consistent use of the labyrinth at my wife’s church. Along with the physical discipline I was able to add a spiritual component… but I haven’t decided how they relate to each other. Certainly it hasn’t been conscious; I never mentioned in my prayers explicitly anything about eating or not eating. There is a confluence in the walking/labyrinth/prayer piece.
At the same time, I was almost daily using these “releases and affirmations” relating to my enneagram type. Some of these speak generally to issues of the body, which is an important element for my type to integrate. It may be that on some deeper level this was helping me develop the strength to do what I was doing elsewhere in my life.
Anyway, that’s how I did it, fwiw. Now to keep it off, which I think I can do by not falling into old bad habits and continually monitoring where I am.
This whole thing has been a tremendous boost to my sense of personal power and integrity. The place where I ended up seemed impossible seven months ago. And I had frequently depressed myself by taking on huge goals and falling short. I would have been happy to have lost only ten pounds, to tell the truth. I am getting the sense that with the right attitude and methodology I can do… well, not anything, but I can certainly open up some areas of my life that had been mired in inertia and paralysis for decades.