Saturday, August 23, 2008
Getting the Monkey Off My Back
In Buddhism, there is a concept called "monkey mind" which describes the mindset of a person who is not fully conscious in the present moment. Like a monkey swinging from tree to tree, the monkey mind jumps from thought to thought, rarely resting for more than a brief moment. Monkey mind prevents us from “being here now” and distracts us from the present.
Well this week - another monkey analogy applies. The monkey on my back THIS week is my eating and excerise which has kind of gone into monkey mind mode. The weight monkey, that is. In fact, you could say it felt more like a 400 pound gorilla on my back. For 4 weeks I did great on my low-carb diet, was totally faithful to it and lost 8 lbs total. But I kind of "stalled out" or hit a plateau and became pretty discouraged and tired of eating the same limited foods day after day.
Last week and this week, during my "cheese eats the mouse" weeks at work, I've been stressed out and have eaten everything not nailed down - carb or no carb, I was binging like crazy. Plus, I was getting used to a whole new schedule that was playing havoc on my eating habits.
Because my theme for 2008 has been "Awareness" and I've been trying to be especially aware of self-destructive behavior, I decided that I needed to put the brakes on this out-of-control eating behavior before I gained back all my weight and THEN some. Because we all know how much quicker it comes back then it leaves. Right?
So I woke up at 6:00 this stormy Saturday morning and forced myself to attend the earliest Weight Watchers which starts at 6:30AM, yes that's right 6:30, it's NOT a typo! It is led by my always-inspiring leader, Christina. I discovered that I have still kept off 6 of those 8 lbs I lost during the low-carb efforts in July and August, so now I'm moving forward with the CORE plan, which is still low carb, but also low fat, and I know it's going to be more doable for me, because frankly, I was getting sick of eating the same things day in and day out. The variety of food choices that the CORE plan offers will hopefully still help me lose weight, but give me more options for the long haul.
That 6:30 group is really amazing! I've been there before, but they really are magic. Something about having the dedication to get out of bed at the crack of dawn on your day off must really bring out the funny, motivated, inspiring, and dedicated group of health fanatics! I don't know those people well, but can tell already that they are way different than the other WW meetings I've been to.
One thing they have there is something they call the "Monkey Files" which is a notebook they've put together of recipes, tips, etc. to help their members stay on track. They take turns bringing the notebook home, reading it and using it when they feel in need of weight loss support. When you feel like there is a monkey on your back, for whatever reason, then you take home the monkey files and then ADD one thing to it to help others. Along with the notebook, you get to bring home a cute little stuffed money to take with you anywhere you might need support that week. Well, I didn't take the file home yet, but I decided to adopt the Monkey concept, and bought myself my very own stuffed monkey.
Introducing my new monkey, and mental anchor for healthy living. His name is "Tidbit" - he's small, he's cute, he's a symbol of what I need to be aware of. And this monkey dispels all those OTHER monkeys who have been chasing around my frazzled mind:
Did you know that the term "monkey on my back" was originally a reference to one's drug habit? Though I don't have a drug addiction, I have a food addiction that clearly I and ONLY I can throw off each and every day that I choose to claim the power and control of my own life.
This little furry monkey, in psychological terms, will be my anchor. To help me remember just who is control of ME, I'm taking this monkey, Tidbit, along with me this week in my big purse and using his presence to keep ME present and on track with the choices I need to make for a healthy life.