Google ‘How to find inner peace’ and you’ll get 20,900,000 search results. Frankly I’m surprised there aren’t more. After all, the answer is different for each and every one of us. One thing I’m pretty sure of, though, is that you won’t find it on the bathroom scale.
I should be chilling out at my cousin’s country home right now, but my husband came down with a stinking cold last night, so we’re staying put. My usual Saturday morning routine includes a visit to the church hall up the street where I attend regular Weightwatchers meetings. While I do intend to eventually write a post about why I go to Weightwatchers (besides the obvious “I want to manage my weight” factor) this post is born from me questioning why I didn’t feel like attending today’s meeting, despite it being completely doable due to our last-minute change in plans.
While sipping my morning coffee, I thought long and hard, as I am prone to do about pretty much everything. Whatever actions I’m taking, instead of thinking I know why I’m doing what I’m doing, I tend to strip back the layers as if my mind were an onion, digging deeper and deeper in search of an aha! moment. It’s not something I consciously try to do to promote a greater sense of wellbeing. I’m just an over-thinker by nature, so, naturally, I over-thought this through.
It took some thinking, but I eventually thought aha!
My knee-jerk reason for not wanting to go to today’s meeting was pretty simple. I’ve gained weight, again. One bad week is ok. I can live with that. In fact, I can live with two bad weeks. But moving the needle in the wrong direction for three consecutive weeks? Not cool. Now, I could have chosen to run with that reason, make a second cup of coffee and remain in my pyjamas, but no. That’s not my style. So I discarded that layer and took a look at what lay beneath.
The weight gain itself really isn’t a biggie. Since joining, I’ve taken way more steps forward than I’ve taken back. In other words, I haven’t reached the point of no return. I’m still in the game, so if it wasn’t about the pounds, what was it about? Answer: I was feeling disappointed in myself. I’d left last week’s meeting determined to turn things around and failed. So there you have it. I didn’t want to attend because I didn’t want to face my failure head on, right? Not so fast. Off with another layer.
I considered my eating habits from last week and compared them to the week before. The week before I’d eaten out multiple times, done less exercise than I usually do, and barely reached for fruit. Last week, however, I’d eaten out just once, resumed my regular yoga, and tucked into lots of fresh, vitamin-packed produce. That was progress. Not as much as I would have liked, perhaps, but definitely a step in the right direction. In other words, I really hadn’t failed, so why the resistance? Off came another layer.
At these meetings, there are those who listen, those who contribute a little, and those who talk a lot. I fall into the third group. (Shocking, right?!) As I pictured myself sitting in my usual spot at this morning’s meeting, my lips weren’t moving. I was sitting there quietly, just listening, waiting for someone to say something to help eliminate my sense of unease, and that’s when it hit me.
I’d allowed my need to weigh less to outweigh my need for inner peace.
Too much of my recent focus had been on what I wasn’t doing right in my weight loss journey, versus what I haven’t been doing at all, which is nurturing myself. The fact is, I’ve been so swamped with work and some unusually demanding family matters of late that I’ve been flying by the seat of my pants and tending to the needs of others without giving much attention to my own. It happens. That’s life. Sometimes the needs of our children, our parents and even our clients warrant being put before our own, but it’s only sustainable for so long. And when you get a sign that it’s time to take care of yourself, as I did today, it’s important to pay attention.
And so I now find myself feeling less uneasy and more empowered, because I know what I need to do. I need to:
Eat well. And by that, I don’t mean stick to the Weightwatchers plan. Sure, if I can do that, I’ll be killing two birds with one stone — shedding some stubborn pounds while fuelling my body — but the latter is far more important than the former. Healthy body, healthy mind.
Do more yoga. Nothing quiets my mind quite like it. I am lucky to have a wonderful yoga studio in my neighbourhood, and I truly adore my teachers. I have yet to attend a class that doesn’t leave me with a sense of inner peace and shift my perspective in some positive way.
Read more. It’s what stills my mind before I go to sleep. Especially when I’ve been working into the evening, a 20-minute read sets me up for a good night’s rest. Rather than nodding off with a work challenge or deadline spinning around my head, I nod off wondering what awaits the character in my novel, or contemplating how I might apply a fresh and eye-opening self-help insight to my life.
Write more. This blog does so much for me beyond the pages of this website. While having a platform on which to share my deepest thoughts has been incredibly gratifying, it has also redefined the way I think of myself as a writer. I feel more enthusiasm for my craft than ever before, and I get to bring that enthusiasm to my work as well as my blog.
Hug more. A truly heartfelt hug has the power to make everything else stand still for a while. And so I’m making a pledge that next week I will hug more often. When my husband and daughter enter the house, I won’t just smile and say hello. I will stop what I’m doing, stand up and hug them. And when my dog gives me those puppy eyes, which she does in and among the many naps she takes, I will stop what I’m doing and hug her, too.
By the way, I eventually made it to my Weightwatchers meeting. As anticipated, I was up a wee bit on the scale, but you know what? I’m perfectly fine with that. Contrary to what I thought when I woke up this morning, weight loss isn’t my destination but rather a stop I hope to make on my journey to a far more meaningful place: inner peace.