During the last 3 1/2 months of I have learned a few things about myself. A lot of things. For the umpteenth time in my life I am on a weight loss program and at 57 years old I am bound and determined to get this thing settled once and for all.
I have known about the benefits of “being in the moment”…but when it comes to exercise and losing weight being in the moment just doesn’t work for me.
I mean really…When I am staring at a piece of pizza and wrestling my thoughts as to whether or not I should indulge I cannot be in the moment. I need to find a way to get beyond the moment in order to center my mind on the goal. I need to be clear about the reason why I want say NO. If I move beyond the moment and remember the why I can make the choice that will be the best for me.
There are other situations where being in the moment doesn’t work for me.
Last week my daughter- in- law encouraged me to join a gym. Now a mom- in -law just doesn’t pass up an opportunity to hang around her daughter- in -law so of course I said “yes!”. I can totally buy some cute new duds and I used to be an aerobics instructor at that very gym in the day… so yes. yes. yes. I am in.
When she asked me to attend a class with her and my daughter I didn’t ask questions. I was just so happy to hang out with two of my girls on a Saturday morning.
On that first Saturday morning I entered the classroom with an exceptionally positive attitude. But as I surveyed the room it became painfully clear to me that my new fitness friends consisted of one grey haired gentlemen – all kinds of svelte bodies – and me. The instructor directed us to haul out the necessary equipment – steps, rubber bands, two sets of weights, and a yoga matt. Oh my Lord. I was still determined.
After 15 minutes I was ready to be done. I am telling you, I was dyin’. If I allowed myself to be in the moment I would have rolled up my little matt and walked right out the door. But I didn’t. I centered my mind on the why of my motivation. I want to be healthy, lose more pounds, feel good after getting through the class and enjoy the time of suffering with Ashley and Tay.
It seems to me that being in the moment is only beneficial for the good times. Like when you hang out with friends, or go on a date with your boyfriend or husband, or go on vacation as a family. I think being in the moment is about being present and squeezing the fun out of it. That kind of being in the moment is good stuff.
But when I am pushing through a grueling workout I do not wish to be present. I want to be anywhere but in the middle of squats, or crunches, or putting rubber bands on my feet so that my hips scream with pain. Take me away. Instead I need to center my mind beyond the moment and center it on the why of my motivation. It took everything in my to keep my mind centered on the “goal” instead of my hour long “moment” and it nearly killed me.
Some people will tell you that meditation allows them to be in the moment and relax. Meditation experts will encourage you to empty your mind in order to be present in the moment. I am telling you – this stuff doesn’t work for me.
At my place of work they have a class called Mindful Meditation. Each of us was asked to watch a video of the class so that we could better understand what the class was all about.
As I watched the video the very nice lady with the silky voice asked me to close my eyes, empty my mind, breathe, intentionally relax, and be present in the moment…and I just about jumped out of my skin. When I tried to empty my mind it very quickly filled up with jobs in my job jar, the grocery list, my worries, responsibilities, and concerns. It was not working for me.
I am simply incapable of emptying my mind. If I try to empty it out and breathe it seems that the floodgates of my mind open and every possible thought that I have pushed aside flows in and then my hair stands up. Emptying my mind proves to be completely stressful rather then helpful.
As I have tried to become more healthy inwardly and outwardly I have discovered that only thing that works for me is to empty my mind – in order to center my mind on Christ. When I allow Him to fill my thoughts, when I pray for His guidance, when I open the Bible and study His word – everything makes sense. When I focus on the truth I have no more reason to fear. When I breathe in His goodness, the stress fades from my shoulders. When I center my mind on Christ I am clear about my goals and I am confident that I will have success. Not me. Not my thoughts. Surely not being in the moment. Been there. Done That. It doesn’t work.
When I center my thoughts on Christ I am sure that I will have success because He alone will give me strength. When I center my mind on Christ I feel relaxed and free. I have hope. When I center my mind on Christ the worries and stresses of my life fade into the background as He fills my heart, mind, and soul. It’s a very good thing.
Some of you love yoga. As you may guess, I tried a yoga class and it drove me crazy. Empty your mind, look within..blah, blah, blah…it just didn’t work for me. But there is a new kind of yoga called Holy Yoga . My young friend Brooke leads the class so I thought that I would give it a try. I was leery at first. I was totally prepared to wind up feeling anxious and stressed because of my inability to center my mind on nothing.
My friend Terri joined me that evening and it was clearly evident that we were not only older – but that we were the rookies in the group. There was one exercise where I was lying on my back and holding my feet with my knees bent in and I kept rolling to the sides like I was a giant bowling ball. Terri and I were howling with laughter and trying oh-so-hard not to bother the others who seemed lost in the moment.
But Brooke is a pro and she led us with a quiet confidence. She encouraged us to empty our minds…uh oh. But then she encouraged us to fill our mind with Christ. She spoke wise words about walking with Jesus, we listened to amazing Christian music, and I can’t remember a time in my life that I laid in the outside in the grass for 5-7 whole minutes and prayed. It benefited me both physically and spiritually. If you live in the Minneapolis area she is teaching a class on Wednesday night, August 19th and there will be a live band. (Check out the link) You should join us!
This mind centering thing has been the ticket for me. I have lost 33 pounds by centering my mind on the goal – I am clear about the why of my motivation. I have determined to center my mind on Christ so that I don’t get sidetracked by the cares and concerns of life. Instead of filling my face with food – I have filled my mind with Christ.
I still don’t trust myself. There is an extremely chubby girl always lurking around my mind wanting to be me again. As long as my mind is filled with Jesus there will be no room for her to take over again.
My goal is to get alll the way down to my wedding weight. I hope to have a blog titled “57 at 57”. That means I have 24 pounds to go…I better go do a plank.
Jackie, great post as always! I think you covered all aspects of the struggle. As one who has yo-yo’d about 30lb over the years, I took a keen interest! As I was reading I thought of a recent video (URL below) from Peter Oberc, a friend of mine, who had a heart attack last year. He discusses the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of his recovery. While his story is about returning to jiu jitsu competition, I think his message is applicable to just about anything, especially fitness and weight loss goals. Breaking it down to “Just Walk Through the Door”; i.e. trusting the trainers and instructors and disregarding others who are there, what they think, how you feel, how you look etc. resonates with me. Peter was nice enough to include me in a short clip about 3 minutes in. I had a match with him – longest 5 minutes of my life! I can vouch for his recovery and I clearly need to walk through the door myself!
Wait! Are you the guy in the white? That looks miserable!! How awesome to see two grey haired guys wrestling around like young kids! …thanks again for stopping by!