homage to my hips

by Jennifer on April 25, 2012

Lucille Clifton Reads ‘homage to my hips from BillMoyers.com on Vimeo.

Celebrating the wonderfulness of hips, both yours and mine!

Thursday, April 26th, is Poem In Your Pocket Day.  What poem (and thoughts) are you carrying today?


The Weighting Room

by Jennifer on March 23, 2012

Are you in the weighting room of weight loss? For a long time, I would fantasize about the post-thin me. My hair would swing back and forth, the sun catching the highlights of my hair at just the right angle, a big smile on my face, while I lived my perfect life. And the fat, pre-weight loss, me? She would have evaporated, along with the feelings of unworthiness.

Although you may believe losing weight is the answer to your problems and fat holds you back from the life you were meant to live, it is a lie. You already hold the ticket to your best life, no waiting required.

Here are three steps to start living your best life, regardless of what you weigh:

Hearing the Whispers

I lived in the hope of the thin me because it kept me from dealing with my reality. If I kept my mind busy with the fantasy, I would not have to deal with my reality. At the time, I didn’t realize it was my creation. I just knew if people listened to me instead of laughing at me, everything would be better, although I didn’t deal much in direct communication. I expressed my dissatisfaction by stewing, flinging my passive-aggressive misery to whomever impacted my life at the moment. I swayed in the path of other people’s currents; no wonder exhaustion was my middle name. I did not know what the hell was going on; I just wanted it to stop. My unmanageable life continued its downward spiral while the scale moved in one direction – up!

My weight-loss coached introduced me to the concept of the Compassionate Observer otherwise known as the Watcher. I didn’t understand. There was actually a part of me that could watch my thoughts and note my feelings from a place of non-judgment? I could not separate the critical part of me from the wounded part. However, one day, I decided to say nice affirmations to see if I could ascertain the messages I was telling myself. I whispered to myself, “My body knows what it is doing,” and my brain whispered, “No, it doesn’t.” I heard it, real-time! There was a part of my mind that wasn’t telling me the truth nor looking out for my best interests.
Although now it seems like second nature to me to notice my thoughts, especially the ones that don’t serve me, at the time this experience started the process of releasing me from my mind’s prison. It was the beginning of a conversation that continues to this day.

Start a conversation with yourself. The response may come fast so I recommend doing it in a quiet space where you can “hear” the thoughts. Write the thoughts down without judgment. You will use them with the next step.

What Is Your Reality?

Circumstances are not creating your reality; it is your thoughts. While circumstances are facts, it is your thoughts about the circumstances that really determine your level of satisfaction. Thoughts then create your feelings. For me this was revolutionary. I knew I would be happier if people just acted the way I wanted them too.

I decided to test this idea out, using insignificant happenings such as my husband dominating the remote control. After fuming for a moment, I would start to think about how I wanted to feel (e.g., peaceful). Once I determined how I wanted to feel, I brainstormed until I came up with the thought that produced the feeling in my body (e.g., I would rather read than watch tv). It worked. Now I wasn’t a believer after one attempt. My family and co-workers provided me many opportunities to practice this concept.

My client, Pam, believed that once she was organized and lost her final 15 pounds, she would then be able to move forward with her life. Although her children’s food kept calling her name, much to her distress, she truly believed that if she could stick to clean eating, then the world would be her oyster. She waited for the satisfaction that never came. She was centered on the circumstance but it was her thoughts keeping her in misery. Now what if she obtained perfect organization and weight loss? She would have said her ideal life was achieved.

Science tells a different story. Positive psychologists estimate that only 10% of our happiness comes from our circumstances. Why is it such a low number? Two words – hedonic adaptation. This is a human characteristic that enables us to quickly assimilate changes in our lives as the new norm. While this brings resilience in the face of adversity, such as illness, death, job loss, etc., it also quickly subdues the positive feelings that first occurred when our external circumstances change, such as weight loss and an organized house.

With the thoughts from the first step, discover the feeling. If the feeling does not serve you, try a different thought that causes a less tension in your body.

Give Joy to Yourself

My first step in my journey beyond the weighting room was the realization that I could have joy in my life regardless of my weight. Because of my lack of connection to myself, I created many less than ideal scenarios, including an argumentative relationship with my husband, less than stellar connections at work, and financial debt. However, my focus continued to be my lack of weight-loss. The more I tried to change that scenario (circumstance), the more weight I gained.

When Brooke Castillo, author of If I’m So Smart, Why Can’t I Lose Weight, stated that if most of my joy came from food, it would be unlikely that I would want to reduce my food intake, it felt truer than most of my thoughts. As I examined my life, I discovered very little joy. What joy I acknowledged was based on external sources outside of me that were beyond my control. I started a list and I want you to start a list too. Initially, my list had what I thought of as superficial treats, such as pedicures and the movies. Over time, as I continued the practice and integrated the above tools, many more were added, such as going to the beach to watch the surf and just sitting in my backyard, watching the trees swaying.

You may think you need to wait until you have lost the weight or gotten the food issue under control. I can’t promise you that you will lose fifty pounds of fat using the steps above, but I can guarantee that you will live a fuller, more satisfying life than staying in the weighting room.


Weight Stigma Awareness Week

September 26, 2011

PRESS RELEASE September 22, 2011 For Immediate Release Contact: Chevese Turner Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA) 855.855.2332 BEDA Launches First Annual National Weight Stigma Awareness Week Severna Park, MD (September 21, 2011) – The Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA) announced today that it will launch its first annual National Weight Stigma Awareness Week, September 26-30, […]

Read the full article →


September 20, 2011

I love synchronicity. Whether it is in a movie, a book, or a tale from a love one, it never fails to fill my heart with joy and appreciation. Now I will share a synchronicity that involved me.  I have no eloquent words about what I was feeling in the spring 2009 when I wrote […]

Read the full article →

Shame Memories

June 21, 2011

Bennie: “Shame memories…raking over…and leaving gashes.” Sasha: “Not bad. They’re titles, right?” A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan Elvis Presley was my uncle. For a good length of time in 1974, Elvis Presley was the best part of my family.  My depiction of my relationship to him knew no bounds.  My kindergarten […]

Read the full article →


March 18, 2011

What are you dwelling on? Merriam Dictionary defines dwell as “to keep the attention directed.” Where is your attention? Is it on the scale or your life? Moreover, is it on the pounds lost or the joys gained? Is it on consuming everything or just enough? Are you dwelling in wellness or perfection? I dwell […]

Read the full article →

Right Now

February 16, 2011

“What you need to know about the past is that no matter what has happened, it has all worked together to bring you to this very moment.  And this is the moment you can choose to make everything new.  Right now. “ – Author Unknown I have been blessed with many things, of which one […]

Read the full article →

Under Pressure

February 4, 2011

And love dares you to change our way of caring about ourselves.-Queen December:  Newsletter production, being so close to releasing 50 pounds but not reaching it, Nicolas taking longer than usual to pass his 14s (he’s in first grade), planning a Rose Parade party for 300+, everyone wanting a piece of me, what program was […]

Read the full article →

Six-Word Memoir: The Present

December 6, 2010

Thriver practice leads to wellness personified.

Read the full article →

Six-Word Memoir: The Past

December 6, 2010

Survival practice led to victim mentality.

Read the full article →