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AFTER June '09, celebrating solstice lightly -60 lbs!

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I did it! I accomplished what I set out to do, and even more! I am thrilled about that. Sometimes I'm surprised when I see what I look like! I feel like a shape shifter. I can't believe that it was so easy. It just seems that I needed to shift my thinking, my attitude and my lifestyle just a little to make this amazing change. When my desire for health became greater than my desire for momentary, unhealthy pleasures I was relieved of any feeling of deprivation. In fact, going towards health has been so much more satisfying, enjoyable and rewarding! I wonder now, why couldn't I do this before? What have I peeled away besides pounds of blubber? That is something yet to discover and as I work at the balance of maintaining, I'm sure that I will discover more about myself. This is not only a weight loss journey, but a transformation of mind and body! I am so grateful to Spark for this wonderful program, for the friends I have made here, for supportive family and my fitness buddy from Oz.

Here is what I wrote at the beginning of my journey:
My greatest wish is to deflate my ego (and body) while expanding unconditional love for myself and others. Now my mind and body aspire to reflect my inner wish and make the changes I need to accomplish this. This includes reflecting on and changing the negative patterns of not taking care of myself. These unhelpful patterns will be overcome by loving and caring for myself more, applying mindfulness, awareness, generosity, discipline, joyful perseverance, insight and wisdom to this fitness plan and my goals with the intention to be more beneficial for myself and others!

I thought it would be good to write down my reflections on how I got where I am (weight wise) and how I will get to where I want to be. This is to remind myself if and when I should lose the momentum or enthusiasm to take the challenge to be healthier, perhaps you can relate to them also. If you're in a pinch come back and visit me and we can inspire each other!

Food, love that food! The taste of good food, the texture, the aroma, the chewing, swallowing and especially the feeling of satisfaction after having a wonderful meal. Well there's nothing wrong here, BUT... I have become addicted to these sense pleasures to the point that my serving sizes became delusional-portion distortion! Eating became a pleasure that I craved, desired and which made me greedy and even stingy. Hoarding special treats away for when I'd get the urge could be found tucked away for that not so special "rainy day".

Nuns in our tradition wear robes that cover everything up and just wrap around the body with a no limit expandable waist-so it's easy not to notice how the waist is expanding. And so, year after year the pounds slowly added on as I became less attentive, less active, less conscious and mindful of what I was doing to myself. Somewhere there was an awareness of this, but I kept stuffing it, just like the food I was eating. I also stopped exercising and so there was no chance to burn off some of what I was consuming.

I have been eating healthy for most of my life, but even eating tooooooo much healthy is unhealthy! And of course, let's not forget the daily treat(s) to get through the day. Even a 100 kcal treat everyday for a year will add on 10 lbs! And they did and here I am! Going on 65, I have to confess, I thought maybe it didn't matter anymore. Ooops, caught that one, that's the slouch in me. Do you have one too? BUT, It does matter, I do want to be healthy and energetic in my elder years and I would really like to travel, and to make pilgrimages to some of the sacred places on this planet.

One day a friend took a picture of me in my beautiful garden when it was in full bloom. I really looked forward to seeing the pictures (you can see it in my gallery). We (nuns) don't use mirrors either so when I saw this pix, I was shocked!!!! What a round nun there was- could hardly see the flowers. That was a real reality check and a wake up call. Sometimes we just have to find out the hard way-I had two teachers that I love and respect who kindly hinted at my roundness, but I wasn't ready to take it on board and deal with it. Now I am.

Waking up, that's what I want my life to be about, all aspects of my life, including food consumption. I want to let go of the grasping to the things that I love and just enjoy them freely without attachment, but with mindfulness, discipline and awareness and most of all with joyful spaciousness.

Feb.'09 Update of 2 months on Spark People. Here are some things that I am learning that are helping me to lose weight. I never wanted to count calories, that seemed like such a drag, but on Spark People it is made so easy and I can also easily track how much protein, calcium, fiber, and other nutrients I have in my diet.

Counting calories has ended up being a really good thing, because I can still eat what I want- even a goodie, but then I know that I have to shift the calories around so it still works within my limit. The real bonus of calorie counting is not feeling deprived! The things that get eliminated from the meals are usually the extras that don't really nourish the body anyway, but then on a more rare occasion maybe I would prefer a desert to a serving of rice and that's ok. Then there are deals that I make occasionally, like I can have 3 pieces of Mediterranean pizza (very thin crust and a little goat cheese and veggies) if I take a rigorous hike for 2 1/2 hours. But then I also weigh that decision by putting loosing weight on one side of the scale and a food which may or may not turn out to be delicious on the other end of the scale, and I decide. Sometimes I remind myself that even if it's absolutely delicious it still turns to excrement in a few hours. Rarely does not loosing weight win! Also realizing that 20 min. after eating a meal and I'm no longer hungry, I know that it really doesn't matter what I ate, so I may as well choose something low cal. and satisfying. I feel like I'm a little less attached to the momentary sense pleasures of eating (just a little) and more inspired to take care of myself in a way that will hopefully have a positive affect in the long term.

April '09- I'm still tracking all my food because it is so helpful to keep me on track.

I think one of the most positive changes that I've made through this program is reflecting on how I view myself. In the last few years after becoming married to my spiritual path, I didn't include caring body in the way I should, as part of my path. I placed to much emphasis on my mind, but now I realize that although I believe we create the world view with our minds, this also includes how we care for our bodies. I feel my spiritual path has become more integrated, my body, speech and mind, while in this life, are very interconnected. Since my deepest which is to love with equanimity, I need to start here at home- and I am- and I'm loving the journey to health which is becoming more physically, mentally, emotionally integrated!

April '09- I've lost 46lbs. I feel great and am in much, much better physical shape. I love to hike and can now climb steep hills and walk tracts that I wouldn't even have considered a year ago. Being so overweight/obese caused me to loose my sense of balance, now my balance is back, feet firmly on the ground and at the same time feeling lighter and more playful.

Member Since: 12/5/2008

Fitness Minutes: 45,121

My Goals:
To maintain this wonderful weightloss from here on out, and to continue to include frequent joyful exercise in my day and fresh veggies and fruits in my diet.

My Program:
After considering what has worked for me in the past (although I didn't stick with it) and what doesn't work for healthy weight loss, on Nov. 19th, '08 I started cutting down on the big carbs, fat and sweets and now eat mostly veggies and fruits- I will continue with this lifestyle. I also intend to put more exercise into my day. Sharing with my friends at SP is a real plus and brightens my day.
April 27, '09 I have accomplished one major goal- to lose 50 lb. I see many wonderful changes in my body and I love it! My mindful-eating and exercise program is the foundation that supports this lifestyle transformation. I am so grateful to SP for providing the tools for encouraging and supporting this.

Personal Information:
I'm an American Buddhist nun living in So. France at a retreat center. I love to meditate, read dharma books, care for others and enjoy gardening. I enjoy making new friends and traveling (when I'm not in retreat). I long to come back to the US and find a little cabin somewhere in the mountains where I could do a long retreat. I need to get in shape for that- chopping wood-carrying water-not so easy as when I was in my 50's! I'm determined- and I will do it!!!!

Other Information:
I realize that I have been over indulgent and indiscriminating towards the food I eat, so that is something important for me to change. Learning about correct portions and tracking is really helpful.
1/17/09 I added the lbs that I lost 3 weeks prior to starting SP to the tracker because this gives a more accurate view of my weight loss/fitness. It's also more inspiring to me to visually see how I'm doing- and I feel that I'm doing really great on this wonderful program!

Finding the right balance is sometimes a stretch well worth it!

Read More About CLAIR-A-T - Profile Information moved here. (Updated June 28)

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    I just saw your post that we actually met with the SW! That's fantastic. It was a fun hike and it was good meeting you.

    Have you looked into paintball?

    2680 days ago
    Hi there,
    It was so good to hear from you. I was thinking about you the other day and curious of your whereabouts. I am glad you are back and yes, I am still here continuing the challenge. This is the only thing that keeps me on track and honest with myself:) I hope all is well with your work and family.
    Laura K.
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    3681 days ago
    Hello there,
    I was thinking about you the other day and wanted to let you know you are missed. Heard you were visiting. I hope all is well and you are enjoying your adventures. All the best,
    Laura K.
    3804 days ago
    So incredible to see you on my friend feed, Clair. Your successes are quite admirable. You are inspiration to me in more ways than one.

    Hope to see more of you as I always enjoy it ... let me know how you're doing and how things are going in your amazing life!


    3805 days ago
    Loved seeing you cross the radar screen! I hope your life continues to be full of grace and beauty as you do the practices and serve in all the ways you're called to. Have you done any traveling lately? And how is dear Damchö? Does she continue at Lerab Ling?
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    3805 days ago
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