Surrender vs. Struggle: Freeing Ourselves from Dieting


Changing the Way You Think About Weight Management

okemo mountain from green mountainGreen Mountain at Fox Run is well named, as it sits perched on a hillside at the foot of the Crayola-green Okemo Mountain. From most everywhere at the retreat center, you can see the mountain. Including my room at Green Mountain, where I had a beautiful view of Okemo rising up seemingly just outside my window.

On my very first morning, I opened my eyes and saw this quiet giant patiently waiting for me to wake up. A sudden and absolute thought occurred to me and I said out loud, “Okay, I surrender.” I wasn’t sure where that came from or what I really meant. But a deep sense of peace came over me and it became my morning and evening ritual to “surrender” to Okemo.

In the days and weeks that followed, I started learning why surrender was so important for me. And I began to question why its opposite– struggle–had always seemed so necessary to keep my weight under some kind of control. I struggled to diet, to restrict certain foods until it became impossible not to eat them. I struggled to count calories, points, fats, carbs, proteins, sugars. Sometimes all at once.

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Mainly, I struggled to have a more peaceful relationship with food, eating, my body, my relationships, my world. Even though I had achieved success in many areas of my life, my relationship food was still an uphill battle. So I kept on surrendering to the mountain. “I cannot do it my old way anymore. I have to trust there’s a better way.”

And there was…

Surrender Gave Me the Freedom to “Hear” What I Really Wanted

At Green Mountain, I started to understand that there was no such thing as a “bad” food. I could learn to eat what I really wanted (yikes!). I could let go of restrictive food thoughts and let my body guide me. Practicing mindful eating at Green Mountain was a real turning point. I had heard that phrase a hundred times, but just hadn’t gotten it before. I “surrendered” to the fact that mindful eating meant I could not eat while being distracted by TV or reading, or eating on the run. I have to sit down and pay ATTENTION. It made the world of difference because I actually started knowing when I felt full. I felt not so much in control but in charge.

picture of chairs When I returned home from Green Mountain, I looked up the definition of surrender. According to Merriam Webster, it can mean: agreeing to stop fighting, hiding, resisting, etc., because you know that you will not win or succeed. And I can’t win through struggle. Surrender, however, is another story.

Surrendering My Negative Self-Talk

When I get off track (and I do), I look at a photo I took of the Adirondack chairs on the front lawn of Green Mountain that faces Okemo. I remember the times I sat in those chairs and surrendered my negative self-talk up to it.

The mountain never looked even a tiny bit shaken by my rantings and ravings. I feel enormously changed, however. All it took was a little surrender.

Learn More Mindful Eating Strategies for Successful Weight Management

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