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Choose My Thoughts

By Jeff Butts
I choose my thoughts and therefore my experience

I was running late for my two and a half hour drive to southern Indiana to lead a bariatric surgery support group. It had been a stressful day at work, including technical issues that I felt I was being blamed for.

Am I Hungry? TFAR graphicJust as the support group got under way, we were asked to move our cars so a Lifeline helicopter could land to pick up a patient. After the group, everyone hung around for a while so I got a late start on my long drive home. Only a half hour into my commute home and the traffic in front of me was at a complete standstill due to roadwork! What else could go wrong? The highway was shut down, forcing everyone off at an exit and onto back roads. As I continued on a two lane state highway, two deer ran out in front of me and I barely missed them.

I thought, “Can this night get any worse? It feels like there’s a dark cloud following me. My boss was on my case, I was running late, the group was interrupted, the traffic was detoured, and I almost hit two deer!

I felt so frustrated! I kept thinking about how bad things were and wondering, “Why me?” That’s when I noticed that I was clenching my jaw—and the steering wheel. My neck and shoulders felt tense.

Suddenly TFAR popped into my head. “Jeff, your thoughts lead to your feelings, which lead to your actions, which lead to your results. You’re ruminating about things that you have absolutely no control over. There is no grand plot against you, just random events that seem to be a pattern because you’re focusing on them! Stop all this negativity! It’s making things worse.”

I took a deep breath and decided to lighten up, change my mind and move on. I cranked up the radio and had an absolutely amazing, relaxing, fun drive home.

It was another reminder about how powerful our thoughts are. We can choose to change our minds and create a completely different experience for ourselves.


About the author

Jeff Butts is a facilitator of the Am I Hungry?® Mindful Eating Program and Mindful Eating for Bariatric Surgery. He is a Wellness Coach, inspirational speaker, and Bariatric Support Group Leader. Jeff’s mission is to “Help others free themselves from the physical and emotional prison of obesity by sharing my experience, my wisdom, and my heart.” Jeff’s passion for helping others stems from his own personal struggle with food and weight. Reaching a weight of 643 pounds, Jeff knew he had to do something to regain his health and get back into life. Upon looking into bariatric surgery, he realized that it was just a physical tool, and that he also needed help to deal with the emotional reasons he ate. Through a twist of fate he discovered that Dr. Michelle May’s Am I Hungry? program was the additional tool he needed! He had bariatric surgery in 2008 and has maintained a 419 pound weight loss and leads five Bariatric Support Groups for St. Vincent’s. Jeff now teams with his Am I Hungry? teacher, mentor, and friend, Dr. Lori Hurst, to offer Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating Workshops throughout central Indiana. He also offers Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating for Bariatric Surgery workshops and webinars. A recording of Jeff’s webinars is available for facilitators-in-training. He also speaks frequently to local schools, colleges, civic, and health organizations. Jeff serves on the Board of Directors of GasAmerica’s Charitable Foundation and Board of Directors of PAWS, a pet rescue in Hancock County, Indiana. He volunteers at Hancock Regional Hospital, Kenneth Butler Soup Kitchen, as a Big Brother, and foster parent for PAWS animals as they look for their forever homes.

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