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Our Relationship to Food is Not a Problem to Be Solved; It is a Process to be Lived

By Charlene Rayburn

My perspective is changing. It didn’t take place overnight, and it is not complete, but I can definitely see an evolution of my understanding of Dr. May’s words, “It is a process, and perfection isn’t necessary.”

stressed man holding stack of filesI now know that my goal for improved health cannot be reached in the same way a math problem can be solved. It is not about calculating weights, calories, and points; nor is it about measuring my body and food portions. Additionally, it is not about having a target body weight serve as a marker for achievement and celebration, nor about having my current body weight serve as a gauge of my success or failure. For so long I thought it was, and for so long I was disappointed with the results.

What it IS about is the process of living. It’s about my relationship with myself, my relationship with life, and my relationship with food. It is not about a future goal that acts like a moving target and that I can never quite reach. It IS about the opportunity to experience and cherish my life right here, right now, just as it is. There is no where I need to go, there is no reason to wait. As part of the process, I now realize that my current experience of life, love, events and food is exactly that…my current experience. It will not be exactly the same next year, tomorrow, or in the next moment (or with the next bite).

The meaning and joy in my life show up through the process of my being present with each and every moment and morsel, just as they are…not in trying to manipulate them. Ironically, as I remember and practice this, I change…and my choices change. When I pay attention, I notice the ways I avoid emotions, deny consequences, and wish for magical outcomes. I also notice the amazing beauty and complexity of emotions, the wisdom in observing and accepting consequences, and the magic in every single moment of life. I’ve learned so much more about myself and my relationship with food through mindful eating than I ever did through measured eating. And experiencing the process as an amazing journey is so much more joyful than trying to perfectly adhere to mathematical formulas.


About the author

Charlene Rayburn, CVCC, lives her passion for mindfulness and intentional leadership by serving as a personal and professional leadership coach, by managing a department of dedicated employees for a Fortune 500 sized health insurance organization, and by facilitating Am I Hungry?® workshops and coaching sessions. She has coached extensively with individuals and groups outside the corporate world, as well as with executives, leaders, and teams in non-profit, private, public, governmental, and educational organizations spanning the globe. Charlene received her coaching certificate through the Center for Coaching Mastery at Coachville, LLC, and earned a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree in Management from Davenport University. She is a member of the National Management Association. One of her most emotionally challenging and rewarding experiences was serving as a volunteer at the Center for Battered Women. Charlene currently lives in Michigan and enjoys spending time with her husband of over 20 years, reading, learning, cooking, practicing yoga, and watching her grandson grow, who lives with his dad, her stepson in Fort Worth, Texas.

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