Monday, 4 April 2011

the weight escape workshop

On the weekend I attended a fabulous one-day Weight Escape workshop in Sydney based on the principles of the book written by Russ Harris, The Happiness Trap (see previous blog about The Happiness Trap). The Weight Escape was very clear about what was not covered in the workshop – it was not about food or exercise plans, diets or calories, protein or the evils of fat. What it was about was the psychology of weight loss. I found it fascinating.

The reason why many people fail with their health goals is because it is not in the interests of the multi-billion dollar diet industry for people to be successful. Working in conjunction with fast-food-fat-delivery-outlets, we make desperate attempts to fix what society tells us is wrong with us; fail; feel miserable; then comfort ourselves by resorting to the fast-food-fat-delivery-outlets. It’s all wrong. And as a nation, we are getting fatter and more unhealthy.

Following rules about what to eat or not eat on a diet increases what’s called ‘diet mindlessness’ which shrinks valued-activity, de-sensitises us to body feedback and leads to social isolation, cravings, ‘away’ moves, bingeing, lots of unpleasant feelings, non-hungry eating and the rigidity of following rules.

The answer, according to the Weight Escape workshop, has many facets which include:

  • Understanding and harnessing our mind’s purpose
  • Understanding how discomfort and willingness work together
  • Being aware of our bodies’ signals and responding appropriately
  • Identifying and using our values to guide our goals and behaviours
  • Learning and applying self-compassion
  • How to eat mindfully and intuitively
  • Making your life more rewarding and richer

Mindful eating involves being aware of body signals, sensations, hunger, fullness, using all the senses to enjoy the pleasure of eating food that’s nourishing and pleasing. Activities in the workshop involved practicing techniques to help increase mindfulness.

The workshop was presented by a dynamic duo - Dr Joe Ciarocchi and Anne Bailey. There were around 65 participants and around 6 ‘helpers’. Workbooks, materials, a CD on Mindfulness Skills and a copy of the book ‘The Happiness Trap’ by Russ Harris was provided to everyone. Plus, there is a 10-week e-course which reinforces and expands on many of the principles to be forwarded to each participant.

I would highly recommend this workshop to anyone interested in physical wellbeing, health, or weight loss.

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