Welcome to Mondo Samu - Questions and Answers about my self-work.

Mondō: "questions and answers"; a recorded collection of dialogues between a pupil and teacher.
Samu: Work service; meditation in work.


Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Last Straw

The catalyst that launched me down my current path came on July 3rd, 2010. But I'll come back to that in a moment.

Leading up to that day, I had begun to worry about my health quite a bit. I am, and have mostly always been, a pretty positive person with great self esteem. So the fact that I was now worrying about things like my size was a definite signal to me that things were bad.

My ankles were hurting me all the time.  There are several other things I was beginning to fear as well. Mostly minor stuff, but the biggie was Diabetes. It runs in my family, but I've always managed to dodge it...so far. Then there's the hassle of flying. Flying is a hassle in general, but it's sometimes excruciating if you happen to be both big and tall. I was getting to the point I was worried the airline was going to pull a "Kevin Smith" on me. And then there's the biggest factor of all. My daughter. She's just turned four and I was beginning to seriously worry that I might not see her graduate high school.

So there I was, about to leave for a week in Canada at the In-Laws. They're a great family, whom I'm very fortunate to have and love, but who's normal dysfunction that every family has is heightened by a wry Canadian sense of humor and a matriarch who's motherly pestering about health, what you eat, and your exercise regimen can not be understated.

I decided to get on the scale and see what I weighed before flying. To my absolute horror, the blue digital number staring back at me was the highest number I've ever seen on a scale of mine and one I NEVER thought it possible for me to hit.

349 pounds!

I was crushed, scared, awed, saddened, scared, stunned, scared and scared. I swore, then and there, that something had to change. I didn't have a plan, other than that I had to get a plan!  I swore right then that the scale would never know what it was to display the number "350".

Canada was amazingly hot. Not Georgia hot, but darned close. My MIL kept her house at a balmy 78 degrees. I couldn't escape the sticky hotness. I was absolutely miserable. I needed to get somewhere that conditioned their air so I could enjoy myself for a bit and not be miserable.

So it was that I came to be walking about 2 miles to the bookstore downtown. They were blasting the A/C and after spending an absurd amount of time in the bathroom drying off and airing out my clothes, I headed for a Venti Mocha Frap in a comfy chair. Along the way a book caught my eye.  A white cover, with a mouth-watering orange slice in the middle and a large word.  SAVOR.

Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life

I grabbed it, as I've always had a bit of interest in the Buddhist idea of mindfulness.  I sat down, took a sip of my frap (yes, I'm aware of the irony), and started reading.  I read for two hours.  I walked back the next day, in that awful heat, and read again.  And again.  And then bought the eBook.  I kept reading until I finished.  Then I began living it immediately.

I'm not going to tell you this book will change your life, although it just may.  What I will tell you is that for me, it was the right message at the right time.  At worst, it will give you some useful information and an introduction to some of the Buddhist ways that so many people find appealing in a world of religious options.  For me, having tried every diet out there to varying degrees of (little) success, the idea of this book which wasn't promoting a diet but a simple way of living life was extremely appealing.  I'd dabbled with the idea of mindful eating when I read "I Can Make You Thin" by Paul McKenna.  I loved the book, and the amazingly simple process it promoted, but when I tried to apply it, I found I couldn't make it stick.  I realize now, after reading Savor, that It was because "I Can Make You Thin", while good, only focused on mindfulness as it relates to eating.  Savor recommends an overall practice of mindfulness in every aspect of life, with a little more attention to the eating aspect.  I'm not saying the other book doesn't work, but I think that focusing on one aspect, and ignoring others, may be a lot harder.  Focusing on ONE simple thing - MINDFUL LIVING - seems to have done the trick for me.

Literally overnight, I found myself transformed.

I've made a ton of changes, though they could be entirely simplified as "Living Mindfully", and it has been the easiest thing I've ever done in terms of life changes.  I set a goal for myself of losing 100 pounds.  I will be 249 pounds.  I'm almost half way there already, having lost 42 pounds so far.  I'll Keep you posted on my progress.  And for now, I'll leave you with that.

Tune in next time, when I will detail the plan that I came up with to get started, and how I'm executing it.  I should mention that I am a tech-junkie, so I rely on technology for help in many ways.  I've got some great tools that I use, and some that might work for others, and I'll review them all in due course.  You can do it all without these tools, but I find it extremely useful.

Til then,


  1. Love this! Although I don't have much to lose now, i have struggled with unhealthy and addictive behaviors regarding food my whole life. While I obviously practice mindfulness on the cushion, and many other aspects of my life, food is where I still very purposefully "tune out" may have to pick up Savor and see if it might be a catalyst for me bringing my relationship to food more in harmony with my philosophy, practice and beliefs! :-) Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. That's a great compliment, thank you! And that it comes from you, makes it even better! I've many, many thoughts on the topic of why this worked and why it was so easy for me. I'd LOOOOVE to hear your thoughts if you read the book and see how/if it has any benefit for you. This type of thing, is precisely why I started the blog...to start a conversation with others and compare notes. It's the meaning behind the Mondo Samu name. Keep me posted, and take advantage of the SavorTheBook.com blog...they are extremely supportive and Dr. Cheung has always been responsive to my emails. _/\_