Update, January 2019 – Green Mountain has now closed down. The website is still up and seems to now have a lot of weight loss focused language on there, which is different from the approach I found so helpful during my stay.
Maybe I subconsciously paced my scribbles but it’s still a pleasing outcome. Even if I hadn’t learned a thing, the trip would have been worthwhile just for the fun of writing things down all day long like a big nerd.
But BONUS, I did learn stuff! During my last week, the lovely Jo asked on my Facebook page: What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learnt during your stay?
“… I’m leaving with a deeper understanding of why I do what I do – what’s going on in my brain and body, and the moments/triggers that lead up to a binge or overeating.
And that it’s not one answer but a collection of little tools and practices that collectively can help – mindfulness, consistent movement, mindful eating, self compassion, small moments of pleasure, gratitude etc.
A lot of stuff that I’ve previously thought ‘yeah nice idea’ but had not realised how important it is for helping us stay more centered and less likely to swing to the darker places.”
(Paragraph breaks added for the sake of your eyeballs!)
It was so helpful to gain a deeper understanding of the why, after decades of periodically finding myself surrounded by a bunch of food wrappers, totally frustrated and befuddled at how I wound up there again.
The why is a bit of a cocktail – it can be habitual (the brain following old, deep neural pathways… cue > response > reward), it can be a response to stress, it can be a response to restriction; it can be all of those at once.
But when it happens it’s for good reason. Even though it may not feel that way, on some level it serves a purpose. It might be to soothe, to numb, to feel safe; an attempt to fulfil a need. As they said at GM, The food works. Until it doesn’t.
As we started to learn about the practices that can help heal this stuff – the mindfulness, the movement, the food stuff, self compassion, the new habit building etc – I realised that this is going to be a sloooooow process. After all, I’ve been on the diet/binge treadmill for over 30 years. Some of those neural pathways are more like trenches.
It’s more like It Never Ends, the soap opera that Mo of The Simpsons briefly appeared on (as Dr. Tad Winslow). “Like the cleaning of a house… It Never Ends.”
But that’s actually a more liberating than depressing thought. I’ve got time! Unlike dieting, I have no arbitrary deadline. I can experiment and play and fail and try and try again.
“Here is the magic Green Mountain Formula for wellness and well-being:
Eating + Moving + Living, with a focus on Feeling Good = Health, of the mind and body.
It may sound scary at first to focus on feeling good. We think that if we allow ourselves to feel good, then we won’t be guilted into what we think are healthy behaviors. If we let ourselves rest because it feels good, how will we ever get to the gym? If we let ourselves eat pizza because it feels good, how will we ever make ourselves eat vegetables?
But here’s the key: When we focus on feeling good – when our goal is to eat, move, and live in a way that gives us more joy, more energy, more life – we’ll find ourselves attracted to those things intuitively.
The truth is: When we aren’t taking care of ourselves, that doesn’t feel good. When our stress isn’t well-managed because we’re taking on too many tasks, that doesn’t feel good. When we restrict or binge because we’re hung up on diets, that doesn’t feel good. When we’re not engaging in joyful physical activity, that doesn’t feel good.
The reality is that Eating + Moving + Living, with a focus on Feeling Good = Health, will bring us more of exactly what we’re after.”
Read the full post – If Not Diets, Then What?
Coming up next: The importance of pleasure. Then a mega huge Day In The Life at Green Mountain post. Woohoo!
I partnered with Green Mountain at Fox Run, in which I received a three week stay at Green Mountain in February 2018, in exchange for writing about my experience. The stay included the Green Mountain core program and Pathway program at the Women’s Center for Binge & Emotional Eating. I covered my own travel expenses. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Browse all my Green Mountain posts here.