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“Change does not happen in your comfort zone.” says Andrea Hess

“Dammit!” say I

But it’s true. Things don’t change when you’re doing what you’ve always done. You’ve got to move outside that realm bit by bit if you want to make real change in your life.

Case in point:

I’ve written here about my struggles with weight gain somewhat caused by my underactive thyroid gland and more than a little by my penchant for snarfing. (I’m Italian, what can I say?) Watching the scale creep higher and higher and making myself feel really bad about it has been my way of life for quite a while now.

Back in 2003, I decided to try a modified version of the Atkins diet – something I’d never done before. Cut carbs? But I love them so! Surely, this low fat cheese will make up for the bread it’s melted on! I did it, though. Cut carbs way, way down. The weight dropped off so quickly and from places (hips and thighs) it hadn’t before. It was awesome. And way the hell out of my comfort zone.

Obviously, I wasn’t able to maintain that way of eating because (surprise!) carbs made me happy. Happier, apparently, than fitting in lots of new clothes. Happier than feeling good in my body (for once). It took a while for the weight to come back on but when I went back to my own food comfort zone, I got what I had always gotten.

Cut to 2010: here’s me stepping out of my comfort zone again. I am cutting back on carbs (again) but this time with a lot more awareness of what I’m doing and what it feels like to be out of that safe place.

That last part feels big to me.

Food has always, always been my comfort. And much of my eating has been unconscious. I’d snarf down stuff and not even realize what I’d done. Or I’d eat it out of habit (that bag of pretzels I buy every day along with my coffee) and fear not having it when I want something to nibble.  Heck, a few slices of ham just doesn’t cut it when I want to bury whatever it is I’m feeling.

It’s time, though, to bring the same consciousness I apply to other areas of my life to my own eating habits. I have to try something different if I want things to be different in my life.

Bringing mindfulness to my eating is one place where I am outside my comfort zone. And that’s a scary place for me. It’s like jumping off a cliff and not knowing if a net will appear. But remaining in this unconscious place of snarfing is not helping me get back into my clothes. So, I have to try something new.  Something that makes me feel a bit uncomfortable.

Wish me luck!

Can you share a time when you stepped outside of YOUR comfort zone? What was the result?

And if not – what stops you from doing it?