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Get Creative, Lose Weight, Find Flow & Happiness

And now for something completely different: sexy veggies?!

Taylor and I recently went back and forth via e-mail. The results reminded me, yet again, of how flow can change a life. Taylor is a Life & Wellness Coach, a seminar leader specializing in reinvention, transformation and weight loss, and the author of Our Lady of Weight Loss, and All is Forgiven, Move On. Here's how our conversation went:

Q: Janice, your big thing (no pun intended) is weight loss. You've said you learned to craft, to be creative, rather than mindlessly eating. How does that work in reality? Is it mainly that you always have some not-overly-demanding projects that you can turn too when you feel like nibbling?

A: On my fattest day ever, I rolled myself out of bed and made my way over to one of those weight loss centers where people obsess about food and weight. I stood on line, weighed-in, and it was my highest number ever. And then joined the rest of the folk for the lecture part of the meeting. I felt completely defeated, depressed and deprived before I'd even begun, and I thought, "I'm never going to make it." That's when I heard 'the voice,' which later I learned was Our Lady of Weight Loss.

"If you think you're never going to make it, you never will," the voice told me. "You're an artist. Turn weight loss into an art project." My attention shifted back to the meeting. Sheila was talking about 'juicy red peppers.' And in that moment, I did a complete 180. I got happy and excited and decided that I would use the meetings as inspiration. I would collage sexy vegetables. And I did. One after the other, I made art about food instead of eating it.

It was clear to me that our actions follow our thoughts. And we create what we focus on. Rather than obsess about food, I decided that I would eat healthfully and make art. My focus was on cutting and pasting! And let me tell you: it is difficult to eat when you have glue and glitter on your hands.

Q: Flow, of course, is not a means to an end, but a lovely by-product with benefits of its own. So Janice, which of your activities really gets you into flow, where you lose track of time?

A: I can readily get into an "Elmer's Glue Flow." Any time I am working on any kind of art, I go into flow, into a trance state. Time disappears. I am so involved in color, composition, in the intuitive process that the chattering mind and time fall away.

Self-hypnosis has been a big part of my process, as well. I close my eyes, follow my breath. And I float way up high, imagining/feeling that I am rising above thought. If a thought comes, I see it unfold below me, separate from me. Again time and space are separate from me.

Q: If you were to gain back those 50 pounds, what would you be willing to trade? Would you take them back for a bestselling book, a great husband, peace on earth, a guaranteed no-illness future? (I know you'll understand how a silly question like this sometimes brings forth unexpected insights.)

: Those pounds can visit, but they can't move back in! Every once in a while the scale spikes three or so pounds, and then I lose it fast. I don't think of the pounds lost as making me happy. I think of this way of living as a healthy framework from which I can create my life.

Now, I am assuming that you mean that I would have to gain those 50 back and keep them, yes? I would do anything to keep my children safe and healthy and happy. And my husband, too. World peace. Okay. But everyone would have to sign an air-tight agreement, no loop holes to wreck it. (I don't trust it. What guarantees can you give me?)

Bottom line: I don't think the weight off is the prize. The prize is that I'm not beating myself up each and every night. The prize is that I took control of my life, and food was the first and surprisingly easiest place to do that.

Q: How do you integrate exercise and healthfulness into a lifestyle that is mainly about sitting still, writing, doing therapy, and making stuff?

A: I love to walk. Walking is a creative act of weight loss. My mind clears; it feels good. The endorphins rush in. I am in a flow state at times when I'm listening to music and walking. I can get very high, too. Wow. Better than any drug. I live 10 blocks from the northern end of Central Park, so I'm a frequent visitor of the Conservancy Gardens. You can go into flow sitting on a park bench, with the sun shining and the flowers blooming.

Copyright (c) by Susan K. Perry