In this interview series we speak with Mondo Samu: a husband, father, devoted Savor reader and student of Thich Nhat Hanh who has lost over 100 lbs practicing mindful living.
Savor: In your blog- you equate the amount of weight you’ve lost to the weight of 5 spare tires. Wow! How do you feel physically, mentally & emotionally, having lost 100 pounds?
Mondo Samu: Well mentally and emotionally, it's easy to describe. Fantastic! I am more alert, aware, I think clearly and am more mentally active. Simply put, I'm not as tired and run down mentally all the time, like I was before.
The physical benefits, which you would think to be very obvious, are actually much harder to describe. When I look at myself in the mirror - for the most part - I look the same to me. Mind you, I’ve never suffered from low self-esteem or a poor body-image. I obviously wanted to look better than I did, but I never suffered over how I looked.
I find myself surprised when I fit quite comfortably in to an airplane seat, when I buy an XL size shirt instead of 4X or LARGE size shorts instead of 3X. I'm amazed when I trot up a flight of stairs and I'm not wheezing at the top, or when I walk 8-10 miles in a day on vacation and it doesn’t phase me.
It's the realization of how I DON'T feel that is amazing. I DON'T feel bad. I guess I feel like I SHOULD.
S: What activity do you love now, that was difficult for you to enjoy before?
M: Most, but I guess one is walking. I do at least three miles per day of mindful walking meditation, and usually end that with a slower, single breath walking meditation. Being able to do that, and most of all being able to actually ENJOY it, has been life altering.
I used to complain about the heat virtually every moment of being out of doors. My poor wife suffered greatly. ;-)
S: How has your change in lifestyle affected your personal & professional relationships?
M: Mindfulness has absolutely changed how I deal with and relate to people. My wife comments on it quite a bit, when I'm not angry about something that would have made me mad before--like someone cutting me off in traffic.
One good example I can think of: recently our car got broken in to. Previously, I would have been really angry and filled with a lot of hate for this person. Instead, my first thought was how much this person must be suffering to have broken in to a vehicle and stolen dirty clothing. Mindfulness has made me more compassionate, which I'm sure has changed how I relate to the people around me. And on a simpler level, mindfulness allows me to see the beauty in people much more clearly.
Perhaps the most interesting change, is how its helped me relate to my child. I've introduced her to mindful eating practice, and our breakfast together is my most treasured part of the day. Mindful breathing is a very effective way to calm her down. It's been extremely rewarding to see her develop this....
We'll delve deeper in to Mondo Samu's experiences with weight loss & mindful eating in next week's interview. Do you have questions for him too? Please post them below as a comment.
To learn more about his journey, visit the Mondo Samu Blog.