This post is a response to James Altucher post titled, Six Ideas From Islam I Use to Find Success.
When something has been a part of your life forever it can be easy to get lost in the details and forget the fundamental reasons you committed in the first place. Such is the case with my religion. I recently read a post from one of my favorite online thought provokers, James Altucher about how Islam has helped inspire his success. I find it interesting that the person whose post re-invigorated my love of Islam is in fact not a Muslim. But that is what I love about my religion – the simple foundations that you can use to create a beautiful life independent of your personal beliefs about God.
So I was inspired to look at the 6 ideas James highlighted and see how they can help me with my quest to heal my relationship with food and stop my emotional overeating.
1. Surrender – Islam teaches you to surrender everything to God. To act in service of God and take God with you on your journey through life. I was first reminded of this idea as it applies to our weight loss journey when I read Marianne Williamson’s A Course in Weight Loss. This was the premise of the entire book and I talk a lot about that book on this blog because it was a real turning point for me in my relationship with food. Every day that I can remind myself that I am not meant to do this alone is a better eating day for me right from the start. When we surrender our problems to God they suddenly become much smaller because nothing is too much or too great when measured against God. We can always cope when we bring in God’s love.
2. Faith – When we emotionally overeat we are using food to cope with something missing in our lives. For many of us, I believe that believing in something larger than our little lives is crucial to staying motivated and inspired in this life. If we believe that there is more out there and we have faith in a greater universe then we can live a more purposeful life and living with purpose gives you a much better coping mechanism than food ever could.
3. Prayer – I aim to do 5 formal prayers a day. The purpose is to constantly remember God throughout the day. this also helps with surrendering to God as we discussed in Idea #1. When you pray on a daily basis you keep the bigger picture in mind. You have an easier time keeping the faith throughout the harder parts of your day. I also find that committing to praying 5 times a day helps set up some basic structure to my day that I can use as momentum for the rest of the day and ultimately be more productive which helps me keep my eating under control.
4. Fasting – Currently we are ending the month of Ramadan where Muslims around the world honor the revelation of the Qur’an by fasting from dawn to sunset everyday for 30 days. There is so much research that has proven the health benefits of fasting. However what I think is the most beneficial reason to fast is that, for me, fasting can help you forget about food. For the first time maybe in your life you can experience what its like to not be obsessed with food 24/7. This is how people who are not food addicts feel everyday. And it’s important to know you are capable of living such a life and I believe that fasting is a great tool to help you gain this knowledge. And knowing you are capable is half the battle to actually living that way permanently.
5. Charity – I’ve written several times about how developing a practice of gratitude is SO important to curing emotional eating. Giving charity in meaningful way helps you to step outside of yourself and realize that there are so many bigger problems in the world. this can help alleviate your obsession with your weight loss problems.
6. Pilgrimage – In Islam, this means pilgrimage to Mecca. I hope to do that one day but right now I am asking myself how I can go on a pilgrimage every day. I like James Altucher’s idea of approaching each day with a beginner’s mind. Assume nothing. Allow yourself to be open minded. You just might learn something new and be delighted at the same time. I think that’s the big difference between children and adults – how easy it is for us to be delighted. For children its easy. Perhaps it would be easier for adults if we took a daily pilgrimage.
I think you can find a bit of these principles in all faiths if you’re looking for them and you can definitely incorporate them into your life even if you have no religion at all. You just need to have faith in something. You have to believe that the world is bigger than you and your problems. This is how I am working to heal my relationship with food. I think it can help you do the same.
Special thanks to James Altucher for taking the long view of my religion and finding the beauty in it to help us all Choose Ourselves and live life full out.
I found another interesting blog post on this subject you can check out here.
- How to Rely on Your Faith to Help You Lose Weight
- Focus on Gratitude and Lose Weight Faster
- Will God Want to Talk About My Weight on Judgement Day?
- Become a Student of the School of Greatness (Book Review)
- Why I’m Still Hibernating, Plus 8 Soulful Goals for 2017