Weight loss revealed: It’s not about diet, and it’s not about exercise.
Yeah, you heard it.
Why would you listen to anything I have to say, anyway? I don’t have my doctorate nor am I a bio-chemist. Yes, I do have some credentials in holistic health however the internet is completely saturated with this type of information.
So why would you believe anything I say?
Let me tell you a brief story about why I care about sharing this information…
Growing up, I was addicted to fast food. I didn’t realize I was addicted, as tends to be the case with most addiction. But I ate it every day. And it seemed ‘normal’. I was overweight as a kid, suffered from acne, painful periods, bloating, and anxiety. Fast forward to my second year in college. After being inspired by my athletic roommate, I started going to the gym to shed the ‘freshman fifteen’. I had never worked out before. Because of that, my body took to it immediately and I started dropping weight relatively easily. People began to notice and comment on my physique. It made me feel pretty damn good. The approval from others moved me to start paying more attention to my food. And by paying attention, I mean eat less. I lived on energy drinks, cigarettes, and gum for nearly two years. Yep. Not many people know this. My weight dropped from 120 pounds to 75 pounds in less than two years. At 75 pounds, I had tremendous anxiety, insomnia, and my menstruation stopped completely. My extreme weight loss shocked my system to the extent that my organs were in survival mode. I grew little hairs that would keep me warm since I was cold all of the time due to lack of body fat. This is just part of it, but I’m not going to go into all the details here. I realized I needed to gain weight, and so I did. I added healthy fats into my diet. This was around the time that I enrolled in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where I learned about the importance of eating real healthy organic whole food. I ended up dabbling around in many different diets, primarily raw and vegan food which seemed to be a perfect complement to my yoga practice. Despite my holistic knowledge, I was still micromanaging my body and my diet. I was constantly fantasizing about my next meal and my next workout. My brain was on 24/7. No wonder I couldn’t sleep.
Okay, that’s the nutshell version, and I must say I’m pretty proud of myself for not writing a novel. ;-)
The reason I am sharing this is because I have actually mastered losing and gaining weight. It’s not hard to lose weight and it’s not hard to gain weight. Weight is actually not the issue. As I lost and gained weight, my mind was the same mind. I was judgmental and critical of myself no matter what weight I was at. I was never ‘good enough’, and there was always something to be ‘fixed’. It wasn’t until I developed a spiritual practice that I learned to co-habitate with my own body and start feeding myself from my heart instead of my mind. Our minds keep us stuck. Willpower is not the issue either. If your will is coming from the same mind that is judgmental and self-sabotaging, then it will not last. The mind must be modified. We must learn to love ourselves, even (and especially) when we don’t feel like it.
I will dare to suppose that we actually don’t want weight loss. We want peace of mind. We want to feel content. Happy. Loved. Accepted. It’s as if ‘balance’ is inherent in us and it’s just a matter of accessing our inner equilibrium, otherwise why would we strive to be healthy?
The rollercoaster journey of weight fluctuation finally ended when I embarked on a spiritual journey. I no longer saw my body as some problem that needed to be corrected but rather a divine temple through which the universe chose to exist. I literally feel like I’ve been reborn. How dare I not feed my body appropriately? Also, knowing that stress is one of the main root causes of many physical diseases (including inflammation and weight gain), I no longer entertain self-limiting or fear-based beliefs about myself. I have chosen to let go of my small controlling self and trust in my higher wisdom. We all have this wisdom. You have this wisdom… especially if you’re still reading. It’s in you right now. And you know it! It’s just a matter of shifting your awareness. Once your mind shifts, actions that follow will be different than before. They will feel effortless. I have been at the same weight for two years and eat in a relaxed way. I eat very healthy but am no longer obsessive. I feel strong, grounded and light in my body and, in return, the same way in my mind.
If you don’t have a spiritual practice, you can start now. Spiritual practice is nothing fancy. You don’t have to take a class or learn another language or become religious. You can start by writing your feelings in a journal, making a list of what you’re grateful for, taking a yoga class, carving out alone time for yourself each day with no distraction, taking a walk in nature, creating art, or making love. This may seem ‘woo-woo’, especially if you’re the type of person who wants a ‘plan’ for weight loss. Well I’m talking to you. You specifically. The plan is no plan. The plan is to start letting go a little bit. Slow down. Stop trying so hard. And enough being against yourself! This may be challenging, but hey, if nothing else seems to be working, then why not experiment?
When we only focus on the ‘outer’ and never address the ‘inner’ then it may seem like our health efforts are a losing battle. Only when we heal our relationship with ourselves is the door to wellness unlocked… and it will be unlocked forever.