Most of us who struggle with weight can relate to these experiences.
I did the yo-yo dieting like the best of them – the Zone Diet, the Eat Right For Your Blood Type diet, the Atkins diet, the Overeaters Anonymous diet, the apple diet, the juice diet, Weight Watchers, counting calories, counting carbs, counting pounds, counting inches…
The food we eat isn’t the reason we don’t keep the weight off.
I’ve done yo-yo exercise like the best of them too. Oh, I’ve lost so much weight over the years with exercising – slow walking, fast walking, speed walking, aerobic dancing, step aerobics, zoomba, weights, cycling, running, jogging... I ran three marathons in one year once. The problem is exactly that, though – who runs three marathons in a year besides serious marathoners? Yo-yo exercisers.
The exercise we don’t do also isn’t the reason we don’t keep the weight off.
That’s what it’s really about, isn’t it? It’s not losing weight, it’s keeping it off. We lose, we gain, we feel bad. We lose, we gain, we feel bad. And in the meantime we are putting more and more of a strain on our body, our joints, our hearts both literal and figurative.
Struggling with weight loss starts in the head. It starts with a picture of yourself as you “should” be. You tell yourself you’re fat, you’re ugly, you’re useless, you’re whatever – or others tell you those things - and you repeat those messages to yourself until you make the outer image fit the inner one.
I’ve been a size 16 and I’ve been a zero. Right now I hover around a size 6-7 and I’m happy with that. I’ve stayed this weight for almost 10 years now, or at least within a 10-lb weight range. Yes, I fluctuate, and some days I do feel fat, but the difference now is that I don’t have any judgment around it. When I feel fat, I know it just involves some adjustments and I won’t feel that way anymore. That’s all. Simple. It just is what it is. No drama inside my head anymore. And no hating my body anymore. Feeling fat and judging the heck out of yourself are two completely different things; they do not go hand-in-hand. I know that now.
What happened to change everything for me was a deep dive into my own spirituality. Because struggling with weight loss is a spiritual struggle. It starts deep inside with messages we tell ourselves, messages of not-good-enough, not-attractive, not-deserving, not-valuable, not-worthy. We have messages of should, should, should – which amounts to condemn, condemn, condemn. And so we respond to those messages by “hiding” – adding more pounds on, proving ourselves “right.”
Weight struggles aren’t about being fat. Many “skinny” people have the same exact issues – illustrating perfectly that the issue isn’t one of weight. It’s one of self worth. And you can diet your whole life but until you learn that the struggle is a spiritual one, you will always have the same struggle inside.
What we really want is just to love ourselves and be loved.
Programs like Weight Watchers are successful because of the group support model. Group support is so valuable – it keeps you accountable and gives you cheerleaders. But what happens when the cheerleaders aren’t there?
We need to be our own cheerleaders. We need to learn to love every part of us. And that can’t happen without deep spiritual exploration – into the messages of hatred that we have learned as a culture to be okay with. It can’t happen until we are willing to consider that we ourselves are valuable on our own, regardless of our size, our job, our gender.
The truth within us is that we are worthy. We deserve love, we deserve our own love.
We can’t lose weight and keep it off and be happy without a deep exploration into our own spirituality of value. Once we reach this place, we can then go back to the nutrition and the exercise, but this time from a place of worth, a place of self love, a place of calm. We will learn to love the food that loves us and to love the exercise that loves us. And this time we will lose the weight – and keep it off - not because we hate ourselves but because we love ourselves.
If you are interested in joining a weight-loss circle that will explore the above issues as well as provide both nutrition and fitness support, please go to "Classes and Workshops" for more information.