One of the greatest challenges in my life has been maintaining a “healthy” weight. I put healthy in parentheses, because our modern medical establishment equates being overweight with becoming sick. And people love to blame excess weight on illness and death. The truth of the matter is, life, health, and death are a whole lot more complex than our sound bite crazed society understands. Modern medicine isn’t even aware of a huge piece of the life and death puzzle; and until they’re not only aware of the energetic/ spiritual component, but know how to help people create change in that realm, they’re only looking at part of a much bigger picture.
I grew up with a weight obsessed mother, who passed on her obsession to me. I started dieting when I was thirteen, believing I was fat, and have lost and regained more weight than my highest weight of over 300 lbs. When I look back at photos of my mother, she wasn’t overweight. There was something inside of her that was always unhappy. Something that was eased when she exerted control over herself by dieting, denying herself of the pleasure of eating, watching the numbers on the scale fall.
The thing is, she’d inevitably revert to her old way of eating, gain back the weight (all five to ten pounds of it), and the cycle of internal pain and control would start again.
By the time I hit my mid-thirties, I was much like everyone else, thinking that my being overweight equated with not having enough will-power; that there was something wrong with me. A veteran dieter, when I was well over 200 lbs., I joined Weight Watchers and lost about 45 lbs., only to gain it back after a few very stressful years.
I rejoined WW and suddenly couldn’t stick with the plan. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t do it. Something inside me rebelled so strongly that I just took a stand and stopped dieting. It was the first time I took stock of myself – my weight and dieting – and realized there was more to being overweight than just needing to have more self-control, more will-power. There was something else going on.
I’m an educated, intelligent person, who learned about what a proper diet looks like from an actual diet doctor. I’ve learned from a nutritionist, understand about calories and exercise, carbs, protein and fats, yet the more I focused on needing to lose weight, the heavier I became.
So I shifted my focus from the need to diet, to looking into why I’d eat when I wasn’t hungry; why when I was bored, frustrated, or feeling just about any other emotion, I’d eat and eat, nibble and nibble. The only time my appetite would completely shut off was when I was either extremely sad, or high on love.
My first big breakthrough came during a hypnotherapy session, when I was digging into why I kept trying to eat away uncomfortable feelings. During this particular session, as I followed the thread of the uncomfortable feeling, I found myself going back in time to when I was very, very young. As a scene appeared, I saw myself as a very young child and my (unmedicated) bipolar mother, who was likely manic, had once again directed her venom at me. (Her MO during mania was to verbally cut me down).
Because I was a very sensitive child, having my mother go off on me was extremely painful. I discovered that when I ate food, it shut off the pain.
Our third chakra, which is at the solar plexus area, is the energy center of self-empowerment. It’s where we get gut feelings about people, and it’s one of our major sensory systems that’s beyond our five senses. Having my mother go off on me was akin to a knife in the gut. When I couldn’t be myself, and was attacked for trying to just be me, it hurt. But that day, when my stomach was busy digesting food (same area of the body), my gut sensor was quieted. It worked! Food shut off my sensor so I didn’t feel the emotional pain.
Ever since then, when life became the least bit painful, or uncomfortable, food was my go-to. As a child, sugar was something I constantly craved. And as an adult, I craved things like bread, pasta, sweets, and dairy products.
Food very literally helped keep me alive. Not only my physical body, but it quieted an insatiable need that, if not met by something, would have probably meant eventual suicide. When I was in my teens and twenties, I dabbled with other means to try to fill the void, but nothing worked like food did. Not alcohol, smoking, pot, indiscriminate sex, shopping, bingeing and purging, or any other behavior that works for other people.
That day, looking through a window into my past, reaching back to that little girl in me, helping her understand that there was nothing wrong with her, that her behavior was perfectly age appropriate and her mother was sick, watching that part of me release the pain she’d carried for decades, was the first time I understood that all the food cravings weren’t some sort of moral weakness.
They were that little one inside of me doing her best to keep me alive.
I was able to connect to that part of myself in a way that dissolved the separation between us, freeing her, which freed me at the same time.
Since that day, I’ve addressed cravings for specific types of food, discovering more pieces to the puzzle of my weight. My weight has dropped as much as ninety pounds, and with the Kundalini awakening I’ve been going through, has risen a bit again. I know it will drop at some point, and one day, I might no longer be obese.
We, as humans, love to sit in judgment of others. It’s hard-wired into us. And each of us has hot-button issues that set us off. Because being obese is so visible, it’s an easy target. Just like seeing a person’s color, age, or gender. And when the medical establishment constantly tells us that being overweight is a bad thing, that it’s going to make us sick, and will end up killing us, people feel righteous around the issue. They have backing from a major institution in our society: the scientifically based medical field.
However, from my own perspective, when a person is obese, it’s most likely a sign that they’re carrying a bunch of unconscious, internal pain and disconnection from their heart.
If you or a person you know is obese and wants to lose weight, has tried many times, and can’t keep it off, (or has the reverse issue of dealing with anorexia) the best course of action to help them isn’t to sit in judgment of them or to shame them, but to educate society about the other side of the picture, the one our doctors aren’t taught about in medical school. And to help people heal their internal pain.
This actually goes for anyone dealing with any sort of addiction. The issue at heart is a hole in the soul that can only be filled with oneself. That’s what healing work does: reconnects a person to their heart and to their own energy/spirit.
The beauty of healing my own issues with food, has been lifting judgment I held against myself for most of my life. Beating myself up. It’s not the numbers on a scale that make us sick.
It’s the weight of self-judgment and criticism that cuts us off from our own life source energy; from unconditional love.