Frankly, I never expected to address weight loss on this blog.
I mean, yes, it’s a problem I’ve had, but it’s never been severe; and anyway (I tell myself) it’s such a mundane issue, no one wants to hear about my latest attempt to diet… And it’s such a simple thing — all I have to do (I tell myself) is get a little more discipline and the problem will simply disappear!
But I’ve been searching for that “little bit of discipline” for twenty years…
Regular readers will, I’m sure, be delighted to know that I haven’t changed my mind. I will not be addressing my weight problem on this blog.
Instead, Kara-Leah Masina, in an amazing display of generosity of spirit, will be addressing my weight problem on her blog.
A Healthy Relationship with Food
When I read Kara-Leah’s article on healing your relationship with food, I was thunderstruck. I had never before considered my weight problem to be a spiritual issue.
Well, to be fair: I had never seriously considered the idea. Naturally I’d heard of Christian weight loss programs, in which you acknowledge that this body is part of God’s universe and you’d better treat it right, but that always seemed to me to be nothing more than the World’s Biggest Guilt Trip. No offense meant to those for whom it’s worked: that’s awesome! But it wouldn’t be my cup of tea, even if I were Christian.
But from Kara-Leah’s perspective — in which we are spiritual beings having a physical experience — the Body is a reflection of the Spirit; it’s the form that the spirit has chosen; it is a reflection of spiritual health. If the body is unhealthy somehow, that’s a mirror of your spiritual state; it’s an indicator of your spirit’s relationship with physical reality.
Kara-Leah gives a magnificent example in her second post on the topic:
My entire life I had six-pack abs contrasted with well-padded hips and thighs. The percentage of fat on my body would be low (sometimes even around 15!) and still I would have larger hips. It didn’t matter what I ate, or what exercise I did, the hips stayed. Of course, friends and strangers were envious of my abs, and dying to have them, but as I didn’t do sit-ups, I couldn’t explain it.
Lately, as a result of my yoga practice and personal development I have begun to understand that this physical manifestation of my body (which started at around age 12 – prior to that I was skinny all over and my abs were “normal”) represented the way that I processed and dealt with emotions and feelings.
I prided myself on being in control and this meant suppressing all emotions – literally stuffing them down into my hips and holding on tight with my abs to keep them there. I was a control freak, and it manifested in the way I energetically held myself, holding the torso tight. This death grip on my emotions eventually led to a herniated disc at L4/5. The doctors couldn’t explain this physically as there was no reason for it, but I understand now that my grip on my emotions was creating constant pressure on my lower back!
I’ve worked through this in my yoga practice recently with backbends. Fear of lack of support (money issue right there) and not trusting my spine to hold me up meant that when I went into a back bend, I gripped with all my might on the front side of my body. But when you bend back, you soften the front of your body and allow your spine to support and lift you, grounding down through the hips and lifting up through the sternum. (Which also means opening the heart.)
Changing how I bent back created changes in my body. My abs are softening now, while still maintaining strength. My back is growing stronger by the week.
Now, I realise this is a long example, but the point is – to REALLY understand how you manifest physically you have to come to understand yourself inside out – literally! No one else can do this work for you. Yoga really helps. So does meditation. And so does just BEING CONSCIOUS.
When I read this, I realized I had a monumental task in front of me. I’ve been overweight since puberty, bouncing around between 200 and 230 pounds, frequently flirting with obesity. While I love exercise — particularly yoga and jogging — my relationship with food is very unhealthy. I have almost no control over it. Wrapped around this problem is a heavy layer of guilt and desperation: heart disease and obesity both run in my family, and I know the older I get, the harder it will be to change my habits.
After reading Kara-Leah’s articles, I began to realize why my attempts to control my weight have been failing. I’ve been trying to use my raw willpower to effect change; but if my physical manifestation is a reflection of my inner self, willpower just won’t cut it. The inner self must change first. The body will follow after, effortlessly.
Mission: Physical Manifestation Overhaul
It’s going to be a huge project, and it will certainly be a very meaningful one for me — personally, emotionally, spiritually. In most cases, embarking on a spiritual project like this, my instinct would be to blog about it — and thereby explore it in a form that would clarify my thoughts and allow others to comment and explore it with me. But in this case it doesn’t seem like a good fit for the Druid Journal. I don’t post more than three times per week, and I don’t want every second or third post here to be about my waistline. This blog isn’t primarily about personal development or self-improvement; and while I certainly think that kind of thing has an important place here — especially taken from a spiritual point of view — I don’t want to skew the content too far in that direction.
So I asked Kara-Leah if she’d be interested in doing some co-blogging on the topic. She posts very frequently, bless her!, and one post a week about spiritual weight loss wouldn’t overburden her site. She graciously accepted, thereby earning my eternal gratitude! And we started hammering out the details. Others have chimed in with their own perspectives and advice, and it’s becoming very clear to me that I have a long, long way to go… But also that I have some very dear and very generous friends out there.
It is not going to be easy. I have twenty years of habits and thinking to dig through. I’m going to be meditating, manifesting, law-of-attractioning, and cleaning out the musty corners of my subconscious. If you have a similar problem, or think you might, consider dropping by Kara-Leah’s site weekly to check out our email correspondence and track my progress. It’s our greatest wish that the fruits of our labor will be cause for hope and the seeds of change for others in my situation.
Note: it will be the fruit of my labor and the fruit of Kara-Leah’s labour, since I’m in the United States and she’s in New Zealand. Just wanted to make that clear.
Note 2: This is now a very old post, and a lot of the information is out of date. The dead links have been removed or replaced. You can read some updates on this experiment here. Kara-Leah’s current site is here.