Myth 1) Weight gain or issues = BAD
If you are anything like me, you view excess weight (or perceived excess weight) as a problem. It’s bad, it’s disgusting and it’s an issue. We want to remove it, burn it, attack it and kick its ass. The problem is that this is a very negative and one-sided way of looking at weight and body image. Issues around weight are no more than your body getting your attention; an entryway into showing you something that you need, whether it be compassion, self love, a less stressed lifestyle or a better relationship with food. If you are looking at your current body weight as something that you need to fix or something that you despise, the weight isn’t the actual issue. It is your reaction to the issue that can lead you to healing and growth. Looking for the larger meaning to your weight issues can bring you deeper into yourself and offer you the most beautiful journey into healing, leading us to far more gifts than just getting rid of some fat cells.
Myth 2) Weight loss is as simple as calories in, calories out.
Weight loss, unlike many health professionals tell us, is about a lot more than just calories in, calories out. The human body, as we are finally starting to learn and apply to all forms of medicine and healing, is much more complex than just the physical parts: thoughts and other things that we can’t physically identify have a huge impact on our bodies. Negative thoughts can greatly affect our body’s ability to metabolize food and run efficiently. Self-judgments such as “I’m not good enough,” “Life is hard and cruel,” and “I’m all alone in this world,” negatively affect the body’s ability to function. Negative thoughts act as stressors and actually cause levels of cortisol and insulin (hormones released when stressed) to rise. Continuous raised levels of stress hormones cause the body to perform much less efficiently and at a lower performance level. SO, and here’s the real kicker, any weight loss strategy that is not fun, is depriving, or you have to push yourself to do, is ultimately causing you more stress!!! Yes, you might lose some weight because of a drastic diet change, but in the long run, it’s just putting more emotional stress on you.
Myth 3) Moving away from weight gain and issues is the goal.
Doing any weight loss process that is inherently negative, i.e. restricting, low pleasure diets (have you ever been excited to eat a rice cake??), excess exercise or negative reinforcement to lose the weight, is really just causing more stress to the body. It’s the energy that we do things on that matters the most, not what we do: moving AWAY from weight gain and feeling fat is a negative vibration, yet moving towards feeling healthier, freer, lighter and more vibrant is very positive. Do you see the difference? Moving away from your real or perceived excess weight also is really you saying, “the way I am right now is bad.” (see Myth #1). In other words, losing weight isn’t about running from the weight and losing the “enemy,” it is about loving your body and coming into who you are authentically; lightening up on an emotional level, not only on a physical level.
Myth 4) The main reason we want to lose weight is to fit better into our clothes.
While this is certainly one aspect of it, most people, including myself, think that if we lose weight, life will get better. We want more confidence, more beauty, more love, more fun; we want to feel lighter and freer, etc. Well, weight has nothing to do with those things. It seems like it does, but truly it doesn’t. Really what I think most of us are saying is that we want to be more involved in life; we want to live more fully. Somehow, we think that weight loss is a doorway into this. But I don’t think this is true! We can get to the state that we want to be in without losing the weight, and losing the weight is usually a lovely addition to being in that state. Or, when we are happier, we won’t feel the need to lose weight because it won’t be what we are focused on! Either way, it is a win-win situation.
Myth 5) We can love ourselves fully, once we lose the weight; then life will be great.
Going along with Myth 4, a common thought is that “if only I were a little slimmer, I would absolutely think I was beautiful and worthy of having a full life.” But until we get into the present moment, and really sink into it and accept it, how are we going to get into future moments? If we can’t truly accept and appreciate what we have now, we are always going to strive for “better.” How many people do you know who are, in your eyes, slim and beautiful, and actually prize their bodies and themselves? I don’t know many people like that- and I think it’s because there is always something better, something more and something more beautiful that we can strive to achieve. All of this really means that we are throwing away the present and the life in each moment. We aren’t letting ourselves truly live because we think there is something wrong with us. Well, I challenge myself and you to start loving and accepting what we have NOW. We are beautiful, worthy, deserving whole creatures RIGHT NOW. I might not have the body I want or be at the weight I would like to be, but that is OK, because I am a lovable being. I have compassion and love for myself in this moment. I am perfect just the way I am.a spiritual approach to weight loss.