Why can't my body be well adjusted ... like I so desire it to be?
This is a question that I've struggled with for the majority of my life.
The other day as I googled the words "spiritual weight loss" the reality hit me that I've gained and lost the same 30 lbs over and over again for roughly 30 years now. I'd like to say that I'm ready to break up with them permanently, but I have to wonder if that's really true. I'm painfully aware of the emotional strings tied to my struggle with weight and, with that in mind, I must admit that these 30 lbs have served as my cushion for many a proverbial fall over the years. They have been my protector from intimacy and sexuality when I wasn't at ease with it and have acted as insulation when emotions/feelings have gotten a bit too extreme for comfort. This weight that I have had a tendency to hang onto has served a purpose... not unlike that of the cardboard coffee cup sleeve that one wraps around their Starbucks so to temper the heat of the contents inside the cup from one's hand. Well intended, for sure. However, these 30 lbs have also acted as a mental hurdle between where I am and where I want to be; they have managed to keep me from my inner most desire of being truly in love with the body that my mind and spirit have been blessed to dwell inside of for these 49+ years.
I have anguished over finding the key to balance regarding my weight since I was a preteen girl stuck in the purgatory of self-discovery and self-loathing that for centuries our society has deemed as a fair place to put our girls just as they are poised to enter womanhood. (I believe there's a very purposeful societal method to that madness along the lines of "if they're broken, they'll be easier to tame and control," btw. But, that's a topic for another day.) I remember my first diet very well...it came from one my mother's Good Housekeeping magazines. I can recall coming across it while in the bathroom one day and thinking something like, "Yes! This is it! Losing weight will make me feel happy again." I was around 12 years old, my body and mind still innocent and naive. I believe I lost around 15 lbs on my inaugural diet, which was substantial for my per-adolescent body...and noticeable. The results of my first go at dieting produced lots of praise and acknowledgement for my "accomplishment," of which I was apparently starved for (pun intentional). After that the boys at junior high school stopped thinking of me as chubby. And, even though I know now that a preadolescent male brain is far from grounded in reality ... at that particular time it felt really good to my preadolescent female brain to be deemed "pretty" vs "fat." And, so it began...the chasing of my own personal dragon.
After that my weight stayed relatively even for several years (except for when I lost way too much weight way too quickly at the age of 13 right before being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Probably not coincidental that THAT happened at the time in my life, either. But, again...another topic). Of course, I could never let my eye off of the scale for too long, though...I didn't know how to be comfortable in my skin and I sure as hell didn't know how to trust by body... AT ALL. A few years later and I was off to college to study food & nutrition (I kid you not!). While I was there I gained the notorious freshmen 15 (which is actually more like 20), which was a direct path for me to be reintroduced to the torturous mental self-hatred that likes to revolve around me being overweight. Immediately upon finishing college and returning home I felt desperate to do something to reclaim my body...however, I still knew little about trusting myself and my own body, so NutraSystem became my pusher. Three months later I traded those 20 pounds, plus an extra 15 for the hell of it, for more praise for how great I looked. (Way more praise then I remember getting for receiving my Bachelor of Science degree the prior Spring, actually. Disturbing, now that I think about it.) Everyone I encountered on a regular basis - not just those closest to me - seemed to have an opinion on my weight loss. This time, however, I didn't really like the attention that I got very much...not like I did the first time. It felt superficial and kind of creepy to me, to be perfectly honest and I often felt totally uncomfortable. But, even still, I stayed committed to the "new me," keeping most of the weight off for years- albeit my constant tinkering with 5 - 10 that would creep up on me if I wasn't super-duper careful. UGH. Exhausting.
Next I entered my baby-bearing phase of life (two, to be exact), followed by my post-baby body. Unfortunately, my post-baby body didn't willing release the baby-weight while nursing like I was promised it would by my doula, my midwife and my Ob/Gyn. (Wouldn't trade my babies - who are no longer babies - OR nursing them for the world... just to be clear, but still...damn it!!!) So...my old 30 lb friend was back. The acknowledgement of the tightness of my non-maternity clothes around my waist again tripped my internal mental trigger. Not only did I feel completely fat, but I also felt weak and out of touch with my body. My internal loop of: "you're undisciplined, you're unfocused, you're unattractive..." played on repeat. Addicted to comparing myself to others in a big way, I climbed back into my 30 lbs of fat like an old snowsuit that one pulls out when the snow gets too deep to walk in without getting messy. It felt bulky and hard to move around in most of the time, for sure...but it also felt familiar and it kept me safe from the elements. So, there I stayed... in that holding pattern for quite a while. Beating myself up multiple times daily over my body-fail. I would have-at a diet of some sort for a bit and trim off some of the fat, only to put at least some of it back on. Clearly, I was not hitting the mark.
Fast forward to a few years back when I started on a voyage inward that led me to a lot of truths about myself. During that time I made a pact with myself to really feel whatever emotion or feeling it was that I was experiencing at the time and to embrace it. To "love" it...just for being there. To let it flow through me without any judgement as to whether it was a "good" or "bad"...understanding intuitively that all emotions and feelings are merely energy - energy that deserves and demands to be acknowledged, whether we want to or not. During that time in my life I also began to shed weight rather effortlessly. It was not my mission, but rather my body's natural reaction to "experiencing" verses pushing aside all that was going on inside of me. Naturally people started to ask me what I was doing to lose weight (a question that always makes me feel uncomfortable for some reason). My response was typically, "I eat when I'm hungry and stop when I'm full." Granted, that was a very incomplete elevator story version of the truth, I know...but at the time it was all I could really offer. I would not call that a particularly peaceful time for me in my life. It was, however, a very powerful and energetically productive time for me...a time when I discovered that feeling highs and lows felt real - and "real" looked pretty good on me. At that point in my life I wanted so much to believe that I'd conquered my demon...that I knew "the secret" of being me and that I would no longer be tricked into chasing MY dragon. Sadly, that's not how the story is playing out.
Today, here I am - a pre-menopausal 49 year old woman who, due in part to a bum retail knee which vastly changed my daily physical activity allotment, once again wearing my 30 lb "friend" like an albatross around my gut. And, even though I so want to be honoring my maturing body as it stands on the cusp of its next big adventure, instead I feel angry at and betrayed by it. Through my frustration and longing to get control (ugh! I do not like that word much...but it is what it is) over this human vessel that I inhabit, I have done some things that I promised that I would never do again. I have restricted carbs...I have counted calories...I have psudo-dieted. I even beefed up my exercise routine when my knee got back to the point of tolerating it. None of which led to much, if any, actual weight-loss. (As a side-note, I did get back to my yoga practice and added regular morning head-clearing, jump-start-the-day walks with one of my very best bffs...and those things I feel very good about!) Still, the extra pounds keep hanging close...and keep trying to lure me back onto the full-fledged diet merry-go-round - I'm talkin Weight Watcher style. Honestly, I'm really disappointed in myself for even considering it. Because, even though I'm bum-knee deep in all of this weighty bullshit, deep down I know full well that there is so much more to these 30 lbs being on my body than just weight. I want to forever resist the old diet traps that have become nothing more than thoughtless tactics for me to avoid digging deep into this issue. I want to find a higher ground and be there with myself for whatever length of time it takes to truly heal my body, mind and spirit of this deep wound; a wound that clearly was inflicted on my psyche long ago.
To sum up, I'd like to say that I know for sure that I'm not alone in my search for a way to find peace and balance with my weight in a non-diet manner. So... armchair psychiatrists, energy workers, spiritual healers, etc...this is an invitation to you to have a go and let me know what your heart is telling you regarding my question of "why weight?" Please...have at it! Obviously, I've got some major chakra work to do (3rd, for sure!)...and I'm very ready, willing and open to that. Any particular suggestions on that part please, fire away. Maybe some visits to a pranic healer are in my near future...I'd love and appreciate hearing any experience you may have had with that and/or any recommendations for one in the Pottstown area. Mostly, I'd like for us - women to women - to just start and keep being real about all of this with ourselves and with each other...
because real happens to look pretty damn good on ALL of us! :*
Peace & Ommmmmm Always,