Dropping Weight

I wonder what the title of this post suggests to you. Perhaps, it might imply the idea of losing physical weight, by following some diet and exercise plan. But, if you thought for a moment, could it also mean something else to you?

Could it mean letting go of the things that weigh you down emotionally, intellectually, or spiritually?

For me, it does.

When I journaled recently about how life was going for me, I discovered several items that came up all had one common theme. They all represented things I felt were missing in my life, or at least it seemed so.

As I thought more about it more, it became clearer that, not only was it about things I felt I didn’t have and wanted, but it was also about things I had, but wanted to get rid of. It was both ends of the spectrum.

That seemed like a pretty significant challenge to try to work through.

That’s when an image appeared. Without thinking about it, I began drawing in the margins of my notebook. I started on the left side with a stick figure that represented me. I was under water and sinking quickly because I was holding a huge heavy weight in my arms. There were little air bubbles escaping my mouth and rising to the surface. I colored in the weight with my pen, making it darker, which gave me an even stronger sensation of descending. It felt oppressive and a sense of desperation began to form.

After a moment I started drawing a new figure in the right margin. It showed the same stick figure, but I had released the weight, which was descending rapidly downward. Once I’d dropped the weight from my arms, I began ascending, up, up, up, until my head broke the surface, and I could breathe again.

Ahhhh, what a relief.

I glanced back and forth between the two drawings, stunned at what they conveyed to me.

In one, I held onto the weight. In the other, I let it go. Could it get any simpler than that?

The outcome depended on a singular decision, which was entirely up to me. I wondered, is that really the case? Could it truly be that easy to change things in my life? Could it be that easy to change things in your life?

As I centered my gaze on the position of the weight in both pictures, the starkness of the difference seized me. On the left, I would not let go, so began sinking. On the right, I let go and began rising. I realized I was repeating my observation, but sometimes that’s necessary for me to actually understand things, even simple things.

So, what in my life weighs me down? And even more importantly, why do I allow this to happen? Why don’t I let go, especially when I know it will harm me in the end?

Of course, the ‘weight’ could be anything; the extra physical weight I carry, past emotional traumas, worries about getting day-to-day tasks completed, whether we’ll always have enough of what we feel we need, or anything else that runs through my mind, sometimes at warp speed.

It feels important to ask myself a question at this point. Will carrying this weight help me or hurt me? In many cases, the answer is obvious, it will hurt me.

So, what do I do about this? How do I just let go?

An answer forms inside me.

In every case where I feel weighed down, I sense there is a message for me. Something meant to illuminate me and guide me toward the surface, where there is air to breathe. Discovering the message then becomes very important to me. So, I began to spend time with each one, allowing them to unfold and offer their wisdom, so I can release them and rise to the surface.

Knowing I have the option to drop the weight makes all the difference to me.

Overeating

Overeating is a complicated affair.

Personally, I find that it happens to me when things are really challenging in my life. Part of me believes that I need more food and that it will help soothe me or satisfy some craving I have.

But what occurs instead is that I gain weight, experience painful acid reflux, and have very poor-quality sleep. You’d think these results would be enough to prevent me from continuing to overeat.

They aren’t. They don’t.

Another part of me enters the picture. I think to myself, this has to be easy to resolve, I’ll just eat more fruits and vegetables and fewer snacks and treats. Surely, this will make things better for me.

And perhaps this would be true if the part of me that wants to overeat wasn’t resistant. But it is.

There is a constant war of sorts between periods of control and excess.

I find it strange that while on vacation, I give myself permission to eat whatever and whenever I want. This of course leads to weight gain, but never as much as I would have anticipated, probably because my activity level is so high. So, maybe if I maintained this same level of activity after vacation it would be okay.

I don’t know about you, but this doesn’t work for me.

I ask myself, what’s really happening here?

I am struck immediately by one obvious answer. I am at peace on vacation. I don’t have hundreds of things I’m thinking about and feel the need to accomplish. I’m not emotional taxed on vacation.

This leads me to another observation and a more important set of questions.

What other reasons are contributing to my overeating? Are they emotionally based? Are they resolvable?

Am I hung up with my looks and how I see myself? Am I thinking about how others see me? Do I seek or need or want their approval? And if so, why?

To a degree overeating feels circular to me. There is a cause-and-effect riddle that faces me and asks to be addressed.

I’m tired of the game and want answers, so I decide to plunge in. I realize everyone’s situation is different and that you’ll want to substitute your own emotional clues, if mine don’t make sense to you. But it might prove helpful to read along and adjust where necessary.

For me, I believe overeating is emotionally based and arises inside me from different directions.

Judgements. The judgement process might begin with others, but over time I find that unless I’m very careful, I internalize others’ views and criticisms of me.

Comparisons. Whether initiated by others or ourselves, any form of comparison is damaging and unfair. We are all unique people and have our own paths to travel.

Ideals. Self-created or adopted from others, having specific ideals of exactly how we ‘should’ look, act or feel is extremely limiting and offers us no true way to feel good about ourselves.

Having considered these words, I am now more aware of their emotional impact on me and sense they are driving some of my emotional weight and desire to overeat.

If you give yourself a chance to sit and listen to your emotions, body, mind, and spirit, perhaps you’ll discover some reasons of your own.

In my next post I’d like to offer you one possible way to release any emotional weight you carry, whether from overeating or another source.

A Different Diet Plan

Does anyone know how many diets plans are out there?

It’s likely to be a big number and there may be lots of folks who’ve tried several. It’s tempting to assume that if someone has tried more than one, it means the first one didn’t work. Naturally, there may be a host of reasons for this, with some completely outside our control.

I am personally not an advocate for any specific diet plan, so you won’t find that kind of advice here, but what I would like to share is a belief that a successful diet plan is far more than which types of food you do and don’t eat.

It’s also about more than how much or when you eat. Of course, those things matter. So does the amount of exercise you get and how much water you drink.

Here’s what I wonder.

What about all the other things we take in daily and their impact on our physical, emotional, and spiritual bodies? What is the weight we carry from our continual exposure to a hurting world?

I’m curious about the effects created by our concerns, whether it’s our debts, relationships, jobs, money, health issues. Do they add weight?

I sense the answer is…yes, and in more ways than we suspect.

If you consider that we may work at a job that does not fulfill or reward us, have challenges managing our own or others physical issues, or are heavy laden with family responsibilities that don’t seem to end, it’s pretty clear why some diet plans fail.

Add to this that we often live in a fear-based world as reflected by our news and social media content.

Okay, let’s say we accept that the world can be a challenging place to live, especially if you’re adding the idea of losing weight to your to do list, isn’t our next question, what do we do about it?

I’d like to offer you a few ideas. Only you will know if any will work for you.

There are a lot of people in the world who would like to see you succeed in reaching your goals, whatever they might be. If you know who they are already, that’s wonderful news.

If you don’t have someone like that, perhaps right now is the time to find them. Whether it’s an existing or new friend, family member, counselor or another professional, you deserve to have support in your life. You are a unique and beautiful being and are meant to thrive in all ways. Sometimes for this to happen, you have to ask for help.

So, take a moment and consider, what do you want your life to be like? Are there some practical things you could change that would make it easier for you? Could it be as simple as beginning some new routines, like keeping a gratitude journal? Or maybe giving yourself five or ten minutes each day that’s just yours?

Perhaps your top concern is losing physical weight, but it might be helped along by losing the emotional or spiritual weight you are carrying. And maybe once you lose these, the physical weight can be released.

I confess, asking for help has always been difficult for me. Maybe it’s the same for you.

I am an eternal advocate for asking help from the divine. I know things can get a little messy here because there are so many names and concepts, but I ask only that you choose the one that feels most comfortable to you.

When I ask for help now, I offer my gratitude in advance because I know that the divine loves me and will always provide care and support, so I am thankful even before asking.

It’s a simple process…sitting quietly, closing my eyes, breathing slowly and evenly, and opening my mind and my heart, then asking for the help I need. If it feels right to you and you wish to try this, my profound hope is that you are able to release the weight of the world.