Have you ever thought about how amazing the human body is? Honestly, it’s mindboggling.
One of the really cool things I admire about the human body is that it gives us information. Sometimes I think we humans look at our bodies like they’re something we have to endure. But truly, we couldn’t be alive on this planet without it and no matter what our body looks like, we really should be honoring and listening to what it has to tell us.
For instance, excess weight can be an indication that the body is out of balance.
But as the human beings that we are, we want to be in control. If my body is overweight, then it’s my job to whip it into shape and lose however many pounds I say I should lose.
Have you ever thought about how we decide what that number should be? The number of pounds we need to lose? “Ten, I need to lose ten pounds” you’ll say. “Oh, if I could only lose fifteen pounds, I’d feel so much better.” Why not twelve or nine? Why not twenty-three? So that’s a question I have. Where does the number of pounds we want to lose come from? And honestly, do you really need to lose weight?
But if you think you have weight to lose, I believe the more important question is, "What’s the cause of my weight gain?" Because if the body can give us information and I think I’m carrying extra weight, then shouldn’t my body be able to tell me why? I believe it can.
Perhaps you like to eat sweets. So yes, sweets could be a source of weight gain. But that’s not really answering the question of ‘what’s causing my weight gain’. You may eat sweets because they fill you in a way nothing else can. They give you pleasure, joy, and a feeling of ahhh. There’s nothing wrong with that. You’ve figured out a way to fill a need.
What can become problematic is when you say, “I have to lose ten pounds and I eat too many sweets so I have to stop eating them.” That’s a formula for failure in so many ways.
Think about it. You eat sweets because they give you something you don’t have and you cut them out of your life. What happens to that part of you that needed the love, the pleasure, that wanted to feel the joy? When you stop eating sweets, you’ve basically abandoned yourself. The need didn’t go away, you’ve simply cut the need off from its only source of love. How are you going to fill that need now?
This is why trying to control what you eat without understanding the underlying need can be risky. You’re really creating a pressure cooker. Chances are pretty good there will come a point where you can’t stand it anymore and you’ll eat every sweet in sight and go out of your way for more. Or you might substitute with something else to fill the need. The picture isn’t at all pretty.
But it can be avoided.
Get quiet, go within, and ask yourself the question, “What is my weight trying to tell me?” Allow yourself to be open, vulnerable, and curious. Let yourself get messy. There’s an answer inside you, a small voice that’s been waiting for you. Stream of consciousness writing may be helpful.
By being in relationship with this part of yourself, you can learn why it's asking for your attention. There will be tears for sure and moments of aha.
Being in relationship with your body is a whole lot different than trying to control what you eat in a restrictive way. It’s been my experience that the part of you that’s relying on sweets or other external needs to feel nourished would truly prefer to feel nourished by you.