How to Make Weight-Loss a Spiritual Practice
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Do you resent your weight or food issue? Do you feel upset with yourself for being overweight and not being able to lose the kilograms?
It’s easy to feel despondent and fall into self-blame, but that just makes the problem worse. Wouldn’t it be a better idea to chuck out the blame and welcome the weight issue as something positive – as an invitation to step into enlightenment?
The people who do the best at natural weight loss are those who look beyond the extra kilograms and view their weight issue as a chance to do inner work. Food is never the issue – it is always your mind and your relationship with yourself. I want to show you that weight loss can be a spiritual practice. Here are some pointers to get started:
1. Open to awareness
People with food issues often ‘tune out’ while eating – it’s like they go into a trance and aren’t aware of what they are doing. A spiritual path is about becoming more conscious, so why not use your meal times as an opportunity to become really aware of what you are doing? Savour every mouthful. Notice the physical and emotional sensations as you eat. Let eating become a meditation. When you become more aware, you will begin to pick up on those signals coming from your tummy saying that you’re full. Then simply stop eating.
2. Fill inner voids
The aim of a spiritual practice is to lead you to the calm place within yourself where you know you are OK exactly as you are. People with food issues, however, often feel an emptiness inside that they try to fill with food. Actually, most people have this same emptiness, but they might just fill it in other ways. So begin by bringing awareness to the emotions that drive you to eat more than you should. Is it boredom, loneliness, frustration, guilt? Reach into your core and fill yourself with positive emotion.
3. Break free from the religion of calorie counting
When veteran dieters tell me about their regimes I begin to think of someone in a very strict religion. Don’t eat fat, it’s a sin. Don’t eat more than a handful, it’s a sin. Don’t have full cream milk, it’s bad. Don’t have pasta, it’s evil. Actually, what a load of nonsense. The food is not the problem – it’s the food addiction that causes all the trouble. Just laying on a whole lot of rules is not going to solve this. So take a leap of faith and realise that food is good and you are good, and stop punishing your body with those diets!
4. Trust that your body knows what it needs
The reason you have to count calories is because you can’t hear your body’s natural signals of hunger and satisfaction. Bring awareness to you eating, savour every mouthful, and keep checking in to ask, “Am I still hungry, or am I full.” Your body is part of a well-tuned universe – it knows exactly what’s good for it.
5. Do the inner work
Finally, do the inner work to resolve underlying emotional triggers. It can help to see a coach or therapist to process those deeper feelings and hurts. Think of it as going to a priest or minister or guru. Let this be part of your practice.
In working with weight you are working with your deep life purpose. You are uncovering all the places where you are out of love with yourself. This work might take a lifetime. But if you can look at your weight-loss as a spiritual practice, then you will have the comfort of knowing you are fulfilling your purpose and are actually right on track. When you are spiritually and emotionally fulfilled, you won’t need to fill yourself with food. It’s as simple as that.
Russel Brownlee is a writer, hypnotherapist and life coach. Visit http://inspiredcoaching.co.za for more articles and inspiration.
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