More often than not, weight gain isn't just a physiological issue. The reasons why we overeat, indulge in foods that aren't good for us and lack the motivation to exercise are a lot more emotionally based than we care to admit. It's interesting then, that most of us still keep trying to use the same old conventional approach to weight loss. We still focus on diet and exercise to resolve our weight issues knowing that there's a good chance our will power will cave before we ever make it to our weight loss goals. Every personal trainer knows that the fitness program they provide is only a part of their clients' success. What matters more, is the trainer's ability to encourage, motivate and provide the emotional support that keep clients' coming back until their goals have been achieved.
Let's face it, eating isn't just about nourishing the body, it's what we do to feel good. We visit friends over lunch or sit down with family for a meal. Food is central to many social activities, so it's not surprising that it can be associated with many positive feelings and can even be used as a substitute for human connection, companionship and pleasure. For many, our mother's meal preparation symbolizes her love, nurturing and security. Eating can not only take the physical sensation of emptiness away but it can also relieve the emotional emptiness in our lives. It can be used as a comfort for feeling unsupported or to mitigate an inner loneliness.
A client of mine told me a story about when she was a little girl. Her parent's moved into a new neighbourhood--a prestigious, more image conscious neighbourhood. She suddenly went from a free spirited child playing in the streets with her friends to an awkward self conscious tween hiding in her beautiful house with nothing to do. Food became her comfort, her companion, her excitement. As she gained weight she became even more image conscious and felt completely inadequate.
In energetic terms, this would be considered an issue of the 3rd chakra. The 3rd chakra represents the self--self image, self esteem, self love and self acceptance. When we are hurting and imbalanced in this area we want to hide, we believe we are not good enough, we're afraid of rejection and criticism and we feel ashamed.
As my client and I worked through our session, she realized that she desperately wanted deep emotional connections with people yet she was terrified to let anyone in too close because she was so ashamed of who she was. She felt too fat, too ugly, too screwed up and too needy. Like with any 3rd chakra trouble, she was her own worst critic. She judged herself harshly and then comforted herself with food. Midway into our session, she had an epiphany. She realized that as a child, the only thing she had for enjoyment was food. "Everything else had been ripped away," she said. She was suddenly filled with compassion for what she, as a little girl, had lived. The compassion created an interesting calm within her. She stated out loud, "my little girl feels understood and supported, she doesn't need to placate with food right now." For the first time in my client's life, she stopped hating and judging the little person that was still living inside of her. She conceded to proceed with gentleness and acceptance towards herself. For the first time, the notion that perhaps she is good enough wasn't met with a drop dead, drag out fight of self loathing and resistance.
It seems to be a complete paradox to accept the very things we dislike most about ourselves, but healing the 3rd chakra requires this of us. Once we are able to accept ourselves for what we perceive to be our most shameful qualities, we find those shameful qualities fade into the background. It's only then that we can embrace a level of self esteem, self acceptance and love that we have never experienced before... and there is always more.
For more information about Dawn's upcoming Weight Loss Talk
in Regina, SK, click here.