You assume that the most critical thing about you that needs to change is your body. You need to get rid of excess fat. Granted, no longer being obese will require that you release excess weight. Your body will need to change. However, I’ve rarely met anyone who didn’t know how to lose weight and hadn’t done it many times. In fact, most of the women I’ve worked with know enough about diet and exercise to teach their own weight loss programs. Couldn’t you write a book with everything you know about calories, carbs, fats, and proper dieting behavior like chewing very s-l-o-w-l-y? You and your diet-buddy girlfriend would probably have enough for a three-volume set, right?
So you know that having the knowledge about what to eat and what exercises to do is not enough. You’ve had the experience of your body changing, perhaps even dramatically, but that also was not enough to keep the weight off. So what is enough? What really needs to change in you in order for you to lose weight for good?
The answer to this question is tricky to recognize because what really needs to change is completely invisible to you and just about everyone else. It’s weightless and all but imperceptible to the untrained eye. As such it’s impossible to track by your usual methods. A scale can’t measure it. A measuring tape won’t register a difference. And body fat calipers are useless.
What changes is You.
But You don’t change because you finally get control of You. You change because you finally discover and lovingly embody You.
Rather than forcing, depriving, pushing, judging, and punishing yourself into a different body size (which is as ridiculous and effective as withholding water and sunshine from a rose bush until it produces roses), the True Transformation of You flourishes within conditions of kindness, openness, curiosity, and welcoming of what’s true and unique about You.
So how did we get stuck in this Myth of Mind Over Matter? Some blame old Rene Descartes for the mind/body split, some point to the Judeo-Christian traditions. Surgeon and author of Alphabet vs. The Goddess, Leonard Shlain suggests Descartes’ theory and Western religious edicts were the effects of something more primary and more global – a dramatic change in the human brain. He posits that the invention and discovery of literacy and the proliferation of reading and books (one of the first and most impactful of which was the Bible), caused a rapid development of the left hemisphere of the brain. This heavily developed left brain, he posits, is the source of our modern cultural tendency to emphasize a linear, logical, structured masculine perspective over the wholistic, relational, emotional, fluid feminine perspective.
Regardless of the actual reason for the imbalance between left-right hemisphere and masculine-feminine aspects of ourselves, it is clear that the Impermanent Approach to Weight Loss is ruled by the left brain perspective. Under the left-brained, masculine approach we embrace black and white thinking. We’re on a diet or we’re off, we’re a success or a failure, we’re eating the good food or the bad food. Our goal is to adhere to a particular food structure for which we expect fast, linear results. To stay in the game we ignore, control, or repress our emotions. Adapting Tom Hanks’ famous line from A League of Their Own, “There’s no crying in weight loss.”
What’s missing for all of us, but particularly women, is support for weight loss from our right hemisphere. I see miracles happen when women learn to attune to themselves, process their emotions, understand the relationship of parts of the issue to the whole, and make space for themselves. Ultimately, we need both hemispheres, both masculine and feminine aspects of ourselves to be in right relationship to each other, in order to have a productive and harmonious experience within ourselves.
Like too much of any good thing, indulging our logical minds to the extreme has left us deeply disconnected from ourselves. Because in the system we use in the Impermanent Approach to Weight Loss (which we’ll uncover just ahead) there is no right hemisphere. There’s just the mind and the mind knows all.
For example, you say, “I know I should eat better. I know I should exercise more. I know I should eat less sugar and more vegetables. I know I need to lose weight.” Yep. The mind knows all right. But you still have your little problem, don’t you? So there must be something else inside you, in opposition to this knowing of what is right and good and true. “Yes! It’s this crazy body! It’s like it has a mind of its own and it’s always wanting to go in the opposite direction of where I know I should go.”
So you come to feel you have these two opposing parts inside yourself. Your smart mind that knows how to get the chaos under control and the wild, impulsive matter of your body that wants what it wants no matter the cost.
For two thousand years the church has warned us about the “sins of the flesh” that took down the pagans. Now, whether you’re church folk or not, you’ve come to believe that your body and everything that happens down there, is not to be trusted. You believe that being adult means you keep control of yourself from the watchtower atop your neck. Or, if you’re a rebel, you defy all rules and suffer under an inability to set limits of any kind on yourself, even if your life depends on it.
You’re so used to this battle of opposing forces inside yourself that you take it for granted as a fact of life. Trying to lose weight is the ultimate showdown for these parts. Your mind comes up with plans, strategies, shopping lists, and schedules and your body wants nothing to do with any of it.
You think you’ll find peace when the mind with its rigid discipline, deprivation, and control finally wins the war. But that never happens. And for good reason. That’s not life, that’s death. Tragically, anorexics know all too well what it’s like for the mind to win.
But because this myth operates invisibly as part of the way you usually approach weight loss, you don’t question it. If you can’t get control of yourself, you think there must be something wrong with you or that last diet or your body. Often your self-esteem takes a big hit.
If you were able to stop yourself from being carried along by the momentum of this system, you might ask, “How could one part of me fighting to the death with another part of me ever result in a state of inner harmony?”
It can’t and it makes no sense, even to your logical mind, when you think about it. Rather than casting out bad, troublesome parts of yourself, Taking Your True Shape is more like a welcome home celebration where everyone brings their gifts for the benefit of all. As you’ll soon learn when we leave the Impermanent Approach to Weight Loss behind, your body is a treasure chest full of what will ultimately bring you the happiness – and peace, strength, power, compassion, trust, and more – that your deepest heart desires. Your mind has been fighting against the very place you will find what you thought only being thin could give you.
In the Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle speaks clearly about how essential the body is in True Transformation:
“The fact is that no one has ever become enlightened through denying or fighting the body or through an out-of-the-body experience. Although such experiences can be fascinating and can give you a glimpse of the state of liberation from the material form, in the end you will always have to return to the body, where the essential work of transformation takes place. Transformation is through the body, not away from it. This is why no true master has ever advocated fighting or leaving the body, although their mind- based followers often have.”
We’re seeing what makes up the dominant and Impermanent Approach to Weight Loss. We’re seeing that it reinforces and perpetuates the false self. It’s not addressing anything to do with You. You are completely left out of the equation. All the focus is on what you eat, what you weigh, what’s happening with your body on a very external, superficial level.
However, it’s not just you. In Part 2, you’ll see why everyone keeps unconsciously following a strategy that actually CANNOT lead you to long term success – the System of the Lie.
Have you approached resolving your issues with food and weight from a Mind Over Matter perspective?
How has that worked or not worked for you?
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