We do a bizarre thing with weight loss success in our dieting culture. Yet it’s so common we don’t even realize how crazy it is. Let me use an example to show you what I mean.
Let’s say you walk into a beautiful new custom home. The owner built it himself. You are amazed at the attention to detail, the creativity that went into the design, the expertise in the construction, and that it really feels good to be in this space.
When you meet the owner, the builder of this home, do you excitedly ask him to tell you all about the hammer? Do you say, “I need to see the hammer you used to build this house. What an amazing hammer!”?
Of course not. That would be ridiculous. The hammer was simply a tool (one of many) this masterful human being used to bring a thing of beauty into the world. It would be silly to give all the credit to the hammer, because clearly the hammer doesn’t deserve the credit, this masterful human being does.
And yet, that’s exactly what we do with diets, we give all the credit to the hammer. The tool!
You’ve done this yourself; I know you have. So have I. Someone loses a ton of weight and you excitedly say, “How did you do it?!” And you’re thinking, ‘Maybe that will work for me!’ Aren’t you thinking that? I know you are. I was too. Maybe she found the magic pill and maybe I could get some magic pills too!
We don’t even think to inquire into what changed inside this person. How did this human being change internally? We assume their success was based solely on the tool they used. We give all the credit to their particular hammer – the diet, the plan, exercise, weight loss surgery, whatever it was – even though the method is just a tool.
We need to realize food plans and weight loss programs, including weight loss surgery, are simply tools we can use to build a new home for ourselves (really remodel the one we have,) to make it feel lighter, spacious, aligned, and soul-nourishing. And how well we know and love the truth about ourselves (how present or conscious we are) dictates our skill with whatever tool we choose.
We might have a better innate talent with one tool over another. That’s why it’s a blessing that there are a variety of tools available to us, if we need to use them.
But the tool alone does not determine the outcome. A hammer or a saw can be used to build a magnificent house or it can be used to destroy and tear one down. A chisel and sledgehammer can create or destroy a work of art depending on the motivation, skill, and moment-to-moment awareness of the person holding them.
Similarly, any tool of weight loss can be used in a creative, mundane, or profane way.
It can be used to build and grow, or break down and destroy. It can be an invaluable tool for building an exquisite new home for your soul or it can separate you further from the source of life. A supervised two day juice fast might support and reset the body of a woman who has been eating nothing but fast food for 30 years, allowing her to experience how open, alive, and spacious she can feel when her system isn’t stuffed full of sugar and starch.
The same knowledge could be used by an anorexic to starve herself to death. The knowledge or tool has no power of its own to create. It’s what you do with it and who you are that powers the tool toward an enlivening or a destructive function.
As you are hopefully seeing, the outcome of the tool use is entirely based on the mastery of the one who is holding it. The outcome is based on you and your self-mastery.
Before my last weight loss journey, every time I started a diet my commitment was to the tool. My goal was to stick to the diet so I could lose weight. The only outcome I cared about was what happened on my bathroom scale. What was happening in me – my awareness of and intimacy with my thoughts, emotions, body sensations, beliefs, and depth – were not my focus nor even on my radar. As a result, my self-mastery was weak.
Nothing in my life nor the weight loss culture spoke to, encouraged, or supported the skills and practices that developed the self-mastery I needed to transform instead of just lose weight. Not the philosophy, structure, or professionals in the renowned weight loss program, not family and friends, not the greater culture. They supported fixing the problem (obesity) so I could look better, be healthier, buy normal-sized clothes, fall in love, have the energy to focus on what really mattered (success/career), and appear more acceptable so I could fit into the standards of what we generally think of as being a happy, mature, well-adjusted human being.
Most of us are ill-equipped to make creative and transformative use of the tool. Self-mastery and tool mastery are developed through understanding the truth of who and what you are – through Taking Your True Shape®. Self-mastery is one name for coming home to yourself. Weight loss, with or without a tool, is a natural byproduct.
Every step in this process will help you develop the self-mastery you need to create your optimal life and weight. If an additional tool is needed (as may be true in a small number of cases), the mastery you develop will help you know which tool is optimal for you and give you the skill you need to effectively use it to serve your most healthful, beautiful expression in life.
The Impermanent Approach to Weight Loss inaccurately equates self-mastery with self- control. To be clear that these are not the same thing, we need to debunk our next myth – the Myth of Mind Over Matter.
How many diets, gym memberships, or weight loss programs have you tried in your lifetime?
In light of the Myth of the Magic Hammer, what have you learned from all your past weight loss attempts?
Where are you in your development of self-mastery?
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