34. Why REAL Weight Loss is a Spiritual Experience
Welcome to episode 34 of the Mindful Weight Loss Podcast. I am your host and your coach, Emily Erekuff and today I am talking about why REAL, lasting weight loss is a spiritual experience.
And I have to say I really hesitated with that title, because I don't mean that weight loss is a religious experience. I'm using spiritual here to mean simply beyond the physical. So you don't have to be a particular religion or even be religious at all in order to experience real, lasting weight loss. But you do have to have some shifts about what you believe is possible, especially if you're someone like me and have struggled with your weight for your entire life.
And that's why I say that losing weight for real, as in losing all of it and for the last time, that is a spiritual experience because it requires you to believe in what you can't see. And it requires trust or faith in the outcome, which really means trust in yourself, trust in your body, and trust in the world or God or the universe.
Just a few episodes ago, in #31 How to be Friends with Your Body, I said that life is our relationships. And the relationships we have with everything ultimately show you what your relationship is to yourself and to life/God/the universe or however you choose to think about that.
And so, if you walk around thinking that you can't trust your body, ultimately you don't trust yourself, the universe, or anything really. You don't trust, period.
If you walk around thinking that there's not enough money in your bank account, ultimately you don't think you are enough or that the world or life is enough.
And if you walk around thinking that you can't be happy until you lose weight, ultimately you don't think that you can be happy, period.
These stories, these patterns that we find in one area of our lives permeate everything. In fact the pattern is primary. The pattern or relationship is the energy or vibration that you are being and that's what needs to be changed. The external thing, whether that's your body or your bank account - that actually doesn't matter. That thing just serves to make you aware of the pattern you have.
And the problem is we look to fix the external thing. You think, "I can't trust body, so I need to fix my body," but that's not true at all. What you need to fix is the belief, the pattern, that you can't trust.
And that's why I say this is spiritual work. You need to see what isn't seen. You need to see beyond the physical, beyond your body, to the pattern. You need to become witness to the thoughts and the energy you have. You need to witness, to see your way of being.
Not only are those things invisible, but when we have negative relationships, negative patterns we also tend to have some level of pain or discomfort about those patterns. And so we avoid them. We avoid looking at them. We pretend they aren't there.
And so then there's an additional layer of trust and faith that is needed. You need to have faith that the pain won't kill you; that you can handle it. You need to believe that you can feel what you need to feel so you can see what you need to see.
And at the end of the day, the real work that you do in order to lose weight is all internal.
I'm reminded of the very religious C.S. Lewis who said, "I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God. It changes me."
And it's those last two sentences that so beautifully convey what I'm trying to say. When C.S. Lewis prayed to God, it didn't change God, it didn't change the reality he was experiencing. He was changed. And in the same way, real weight loss doesn't change God. It doesn't change reality. It doesn't change your body. It changes you. And from you then all the good flows.
It's like that saying, you can't squeeze blood from a turnip. So too, you can't squeeze happiness, confidence or self love out of weight loss. Those things don't exist in weight loss, they exist in you.
And when you stop trying to change your body, and instead you change, then your body doesn't become important anymore. And then when it's no longer important, your body actually does change, because they key is that you evolved. You are beyond trying to fix the external thing because the internal you has been changed and that's really what you needed.
And I want to share an example of this from my own life.
I have been slimmer than I am now. I still have some weight to lose.
And the crazy thing is that back when I was slimmer, I thought I was so incredibly fat. I can remember walking around in public and just feeling so mortified about my weight. I was so focused on what I wasn't; on what was lacking and that I wasn't some perfect ideal that I had in my brain.
And so I would diet or count calories or exercise like crazy to try to fix my body, to fix that external experience so that I would feel better. But that never worked and actually made things worse. Dieting or restricting wouldn't ultimately work, and all I'd have to show for myself was a lot of hard work and more failure.
And that was when I was slimmer than I am now.
And yet now, now I feel like I am in some of the best shape I've ever been in and I think I look fantastic. And it's because I have changed internally. When it comes to my body, I have developed that trust and belief that I was missing. And so now I see how amazing my body is (yes, the body in front of me right now that isn't perfect) and I see the amazing possibility for my future.
I am no longer stuck in that pattern of not good enough. I don't need to try to change my body anymore in order to feel good about myself. I'm good enough. I feel good enough, and that's why my body is changing.
And I'll be honest, it is a little bit mind-boggling. Just today I tried on a few pairs of shorts that fit not too long ago. And I'm thinking, "man I'm making such incredible progress, these should totally fit me again." And they still don't, at least not comfortably. And it kind of doesn't make sense to my brain. The dialogue in my head is like: "Really, they don't fit? You mean, I was skinner than this? And yet I feel the best I ever have about my body now. How is that possible?" And then it's like, "Ok, well I'll try them on again in another month." And meanwhile I just keep feeling so good about myself.
And I'm completely serious. And yes, how nuts is that that the shorts not fitting doesn't phase me at all? And now crazy is it that I used to walk around fitting in those shorts feeling like my body was something to be ashamed of?
Gosh, imagine that me trying on a pair of pants that used to fit and all the drama that would cause; all the shame and guilt, and the desperation and the horrible burden of trying to figure it all out.
Gosh, if that were me now, I'd probably be scouring the internet trying to figure out what the heck I could possibly do differently. I'd probably attempt super disciplined keto or some crazy fasting and try to figure out how I could muster up the energy to exercise while eating just carrot sticks. I'd make some crazy plan that would make my life hell for the next several months while I picked some random event a few months into the future that I could look forward to. And I would tell myself that if I could just suffer through until then, well, then I'd look good and have a reason to feel happy and proud of myself.
And that simply doesn't exist for me anymore, even though I'm objectively heavier on the scale, even though the shorts still don't fit.
And what that's been replaced with is a deep knowing that it's already as good as done. I truly know that several months into the future, I will have lost more weight and those shorts will fit again and I will continue to feel better than ever, because I feel good now.
My goal has become the internal growth, the thing you can't see. That's what truly matters. Actually, it's all that matters.
And it seems so illogical, even to me and I'm living it, but once the external things like your weight don't matter, that's when they change. Once you know how to really lose weight from the inside out, you don't feel the need to lose weight anymore, and yet you do. It's a strange and funny quirk of life.
So I hope this week you walk away thinking deeper and understanding that wanting to lose weight is just surface level. There is something deeper, something on the spiritual level that needs to happen for you - probably beliefs and patterns that you need to see and let go of. And if you would like help doing just that, schedule a free coaching call with me. I promise, it's not a sales pitch. I's a legitimate session with me to help you look deeper and see what you need to see in order to truly move forward.
Take care and I will see you next week.