I am sitting with a friend, across from her, hearing her say the words I have heard out of now, hundreds of people's mouths.
She lost a bunch of weight on a great diet she was on, but then she got sick of the diet and gained it all back, plus some.
She says she has an amazing relationship with her husband, and they have been together for over thirty years. They love each other so much, but she wants to feel freer in her body when they are intimate.
He says he would feel better about himself if he looked like he did when he was in high school. He got so much attention for his body all through high school and college and misses that attention now that he is in his 30s.
He says he wouldn't feel so fat if his pants fit him like they used to. He is tired of having to have two sets of pants to keep in his drawer; it is overflowing and he can only wear half of them at any given time. When he is thinner, the larger pants loom as a warning. When he is bigger, his smaller pants remind him of what he once was.
She says she would feel better if she was just two sizes smaller and she could fit into the dress she wore at her sister's wedding.
He says that his wife no longer looks at him like he is sexy. In fact, she barely looks at him at all. He thinks it's because he has gained so much weight. He has stopped making sexual overtures toward her because he is certain she no longer wants him.
I could go on and on. This could be the neverending blog post. There would be stories you could relate to, stories that would make you bawl, stories that might even disgust you, but they would all be about the same thing: the weight we carry.
Like any other physical manifestation, weight is a symptom of something else, and most often it is your relationship with your body, with your spirit, with your soul. It is not that you eat too much or move too little; yes, this is what got you there, but these are also activities or inactivity caused by how you feel about you.
Your body holds the history of the human race within it, and the history of the human race is kinda fucked.
How did it start? It started when you were young, and you were taught to stifle your body. You were taught to ignore it. How? When you got a pain, you took something to numb that pain rather than figuring out why that pain existed. When you had to go to the bathroom, if it was inconvenient, you held it. When you were sad, you were fed candy. When you were a teenager, to dull your social awkwardness, you drank or smoked or both. It started in millions of small ways that sent you the message that your body is to be stifled, manipulated and controlled.
You were never taught how to cultivate a relationship with your body because very few people have. It is the hard thing to do, cultivate a relationship, but it is the most valuable thing you can do for yourself and for the world. The way you treat yourself is the way you will treat everyone outside of yourself, and the way you treat yourself is learned behavior, passed down through generations of your parent's families. And if you take a look back at the history of humans, you will find that it is is full of war, hatred, oppression and exploitation. Are you at war with your body?
Your body holds your history.
A deeper and more immediate issue is that your body stores all your memories. All the things that have happened to you. If they are unprocessed, they are in your body, waiting for a way to get out. If you have not been able to emotionally release your anger, pain, resentment, guilt, shame and sadness, you are carrying them with you.
It is easy to focus on extra weight when compared to what you are ignoring. It is the most frightening thing to look at your pain, your emotional trauma, to look at what you don't like about yourself, to look at your fears of not feeling worthy of love, of neglect, of abandonment. (Those are my fears, I am sure you have your own you can wade through.) I know this because the diet and beauty industries are multi-billion dollar industries. We are paying others to distract us from what could be our freedom from them.
At first they are subtle. You must really listen, watch and learn to hear them. Then, not so subtle. If all these not-so-subtle messages go unanswered, the messages get louder and louder until your entire life is disrupted, and the small things that were only a tiny problem in the beginning? They have spread and interacted with other stuff in your body, and now...you not only have all the emotional stuff you need to deal with, you also have all this physical stuff as well.
I am not saying that it is fine for you to be overweight if it doesn't feel good in your body. I am saying that if your really want to feel good in your body, understand that this is a mindset about developing a relationship based on mutual trust, love, compassion, and respect. Going on a diet will not help you to cultivate this relationship. Getting your stomach stapled will not help you to create this relationship.
Listen to your body. It will give you much more than a smaller figure. It will give you confidence, a deeper understanding of who you are, and it will give you the ability to relate to other humans in a more compassionate way. Because if you can't take the time to really listen to yourself, there is no way you are going to take the time to listen to anyone else.
We have much more to lose than the weight we carry.