My own weight gain started when I was about 19. It was a sneaky process and over the course of a few years my weight crept up without me being fully conscious of it until I had gained more than 85 lbs. The realization seemed to hit me all at one time – the realization that I felt unhappy, ashamed and physically uncomfortable in my own body. I had always been an athletic child and teen and was at a loss as to how to approach caring for myself enough to shed the weight that I was carrying on my body and in my heart. I was 23.
It was sad and scary to me that the relationship I had with my body had a strong effect on the relationship I had with myself on a deeper level. My body and mind were continually at war with one another – I felt that in every way that my physical appearance limited my potential in so many other aspects of my life. My ability to connect with others, to find joy and to go after my dreams was greatly diminished by the constant self-doubt and harsh judgment I was placing on myself.
Nothing Happens Overnight. Eventually a shift began. I became a mom and set my sights on a career goal that was very physically demanding in nature, police work. I confronted my fears and some of my patterns (samskaras) of thinking and acting. I started to learn how to be as compassionate with myself as I was with other people and let go of old hurts and my habit of comparing myself with others. I negotiated a peace treaty between my mind, heart and body and learned to see myself as a whole, not the sum of my parts.
What started a 20 minute run/walk around a track eventually turned into training for a triathlon and half marathon running. I now choose to move every day to stay healthy and as a way to facilitate emotional expression. I learned about nutrition – not eating to lose weight – how to eat to balance hormones, to soothe my body so that I am not as reactive to stress, and to fuel up for my busy days. It took some time, and the process of transformation continues to this day. I am learning to embrace the process of aging and growing in a big, happy way.
My Challenge to You.
The biggest lesson that I have taken away is to pay attention. I am aware of my body and how the decisions I make in caring for myself have a ripple effect into every other area of my life. I challenge you to make each meal, each Yoga pose, each walk around the neighbourhood and each interaction you have with others an offering – an offering to your body, to your heart, to their heart. Make peace and seek joy in every moment. If what you are about to do or say does not serve your higher purpose or take you in the direction you want to go, simply choose not to do or say it.
It was intimidating for me to share some of my own personal journey so openly. As I was preparing the class plans for the Yoga for Weight Loss and Transformational Wellness series, I felt compelled to let you know that I have walked this road myself and have personally found a place that is calm, happy and accepting. If it is time for you to make this next life step and think that working in a small group setting with others that are working on much the same goals may be helpful to your own process, email me to chat at firstname.lastname@example.org or to share your own story.