Weight Release Begins with Seeing Our Reflection Clearly
Here’s a great guest post by Freeman Michaels:
What do you see when you look in the mirror?
In mid-2007, when I was 275 pounds, I looked in the mirror and what I saw shocked and disgusted me – in a little more than ten years I had gained 100 pounds. I wanted the extra weight that I was carrying gone as quickly as possible. I was filled with shame and anger at what I had become. I understood that I had abandoned myself on many levels, and the imbalances of my personal priorities were being reflected in terms of weight.
Some wise part of me knew that I needed to really see myself clearly. I had to see past the outward expressions of my patterns of behavior and thinking – I had to look deeply into the eyes of the man in the mirror.
I stood there and stared at myself. My eyes welled up with tears. Through the tears I truly say “me” – I saw the self I had abandoned, I saw the self I was living as, and I saw the self I might become, my potential self, all at the same time. In that instant many “selves” flashed before me – I saw the many personas I had constructed to try and be liked or to try to impress others. I saw the vulnerability that I had judged as weak and tried to deny. I saw pain and anger. But I also saw strength and power in my authenticity. As I stood there spiritually naked and emotionally open, willing to consciously own all aspects of my human experience, I felt a tremendous weight release, as if I had let go of a gigantic burden – “I’m ready,” I said to myself, “I’m ready to become the man that I was born to be.”
I was ready to release the burden of ideas, interpretations, beliefs and agreements that no longer served me. I was ready to begin to meet my needs consciously. I was willing to compassionately examine the restrictive matrix of programming that held me captive in narrow definitions of success. I was inviting a sacred shift into my life – willing to own what was being reflected in my personal mirror.
Responsibility can be viewed as cultivating the “ability” to “respond”. Real change begins with ownership. Ownership is the key to true personal power. To the degree that each of us is willing to own the expressions and reflections that show up in our experience, we have the ability to consciously direct our lives. Our physical weight is an outward expression of our internal experience – becoming aware of what aspects of our experience are being expressed in our habitualized behavior and the excess weight we carry is a primary step in the process of releasing weight.
Secrets and Lies:
When we judge and deny aspects of our experience we create a shadow self. Negative eating patterns dwell in the shadow of our lives – the part of our lives that we don’t want to look at. The reaction to our denied self, this part of us that we don’t know what to do with, is usually the motivation for “losing weight”. We buy into the idea that if we change the outside it will fix the inside. But this “outside in” approach, and the negative motivation that fuels it, is not healthy or sustainable. In fact it is a set up for failure.
Traditional Weight Loss:
If you are reacting to some aspect of yourself that you don’t like than you will make choices that don’t really honor you. For example, you may decide to join a gym and begin a rigorous exercise program. Without thinking, you will gravitate toward a regimen that is hard and that you don’t like. Unconsciously you may be punishing yourself. You are likely to injure yourself or burn out quickly. You may couple this with a diet where you heavily restrict yourself – making food the enemy and taking all joy out of eating. These are not self-honoring choices. These choices are self-restrictive and self-depriving – they are rooted in self-hatred.
When you “lose” weight you tend to feel an initial “high”. This feeling is directly related to the “self” that you hate. You may refer to yourself as the “NEW ME”. This false self tends to get a lot of affirmation from the world around you – expressed as something such as, “you look great”. You may feel more confident. In your mind you have succeeded – you have changed. THIS IS THE BIG LIE – you have not changed you have simply “split” from the part of yourself that really needed attention. Underneath your new façade is the person you loath – your needs, your fears, your negative self-perception – all of the things that the eating and the weight was tied to, still exists – but it is hidden – pushed back further into the shadows of your life. Some part of you knows that it will come back (or be expressed in some other negative way) – it always does. Self-denial and self-loathing can not be the foundation for a positive change. This is why virtually all diets fail – within six months to a year the weight comes back.
You Don’t Want to Loose Anything:
You must realize that whatever you lose you’re going to need to find or replace. It helps to recognize what purpose the weight, or the eating patterns, have served in your life. For many people food has been a source of comfort. For some people food is a way to cope with stress or anxiety. For other people weight may be a form of protection from unwanted attention, a way of hiding in the world. Whatever the reason, it is important to address the underlying causes of your weight related issues in order to change your eating habits permanently.
The Journey Inward:
You can’t get to a positive outcome from a negative perspective. Weight Release is a process of compassionate introspection and pattern recognition. Your attention should be focused on fulfilling the needs that drive your eating patterns, rather than beating yourself up for the unhealthy habits. The focus is on what you want (what truly “feeds” you) not on what you don’t want (excess weight).
Why Weight Release?
Weight Release is about learning to love, honor and accept every part of yourself. It is about asking for what you want and expressing yourself more authentically. Designing practices (which ultimately become habits) that feel good and right for you is a gift you give to yourself every day – there is no punishment or suffering involved in Weight Release.
Keep in mind that your outward experience is always a reflection of your inner process. Doing the inner work fundamentally changes your outer experience.
There are many other important positive outcomes from the Weight Release process – you will likely find your life changing in myriad ways, including positive shifts in your career, relationship, and finances. As you allow for every aspect of your experience and consciously care for yourself while focusing on fulfillment you invite in your unique destiny and open the doors to endless possibilities.
Weight Release is a liberating journey; I invite you to join me on this path.
Freeman Michaels is the author of Weight Release: A Liberating Journey (Morgan James, 2010). He is a weight release coach, life coach, seminar leader, and corporate trainer. He is also a well-respected media personality; currently co-hosting Cutting Edge Consciousness with filmmaker Barnet Bain on KKZZ (1400 AM in Southern California). For more information about his process and programs, please visit www.ServiceToSelf.com