Playing the Heavy: Weight as Spiritual Encumberment

I have been reading a book called A Course in Weight Loss, and it has been inspiring me to think more deeply about the connection between mind, body, and spirit. The book has many exercises in it, designed to get you thinking about the intersection of your emotions and your weight issues, using a focus on spiritual work as a catalyst for change.

The spiritual focus is a melange of various backgrounds, but I approach it with a mind to consider the advice through the lens of my beliefs and use it in conjunction with the relationship I am currently building with God. I am thankful to count it among the many resources I am employing to live more fully.

I have completed some of the exercises and have had some productive, revealing examinations of my life. There are other exercises I will need to circle back to when I have the mental gumption to undertake them, as they will push me to shine a light in some dark corners I typically prefer to ignore. But one line I read recently has gotten me thinking about the things I do to love myself or punish myself, and how they impact my weight.

The author, Marianne Williamson, refers to the body as “an infinitely precious suit of clothes” for the spirit. Which lead me to think, if the body is temporal, a worldly suit that accessorizes our true core of being, am I really wearing the most flattering outfit?

My negative emotions that I wear, and the extra pounds that I host do nothing more than weigh me down. It’s like walking the streets, fully dressed head to toe, after having jumped out of a pool. It adds a heavy, waterlogged, dragging dimension to something that was meant to be light and free. It feels cumbersome, it clings unmercifully, and though you can feel the cool whisper of life on your skin through the damp mess enclosing you, the heaviness of that excess enclosure is the prevailing sensation.

I am in a place where I feel like I have been wearing several waterlogged suits, and I am unable to bear the weight any longer. I am ready to cast off the heavy layers–of emotion, of fear, of mistrust, of suppression of all that I have to offer–which I previously wore with pride (or total and complete ignorance). From my vantage point, strengthening my faith and learning to surrender to soaking up and reflecting God’s love is where the healing begins.

I mention all this about myself to encourage you to examine your life, examine your motivations, examine where you refuse to move forward. Consider the strength you have, or lack, to step into  your life fully. Consider the role that food plays as a diversion for any inner struggle you have, as an enabler of ignorant bliss. Consider whether food has been your comfort, rather than your fuel. Consider if your body is light, functional clothing for your spirit, or whether it is an opaque mass of negativity that impedes the unique means of spreading love that God has blessed you with. If you are trying to lose weight, and your life feels more like maintenance of suppression rather than continual growth and evolution, I wager that it’s not just a physical makeover you need, but an emotional and spiritual one as well.

Thank you for hearing me out on this while I work through my thoughts and purge the harmful parts of my past from my worldview and cultivate a new outlook on life that doesn’t count food as the primary solution to what ails me. I promise I’ll do my best to balance talk of weight and spiritual/mental redemption with recipes and other more nuts-and-bolts aspects of weight loss. How’s this: I’ll post on the minestrone lunch and grilled shrimp salad that I’m cooking up this weekend. Please check back soon!

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