Weight loss. It’s a heavy subject.
It permeates our mainstream media. It saturates our collective consciousness. It is everywhere – whether we are unaware of it, aware of it, or outright obsessed with it.
And it is not only prolific and omnipresent, but it is heavy stuff.
I don’t use this language to be a joker.
I appreciate a good pun, but when I think about weight and issues surrounding it; I intentionally use language that demonstrates both the visible and invisible aspects of the topic itself.
I love using metaphor and playing with the words we use to describe our relationship with our weight to help people see that there are many layers surrounding this issue, and more than one way to go about making changes in their life.
What do I mean?
Well, let’s take my saying that weight loss is a heavy subject.
So, obviously, being overweight, people use that word to describe the way they feel in their body, or their physical scale weight (or their relative measure of gravity, which is how I like to think of it). “I’m too heavy”, is often what it said.
But I also think the topic is a heavy topic.
Body weight and how your have feel about your weight can often times be a gatekeeper to an enormous amount of emotion. Behind this topic often lies shame and fear, uncertainty, or disconnection from our bodies.
It is a ‘heavy’ burden for so many people. Beneath the surface of a body that feels heavy, there is often a heavy heart, which has been held back and is holding onto an enormous amount of emotional baggage (I use that image intentionally as well – think about how heavy luggage/baggage can be if you carry too much!).
Another example is the idea of Carrying Weight.
People that carry the extra weight physically, often times carry the extra weight in other areas of their life.
Perhaps they play the role in the family of the one who solves everyone else’s crisis situations. Or maybe they take responsibility for everyone else’s feelings, altering their own choices and decisions in life to make sure everyone is comfortable or happy. Maybe they find themselves doing everything for everyone, never being able to say no, therefore having a never ending to-do list and a plate that is too full.
Whatever the scenario, this person is taking on other people’s responsibilities, or trying to do too much in their own life to compensate in some way. Their plate is too full. They are carrying extra weight in their life (and as a parallel, also in their body).
I could go on and on playing with words and metaphors, showing you all the ways in which body weight and your patterns in life mirror one another. But for the sake of this article, I just want to focus on the idea of letting go.
If you are someone who wants to shed weight, I encourage you to think about what that really means. You want to let go of extra and excess? You want to feel light and free?
I invite you to think about what it is you need to let go of in your life – mind you, I’m not talking about physical weight. (And yet, I am)
- What is no longer serving you?
- Where do you feel stuck?
- What are the old habits or patterns that hold you back?
- What are you doing currently that you feel resentful of?
- Where are you overextended and always feel on the edge?
When I check in with myself on these issues, I get answers that run the gamut.
They can be old, deeply held negative habits and beliefs such as:
- “I need to let go of comparing myself to an external standard”
- “I need to let go of the belief that I have to control everything”
- “I need to let go of the fear of criticism and rejection”
Or sometimes they are a bit more on the surface, but equally important, such as:
- “I need to let go of my job and follow a new path– the one I am on is no longer fulfilling me”
- “I need to let go of the clutter in my closet – it makes me cringe every time I see it – and I see it every day”
- “I need to let go of this certain commitment I have – I can’t do everything for everyone, and I am overextended”
I have worked with weight and body image issues for close to a decade now and if there is one thing I can tell you it is that shedding weight is as much about calories and food as it is about letting go of emotional and behavioral patterns that no longer serve us.
Yes, we want to change our bodies, but what we really want it so be happy.
And a huge part of being happy is about shedding that which is excess – no longer necessary – and that which is holding us back.
So if you are thinking about weight - shedding it, gaining it, controlling is, or learning to love it – I invite you to dive deeper.
When you think extra pounds, I want to encourage you to think “excess” in general. Physical weight is just the physical representation of what is not working in your life. If you keep focusing on the physical – you will only alter the surface, and it is likely find yourself struggling to make lasting change.
By focusing on not only the body, but the body, mind and soul, you can make changes that not only last, but also catapult you to places and experiences you didn’t think were possible.