“By listening to your body & responding to it with awareness, you tap into the field of infinite possibility where there is peace, harmony, joy.” -Deepak Chopra

When I tell people that I lost 70 pounds over the course of two years their gut reaction is almost invariably the same, “How did you do it?” They look at me with wide eyes, wonder. That reaction is an expectation of an easy explanation. Q: How’d you do it? A: A pill, a surgery, a miracle trainer?

Of course, the answer is none of those things. In my mind, the answer is simple but to others I know it is complicated. The answer, in short, is: I found harmony within myself and within the Universe. Which is not quite as easy to explain as a pill or a surgery.

I took a journey, as we all do, and I ended up on a path to peace. Cognitive Behavior Therapy (which you can read more about here) was my first step on that journey. To understand the journey, you must first understand why I was overweight to begin with.

1. I was severely anxious and depressed.
2. I was an emotional eater.
3. I was addicted to food, it filled a void in my spirit.
4. I was mentally unhealthy and therefore physically unhealthy.
5. Depression led to inactivity, a lower metabolism.
6. I continually gained weight.
7. Gaining weight made me more depressed.
8. The cycle was vicious and seemingly unending.

Unbalance (anxiety/depression) was at the core of the problem. CBT taught me first, that my thought processes were negative and irrational and second, how to change my negative irrational thoughts into positive rational ones. As I learned to change my thought processes, everything else in my life began to change. We, human beings, have no idea what an enormous role our thoughts play in our lives. In fact, our thoughts are actually our entire existence. Negative thinking is absolutely devastating to the human soul. There is no place for health, happiness, peace, or love in a mind full of negative thoughts.

Once I learned how to change my thought process, weight literally began to melt off of me, like magic. As I grew happier, it got easier. As my anxiety lessened, so did my depression. As my depression lessened, positivity and love filled the void in my spirit. I became more active, my metabolism increased. Without the sadness and emptiness, I had no cause to turn to food constantly.

This is not a fairy tale. I had bad days, I have bad days. I give in to temptation. I get sad and eat too much ice cream or far too many potato chips; but that is no longer the bulk of my existence. When I fall down, I get back up, every single time. Food is no longer my false happiness. Life and love have replaced that addiction and now I have true happiness in my heart.

Weight loss is not the answer for every person and not every person who is overweight is depressed or even unhealthy. There are people in this world that society considers overweight who happen to be healthier and happier than the thinnest of the thin. Spiritual wealth can be achieved by many avenues. For me, being overweight was a direct result of being a sad person. I had no control. Finding happiness made me a whole person.

If you are suffering from any imbalance of the soul and it is causing you to be overweight, no pill, surgery, or marketed miracle will help you. You must address the root of your void. I have seen too many good people lose their addiction to food, only to replace it with another addiction like alcohol, drugs, shopping, or gambling. Health is a result of happiness. Spiritual wealth can lead to physical health. You will never find wholeness or oneness with the Universe until you follow the path to true happiness. Happiness is a choice and it is yours for the taking.

“Why are you so enchanted by this world, when a mine of gold lies within you?” -Rumi

When I found happiness, I lost weight. It was not because I was vain or obsessed with my external appearance. It was not a miracle diet or a perfect gym membership. It was because I changed the way that I thought (think). I stopped the vicious cycle of sadness, food, weight-gain, more sadness, more food, more weight gain. I found happiness, life, activity, more happiness, more life, more activity. You can do this, too. The first step is always understanding. We must know where we have been and where we are going. Then we must begin the journey.

20 thoughts on “Spiritual Wealth = Physical Health”

  1. Dena,

    You make a valuable point that can't ever be made enough. Peace…happiness…fulfillment… All are internal attributes that can be nurtured in most any circumstance.

    Congratulations on a fantastic beginning to your journey. May the peace you've found continue to grow so that it fills the world around you.

    Best,
    Michael
    http://www.jmichaelthurman.com

  2. Michael,

    Thanks for your kind thoughts & words. I am so glad that we have connected. I look forward to our continued friendship.

  3. Beautiful! Truth, simplified, right? This is like what it took for me to beat Crohn's Disease. It didn't take new, innovative drug therapies, long intensive holistic routines or an intricate diet. It took me de-stressing myself.

    To all the above,
    Eli

  4. @Eli – Thanks so much for your comment. It is amazing that you can relate to this in your own way. I love to hear other people's success stories. You are absolutely right de-stressing or even a simple "overhaul" of thought and behavior can do wonders for the human body (and soul!). People truly underestimate the power of positive thinking.

    It's wonderful to hear about your experience. Thanks so much for taking the time to share.

  5. YES! YES! YES!

    When I started dancing again two years ago, in my 40th year, I “magically” dropped many, many sizes. I continue to get healthier and stronger, but not because of any “diet,” etc., but because, like you, I got HAPPY. Truly, deeply, at my core happy and that changes everything.

    1. Thank you for the great comment! I love to hear success stories of other healthy, happy friends. Going to check out your blog & story now. XO

  6. Woman, you are so wrong. This world is toxic and many things can affect the way your hormones behave. Adrenal fatigue caused by mercury poisoning due to amalgam fillings can cause you to gain weight AND be anxious/depressed. It’s not as simple as you say it is.

    1. Hello, Anonymous. Thank you for stopping by and offering your opinion. I have to disagree with the fact that you are calling me wrong, especially since you are citing “toxicity, adrenal fatigue, and hormones” as reasons for your statement. This is MY story. This is not about anyone else or any of those things. Of course every person’s circumstances are completely different.

      Furthermore, I never claimed that it was simple. In retrospect, the steps that worked for me might be simple. However, believe me, I’ve spent half of a lifetime suffering. There is absolutely nothing simple about the path that has taken me from darkness to light.

      Again, this response is sent with the utmost respect, I really do appreciate you sharing your voice here.

  7. Hi Dena!

    I just started my masters in nutrition, and we learned about how important spiritual wellbeing is for health. I personally have experienced with my own Rheumatoid Arthritis, and it is great to see that this approach works for others! Thank you so much for sharing your story.

    Susan

    1. Thanks for the comment, Susan. And thank you for sharing a little bit of your story. Masters in Nutrition–so exciting! I am going to check out your Tumblr now. Best of luck as you move into your career now. Hope you’ll visit again soon. XO

  8. I found this article really insightful. I can completely relate to how you had been feeling. I had let myself fall back into this way of being lately, and have re-started my counselling to help me out. It is not easy, to choose happiness and the best fot myself. Breaking habits is not easy at all. But as you have said, it is the cumulative effect of breaking many little negatives that will lead to feeling better overall, and not needing the previously used coping strategies (i.e. food). I am also learning that adding more pain to any painful situation, by eating when I’m not hungry, only makes things worse. I knew this for ages, but didn’t really feel the true meaning of it until now.

    1. Thank you, Heather. I am really happy to hear that you’ve just re-started counseling. I think that it is one of the best things we can do for ourselves. Sometimes it just feels so good to sit downa nd speak with someone openly and honestly without the fear of judgement. I’m wishing you much love & light. XO

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