“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.