An excerpt from the book Enlightenment Pie
It is only fitting that part of our weight-loss journey partners with mindfulness of the physical body. In the world today, we know our physical bodies take a beating. We work tireless hours and are often running from place to place. We do not give ourselves time to eat or exercise properly. We find ourselves tired, overworked and often with little to no energy to maintain even the simplest health routine.
In addition, we do not pay much attention to our bodies. We are not aware of what is happening to them in the present moment; our minds are always focused elsewhere.
How many times have you found a bruise or cut on your body and you do not even remember how it got there? Has your body become stiff or sore and yet you are unsure of what might have caused it? Do you sometimes feel bloated or nauseous and thought perhaps you just weren’t feeling well? Do you take aspirin for a headache without wondering why the headache was there in the first place?
Getting connected with your body is truly the first step in discovering the cause of your weight gain. If you do not know what your body needs or feels, how can you support it?
Activity: Mindfulness of the Body Practice
Sit in a chair or on a meditation cushion. Ensure your space is quiet and you will not be disturbed. Begin breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. With each breath, breathe more deeply, taking in more and more fresh air and releasing the stale air in your lungs.
Notice your body and complete the following self-inquiry questions: How does my body feel? Where do I feel pain? Soreness? Inflexible? Heavy? Where do I feel light? Open? Strong?
Now begin to place your hands on your body. Put your hands on the areas of your body where you carry weight. Ask yourself the following self-inquiry questions: How does this weight feel? What emotion is here? What other messages/images/thoughts/feelings come up for me when I touch this area? For example; you may place your hands on your stomach and see a yellow light or feel the anxiety of your life being carried in this space.
By becoming aware of what is going on within your own physical body, you will begin to build a relationship with it. You will begin to understand what is causing the excess weight and also what emotional issues you may need to work on. Spend at least 20-45 minutes a day with this exercise for at least seven days. Journal what comes to you as messages/thoughts/feelings daily.
Everywhere we look these days, we see more and more people carrying weight. To someone on the outside, they may only see the unhealthy side effects of poor diet and pass judgments on the person’s ability to care for themselves. What may not be seen is the deep layers of emotional baggage that this person is carrying and their lack of self-love that ultimately affects their choices when caring or ultimately not caring for themselves. The baggage is really layering what we have acquired throughout this lifetime and others, and it has manifested into physical weight that we carry in our bodies, emotional weight, and spiritual weight in the form of karma.
I have learned from my own experience that to truly lose weight, we must complete the inner work of all the aspects of our lives. By looking at those difficult pieces of ourselves that are reflected in our weight, we bring to the surface many destructive emotions. By working through these emotions and facing them, rather than stuffing them away, we are able to overcome this weight once and for all. It’s not really about changing your diet, but about transforming all aspects of yourself and changing your life!
The Emotional Body
A partnership exists between the weight on our physical body and the weight we carry in our emotional body. The emotional body is a subtle energy field that surrounds your physical body. It is also directly connected to our energy centers or chakras, as well as the other energetic bodies in our field such as our aura and our energy channels. The emotional body carries the emotion and/or baggage that we have carried in this lifetime, and potentially other lifetimes, as well.
Activity: Examine the Emotional Body
Sit in a chair or on a meditation cushion. Ensure you are in a quiet space without distraction. Take a few minutes to breathe deeply, eyes closed, and place yourself in a meditative state. Once you have quieted your mind, imagine that you are made of glass. Visualize your body as though it were crystal. The idea here is that you are able to see through yourself as though it were a clear glass.
Once you have that image in your mind, imagine that you are able to see your emotions on and in this crystal image. A couple of examples could be that there is a great deal of red paint on your heart, indicating that you have anger in your heart center. You could also see cracks in your glass around your throat, indicating that you have had communication issues. These are just a couple examples of the thousands of visualizations you can have on your body of glass.
Take time to look at your body of glass and take note of what you see. You may not understand what it all means at first, but as information unfolds you will discover more about your emotional body and where your emotions may be sitting in your physical body.
Our emotions are a trigger when it comes to when and what we eat. Most of us have diets that are stress based. When we are stressed, frustrated, hormonal, etc., we find ourselves eating sugary foods or drinking alcohol. Self-inquiry and meditation can help you gain awareness of these triggers. Begin tracking how you are emotionally eating and getting to the deeper issues.
Meditate on your body of glass and to begin to understand the emotions that you carry in your physical body. Utilize the following self-inquiry questions throughout the week to begin to identify your emotional contributors to your weight:
What emotions was I experiencing over this week that caused me to eat?
What did I choose to eat due to this emotion?
What part of my body “lights up” when I am eating this food?
What emotion do I feel once I ate the food?
Where does this emotion come from?
How is this emotion serving me right now?
How was this process for you?