...come off of her diet and exercise plan.
She's been unsuccessfully at it for 21 years.
She was "forced" or shall I say, strongly encouraged to start her diet at 11 years old and at 32, I can sense her fatigue and disappointment.
Who wouldn't want to quit after 2 decades of failures with the daily reminder of excess weight being carried around, step-by-step?
I helped her understand the difference between cause, compensation, and symptom.
Symptom: weight gain
Compensation: emotional eating to numb painful feelings
Cause: a series of rejections throughout her formative years
Me: Do you think you can resolve a symptom by chasing a symptom?
Me: Where do you think we need to place most of our focus to initiate healing from the inside-out?
Client: The root cause.
Me: How do you think we start dealing with the root cause?
Client: I'm not sure.
Me: What emotions do you think are associated with the rejections you've encountered?
Client: Shame, sadness, anger, unworthiness, and fear.
Me: Awesome you're able to identify those feelings! When those feelings arise, how do you typically process them?
Client: With food.
Me: Can you see how feeding these emotions have caused weight gain?
Me: The key is to find constructive alternatives to your protective behavior.
I want to teach you how to work through these emotions rather than around them.
Client: That sounds great!
Me: Recall a painful experience and play it back in your mind, paying attention to what emotions surface and where you feel it in your body. Whatever thoughts, feelings, or emotions surface, non-judgmentally observe them and simply breathe into them. As you continue your visualization, let me know what unfolds.
Client: I'm feeling worthless, sadness, and anger, and I feel a knot in my stomach.
Me: On a 1-10 scale, hat's the intensity of the emotions you're feeling?
Me: Your stomach is where your emotional wound has been stored. Place your hand on that area to acknowledge your pain and start to breathe into it, as if to soothe that region. Let me know when the sensation in your stomach subsides.
Client: That area has relaxed now.
Me: OK, great. What's the intensity of the emotions you were feeling?
Me: Take a moment to notice you just reduced your emotional pain from a 9 to 2 in 3 minutes without food.
We went on to do more visualization work and explored the difference between how painful emotions and hunger feels.
I'm entirely focused on empowering and equipping her with the skill-sets she needs to have agency in her life.
I'm not at all interested in telling her to watch what she eats, nor am I willing to push her through strenuous, weight-loss focused workouts.
Can you see by way of those tactics, I'd be supporting the rejection she already feels? In her mind, she's not lovable until she loses weight, and I refuse to participate in that message.
I'm all about leading a physically active lifestyle, outside of my studio (where it matters most), not necessarily exercise due to its negative connotations but through healthy, restorative, and uplifting movement.
My focus has been on teaching her how to love herself so that she can lose weight, not the other way around.
The thing is, health follows happiness. Happy people are healthy people. She's not happy, so I'm creatively helping her connect to the part of herself that is infinitely joyous, which will authentically inspire new decisions.
When I gave her permission to come off her plan, I was the first person ever to validate her foundational worth. Her shoulders dropped, and face lit up. I told her there's nothing wrong with her and that she doesn't need to lose weight as much as she needs to learn how to observe, accept, and surrender the pain from her past.
At the end of our session, I asked her how she was feeling? She said: excited, hopeful, and appreciated. Now I'm no rocket scientist, but to me, it sounds like those are far more likely to lead to weight loss than anger, shame, and sadness.
"Whatever you resist, you become. If you resist anger, you are always angry. If you resist sadness, you are always sad. If you resist suffering, you are always suffering. If you resist confusion, you are always confused.
We think that we resist certain states because they are there, but actually, they are there because we resist them." Adyashanti