I found an important weight loss secret, just days after I resolved to lose weight. Author Louise Hay appeared on Oprah to talk about weight loss and self love. I had read her book, You Can Heal Your Life, and was interested in hearing her speak. On the topic of weight loss, Ms. Hay suggests we learn to love our body as it is–right now, the good, the bad and the ugly. She advises to look deep into ourselves to find what is hurting, and there we will find what is at the root of our behavior. Then, through love, it can be healed. She suggested we stand before the mirror, in our full naked glory and love ourselves. To that I thought, YIKES!
I guess I wanted to see if it would really be that life changing, and it couldn’t hurt anything, so one day, after taking a shower, I stood before the mirror and took a good long look at my heavy, unhappy self. As Louise suggested, I thanked the extra weight I was carrying–which seemed crazy–I felt I was so ugly, but I thanked it anyway–for keeping me safe, and the food and drink I had consumed in excess–for comforting me. I whispered “I love you” and started to cry.
I was flooded with the realization that I was lonely and desperately in need of love. I had never thought of loving myself, forgiving myself or anything like that. I didn’t really know how. As women, we are often the givers. We deplete ourselves. Loving ourselves–caring for ourselves is last on the list. It seems selfish. It goes against the grain. But as I said “I love you” to my self, walls seemed to crumble. I started to notice thoughts and feelings I had long ago stuffed away. I didn’t realize that my deepest feelings were hindering my weight loss goals.
Over the subsequent days as I stood in the mirror I began to see that I over ate to comfort myself. I knew that some of my choices were unhealthy and were hurting me. I over ate out of spite, to test the bounds of my husband’s love for me. I was burned out on the gym. I didn’t want to exercise. I was sick of dieting and exercising to be found attractive by others–I wanted to feel good inside–for me.
To all of that, I conjured compassion. I suspended judgement. I channeled love and in my mind I bathed in it. I imagined how it would feel to be slim and healthy again. To feel good about my choices and how I looked. I imagined how it would feel to wear cute clothes and feel confident in them. I worked on feeling the desired outcome, feeling the weight loss when ever I could.
I did not start a diet right away. Instead, I took baby steps, feeling my way along, noticing what felt right. I started walking 20 minutes every day–it felt soothing. It felt good to be outdoors. I ate three small meals and a snack and set a dinner hour–in that I felt more powerful. I found yoga–my body rejoiced. I tried ice skating and found the inspiration to learn a new skill and set new goals.
Feeling better, I felt ready to try a diet–one that I would be able to live with–to continue after the “diet” part was over. I also wanted to rule out health problems so I went to a doctor and had blood work done–and as I slowly succeeded– I learned to listen to my inner voice. I began to heal my life and enjoy a thirty pound weight loss.