Many of us who’ve used food for comfort and entertainment have spent our adulthoods on one diet after the next, each time hoping to tackle our weight problem for good. Our closets have become mini-boutiques to accommodate our skinny, medium, and heavy bodies–depending on where we are in our yo-yo arcs.
Healing is a process rather than an instantaneous fix. If yo-yoing has been your pattern, as your thinking comes into balance and your eating naturally follows, the swings might remain for a while, but over time, they will gradually get smaller and smaller.
For example, if your weight used to swing 30 pounds, you may swing 20, then 10, then five, then one or two pounds. Most people can’t go from swinging 20 or 30 pounds to one or two.
If you’re still yo-yoing some, you may feel like you’re not progressing, not healing. But this issue wasn’t created overnight, and it may not be healed overnight. The key is patience. Don’t torment yourself if you find that your weight continues to go up and down for a while. That’s natural.
There is a habitual way of eating that corresponds with a certain body type. Overeating corresponds with a heavier body. Because many people don’t want a heavier body, they force themselves to diet, but if they haven’t changed their relationship to food, they will regain the weight. You can force weight off, but if you don’t change your relationship to food, then the body is going to go back to matching the way you’re habitually eating.
If on the other hand, you decide that you don’t want to have a heavier body, you have to also decide that you can’t ever go back to eating the way you used to eat. If you do that, don’t expect to look the way you look at the end of a diet. It’s just a fact of life that has to be faced if you want to maintain a healthy, natural body size.
The process of changing your eating habits can be very slow. Please try to be patient! A lot goes into changing the way you eat. You have to change not only your relationship with food, but your grocery shopping habits and how you respond to influences in the environment that keep the old habits going, like the people you spend time with. So it’s important not to beat yourself up if you backslide.
One of my many backslides:
* I learned firsthand that physical discomfort can lead to overeating.
* For now, I can see that it’s helpful to stick to an eating plan, particularly when I anticipate that I may be facing a physical or emotional challenge.
* It was opportunity to see and learn how to keep the rational part of myself in charge.
* It gave me a chance to practice inquiry and be tender with myself. By seeing the painful belief for what it is–a lie–I can become free of that line of conditioning for good.
Evolution: There Is Another Way of Being with Food
If you’re willing to see the truth — that an irrational part of yourself has been running the show — then you’re no longer identified with it and you can begin to take a more rational approach.
Not everyone is ready to dis-identify from the Pleasure-Seeking Child. Many people see that their relationship to food is making them unhappy and are still afraid to give it up because they don’t know what will be left. Just as we can’t see what’s possible in terms of our spiritual evolution when we’re ego-identified, we can’t see that there’s another way to be with food and still be happy when we’re identified with the Child and it’s driving our relationship with food.
But many people don’t have the will to move out of the Child and instead, continue to indulge it because they don’t believe they can be happy if they stop. They don’t really want to change because they don’t believe they can be happy without their current relationship with food. When people are identified with the ego–they don’t believe there’s another way of being.
Fortunately, because you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’re ready to see that there’s another possibility other than being the Child in relationship to food. You’re willing to consider the possibility that you can be happy if you let go of your unbalanced relationship with food.
author of Skinny Thinking