One of my clients recently had started to put on weight she felt and was panicked about it.
All of her cravings were gone. Her blood work went from being very dangerously off and deficient in every single area to practically perfect after we worked together for several months. Her mood, energy, sex drive and motivation were higher. Her obsession with food was 100% gone. She was focusing on what was really going on in her life and not the food at all anymore and finding and exploring her passions.
All was well in the world except this one thing. Her worry over her weight.
What was going on?
We looked at the usual suspects. Her BMI, exercise levels, diet, cravings (which were non-existent), actual weight and height and what do you think we discovered?
All were really quite perfect.
So why did she feel fat?
She associated weight loss as “progress” even when weight loss was most definitely NOT progress for her as an individual at this time! So why was she associating weight loss with progress? There was a long standing association for her with feeling pretty or not pretty enough and weight.
The logic went something like this. “I feel like I’m never pretty enough and therefore good enough to get the love that i want.”
We could have stayed on that feeling for a long time and analyzed it and broken it down and intellectualized it to death but that would not have helped her. No. The key was going deeper with one simple question.
When was the first or the worst time that you felt that way and why?
We hit gold.
SIDE NOTE ABOUT BODY IMAGE AND MEDIA INFLUENCE: It’s not just the media influence I believe now, though yes we all get hit over the head with ridiculously fake and humiliating images chronically of course. But the only reason these images effect us deeply if they do is because of something deeper often… and that is our inner sense of self and worth. I think this is really good news actually. It means that we do not have to believe all the hype! It is not the true problem. So though I’d love to kick the medias’ ass on behalf of all women, I won’t. I focus instead on how we feel inside and work from there for best results. All I do when I see overly thin and air brushed beauties on TV or in other media is sigh and wonder how hungry, cranky or miserable they are deep down and if they are happy? Fulfilled? Loving? I just feel sad on behalf of all women, but I certainly don’t get envious or feel less than because I don’t look like them. We can change our inner beliefs about ourselves, I promise. But we need powerful tools to get there. If I do get triggered- which of course I do at times- I look within and don’t blame my body. I also look at my life and what is going on in it, not my thighs.
For my client, when we looked at the first and worst time she felt not pretty it was a very specific incident that had happened with a boy she had liked who she felt had rejected her. We tapped to release that with Matrix work and then of course went deeper. The true first and worst times of rejection and not feeling good enough came from somewhere else that only made the issue with boys another example of rejection for her. We unwound the rejection and not good enough feelings to their true sources and then worked to re-frame her beliefs about herself.
When we got to the real root causes of why “the weight” felt so bad and wrong for her we realized it wasn’t wrong at all and in fact was a symptom of inner pain and rejection. She in fact had been forcing herself to be underweight her whole life at a very unhealthy weight for her, which contributed to all of her health problems when we first started working together.
I don’t want to use clinical terms here as I do not treat or diagnose illness or disease but I would call this disordered eating at best and anorexia at worst. She in fact thought she had been an anorexic in the past.
The root causes however of all disordered eating come from within, in our inner worlds and not the culture at large in my experience. We take evidence from the external culture to fit our own personal beliefs and feelings about ourselves in many cases to validate or invalidate ourselves. It is not to say that the media isn’t influencing us and collectively holding us back or causing harm. I know it is, and I fully support changing media images. However, the healing can be within for quickest results at the individual level. Collectively, yes in the long term it would serve us all to shift this but that doesn’t help my clients in the moment, today.
After our work, my client became totally neutral about her weight. This is the healing the world needs now. Letting go of the false beliefs of not being loved- no matter what happened to us- we still get to love ourselves.