Have you ever tried and failed to lose weight? Me too.It wasn’t until very recently, though, that I understood why that was.
I’d long thought I lacked the necessary willpower or stick-to-it-iveness. Maybe I was just lazy or stupid. Turns out, the cause for my failure – and possibly yours – was none of those things.
In Dr. Amy Johnson’s book, The Little Book of Big Change, she has a chapter dedicated to how our habits are actually a sign of our mental health. When I first read that I was confounded. She explains that we are all innately resilient, whole and well.
At our essence is peace and well-being, no matter what is going on outside ourselves. But if we don’t feel that well-being, if it is obscured by clouded thinking and a misunderstanding about where our experience of life comes from, then we’ll do whatever we can to feel better.
“If you don’t see a better option – a better way to feel good – you’re going to do what you can.”Dr. Amy Johnson
If it looks like eating a comfort food is going to help us get a small taste (pun intended) of the peace that is our essence, then we’re going to do that. This is the role of every type of addiction – food, alcohol, drugs, shopping, etc. With our habit or addiction, we are actually trying to remind ourselves of who we truly are.
Our nature, as spiritual beings having a human experience, is whole, complete, and peaceful. We’ll do anything to connect with that essence, including overeating or drinking too much.
This is why diets don’t work
When we diet without being aware of this, we’re simply cutting ourselves off from the source that we believe comforts and nurtures us, connecting us to the closest feeling we can manufacture that reminds us of our pure essence. This is why so many people stop one habit only to pick up another. For example, we might stop smoking but then start eating to excess.
If an electronic device, for example your cell phone, is running out of battery power, you naturally plug it in to charge it. That’s what we’re doing when we overeat, except instead of connecting to electricity, we’re connecting to a false source of energy. (Sorry, this metaphor is a little messy.)
Diets try to convince us that we shouldn’t need to connect to that source of energy. But instinctively we know this isn’t true so we cheat on the diet or we stick to it for a while, but then go back to overeating.
The fact that diets don’t work shows us that they’re the wrong tool for the job. If dieting was the answer, it would work, 100% of the time, across the board for everyone. The diet industry would disappear because it wouldn’t be needed any longer. But the fact that so many of us struggle with diets points us to the truth that they’re not the right answer to the question that is being asked.
Overeating, or any habit / addiction, is not a failure on the part of the person doing that habit. It’s actually a neon sign pointing to the fact that each of knows that peace and wholeness are who we are.
Searching for answers
I long knew that diets weren’t the answer, and I had various explanations for why that was the case, though none of them rang completely true until I came across the 3 Principles. I knew from my own personal experience that I was comforting myself with food, so I tried to find other ways to do that, or ways to not need to be comforted so much.
Nothing I tried worked and looking back I can see it was because I didn’t understand the nature of thought and how our experience comes from the inside-out, not the other way around. When we see this, and our minds naturally start to quiet down, we are more often able to connect to the peace that is our true nature. When that happens the need to do our habit effortlessly drops away.
It is possible, of course, to succeed at dieting and some people are able to make it last. Sadly those people are the exception, not the rule, and the rest of us end up feeling like it must be ourselves that are the problem.
I was reminded of the truth of this talking to Greg Suchy in episode 2 of the Stop Suffering About podcast. Greg’s habit was alcohol. He’d gotten sober and was going to AA meetings, but mentioned during our conversation that he was miserable between meetings. It was only when he discovered the 3 Principles and began to see the inside-out nature of thought, that he was able to connect to joy and peace once again.
This is a huge topic and one a simple blog post won’t be able to address completely. But here’s why I wanted to bring it up.
I’ve recently drawn a line in the sand with myself. I’ve tried every outside-in way to lose weight and failed at all of them. Some more than once. I refuse to do that any longer.
Thankfully, I recently had the experience of a 30-year habit falling away effortlessly and totally unexpectedly, simply because I’ve begun to explore the nature of thought and where the human experience comes from. That experience seems to have shown me that I’m on the right track. I’ve been searching for answers about overeating for 30 years and finally, I think I’m getting close.
I’ll keep sharing here and on the podcast.
Let’s see what’s really possible when we stop applying the wrong tool (dieting) to the job of connecting to our true, peaceful nature.