In continuation of my previous post, allow me to shed light on an important aspect of weight loss. In fact, if I’m able to get my message across today, you’ll have a new perspective on having better physical fitness. Our body is not just a plain physical machine but a complex system constantly affected by the state of our mind and its interactions with itself and the environment.

I know many who have tried dieting, exercising, supplements, yoga, meditation but are unable to lose weight. Any weight they do shed comes back to them like the bad debt collector. It’s almost like no matter what they eat, they gain weight. What’s worse is even when they don’t eat much, not only they still don’t lose any weight but, they actually continue to gain it. Clearly, it’s not simply about burning more calories than you intake. There’s more to weight loss. While I’ll elaborate on the physical aspects of fitness, my focus today is on a far more profound aspect — self-esteem. You may wonder what self-esteem has got to do with weight-gain. The truth is: almost everything.

Numerous times I’ve observed that people in difficult relationships, especially those where the partner is able to make them feel worthless, they gain weight lot quicker. In low self-esteem, our physical body is the most gullible and prominent victim. Some may respond to lack of self-esteem by going into depression, drugs, social isolation, but for many, they almost start disliking themselves. They start to believe that something’s wrong with them, that they are undeserving of what they have and even unworthy recipients of love. As such feelings deepen, it leads to chronic physical ailments or rapid weight gain. While I don’t have any research to support my theory, I’ve repeatedly observed that between men and women, the latter are more prone to gaining weight due to low self-esteem. Their bodies respond to changes in their emotional state more quickly, it seems.

If you find it hard to believe, simply look around. Upon closer examination, you’ll observe a pattern emerging. Many people who were fit when single start to gain weight soon after entering into an abusive relationship. Please note that an abusive relationship is not always the one with physical abuse. More often than not, it’s the emotional abuse in a relationship that’s more common and far more damaging. When your partner constantly compares you with others, when for most things you do are greeted by criticism, when your freedom of expression or action is not encouraged, when their behavior is erratic, you will gradually and almost surely become an eternal patient of low self-esteem. With lack of self-esteem, insecurities arise naturally and anger or reactive negative emotions start to surface. There is no way out now because if you express them, they cause stress and if you curb them, they cause havoc on the physical body. Either way, they rob your peace of mind.

It happens all the time in professional relationships too. The impact of a sour professional relationship, however, is generally not as grave as a personal one. Why? Think about it: the emotional investment in a personal relationship is much greater. The more invested you are, the greater the impact on your body, mind and soul. Beneath low self-esteem is the underlying feeling of I-am-no-good, a subtle sense of shame. If you experience it then please know that someone has banked on your vulnerability and infused this feeling in you because it is impossible to feel shame on your own (I’ll write on this in the next few weeks).

What is the solution you may ask? Well, get out of the abusive relationship. If you can’t do that, then make your partner aware what kind of behavior or conduct is unacceptable. If you can’t do that, then we must find a way for you to rediscover your worth, your potential and to believe in it. There are two simple methods and you may adopt both if you can. First, engage in something you are passionate about. Spend some time pursuing what matters to you. You must find a way of reclaiming your freedom, you need to get back your sense of existence. The second method is even more powerful. As follows:

Do self-affirmative meditation. Start by writing down the things you are good at, jot down stuff you love about yourself, write down how you would like your body to be (don’t be afraid of dreaming). Sit in a comfortable posture, take a few deep breaths, and recall all the good things you just wrote. Make the list once and feel free to add to it but meditate on it before going to bed every night. You should start to see the results in six weeks. How much you believe in your self-affirmation will affect the quality of results. Why just weight loss, it’ll also help you shed the emotional baggage, you’ll feel lighter and freer.

Learn to appreciate and love yourself; it requires firm belief in yourself and some self-acceptance.

As you rediscover your lost inner beauty, you’ll start to get comfortable with yourself. You’ll find yourself worthy of love and adoration. With that, your self-esteem will get a giant boost and that, in turn, is sure to help you in losing weight. Consequently, your external beauty will restore itself before long.

Peace.
Swami