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The Weight of Wait

by Adele Ryan McDowell, PhD

Like Oprah, I have spent my life dealing with weight and have recently regained once-lost avoirdupois. I hate that. I end up hating myself and then it's that all-too-familiar battle of up and down, Monday is a new start, last hoorah Sundays and so forth in a addictive cycle that has its roots in both biochemistry and emotion.

Decades ago, in my college economics class, there was a discussion of the "paradox of saving." As the name would suggest, the more you tried to save, the more you spent. I think the same holds true for dieting. In other words, the more you try to diet, the more you gain. And these days, science pretty much confirms that thinking given the preponderance of yo-yo dieting.

Once you have made up your mind and really committed to shedding weight, it can be done. Total commitment is the key. Ambivalence is the mother of many a false start.

But the real trick is maintaining the weight loss, because as we all well know, that is the hardest part. It is so easy to slip into the comfy-cozy old ways. And hey, what the hell, one won't hurt, and even two is no big deal. Or after the weekend, or tomorrow or the next month, I can regroup and restart and all will be fine. Such are the distorted numbers of addiction math, where one more and one more and one more become 27.

Oprah admits that her weight gain is a result of her life being out of balance and forgetting to make herself a priority. I think that makes great sense. Addiction of any sort is a disconnect from the self as well as a way of trying to mend that disconnect in what we psychologists would call a maladaptive way.

Further, old tricks die hard; our brains have become habituated to the comfort of the former ways. The mesolimbic reward system knows those patterns, like the crisscross of railroad tracks, and with every addictive step we deepen the hold of those neural pathways. Thus, creating and maintaining change is downright challenging; we are called by the sirens of our psyche, which blindly yearn to go back to the old ways, the old pathways. Like Odysseus, we are drawn into the lure of Scylla and Charybdis, whose primary purpose is to distract us from the path home (read: the path to Self).

Addiction, first and foremost, is a brain issue. And if you have a history of assorted battles of the bulge, then I would suggest you have an addiction issue.

Psychology suggests that extra weight can indicate a number of things including a need for protection, invisibility, nourishment on other levels, nurturing, compensatory behavior, maladaptive habits, unconscious numbing, fear and substitute gratification.

And, of course, Oprah is right: this is most definitely a balance issue, but how about another paradigm with which to explore this very human phenomenon? What about the energetics of weight loss? If everything is energy, wouldn't it make sense that weight can also be viewed through this lens?

Energy medicine expert and higher consciousness teacher, Caroline Myss offers the very provocative thought that extra body weight can be translated to mean wait – as in hold up, I am not ready yet. Or stop my life, I need to catch up, or, at least, need time to absorb the life that is racing towards me. Her theory implies that we are not ready to move forward on our path of consciousness. We are weighing ourselves down as it feels safer, and, perchance, less risky than flying into new realms.

Curious thought, isn't it? Weight = wait. It gives me pause.

Now, weight and metaphysics have a long history. In prior eras, intuitives were often portrayed as large, beefy people. This leads me to think that dealing with all that energy, and particularly the energy of others, the psychics ate more to get back into their bodies after traveling the astral planes.

Further, in today's world, it is not unusual and a commonly acknowledged phenomena for energetically sensitive types to have moments when they hold extra pounds during periods of transitions and energetic shifts.

The Abraham-Hicks folks advise us to energetically be in the flow, to swim downstream as opposed to pushing to move upstream out of fear and resistance. In other words, do not focus on the "problem," but live life doing what brings you joy. That makes great sense, too. And this fits with the weight/wait model. If I am waiting, then, on some level I am being resistant. If I am in the flow, then there is no longer any struggle and the weight issue becomes a non-issue.

From my perspective, I think we need to put away the whip. Tell the taskmaster to take a hike. No more yelling and screaming and self-hate. Ram Dass said the answer to everything is love. I think he has a point – and that includes dealing with our weight.

We are beings of many energetic layers. We are more than our bodies. When we can shift into that channel where it all flows, we become ready to take the next steps. And, then, there is no more waiting, and that could translate into no more weighting as well.

Food for thought, my friends.

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Posted: 03/18/2010

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