New resolutions prod us to take a good look at the goals we want to accomplish but may have been putting off. Weight loss still tops the list on the self-improvement charts as it has for decades. But why does losing weight seem to be so hard?
I worked in the health and fitness industry for over 30 years and had a front row seat on the weight loss train. As a group exercise instructor and personal trainer, I was privileged to have had thousands of conversations with people about their fitness and weight loss goals. A common thread running throughout these conversations was that a person’s self-image seemed to go up or down based on the number on the scale.
I, myself, was no stranger to this feeling. But this experience prompted me to hop off this merry-go-round and challenge whether or not a scale number was even remotely valid in defining who I was or who anyone was. It was during this period that I began to learn new ways of looking at my own identity – taking a more spiritual and less weight-based view.
And on many occasions it felt wise to ask my students and clients to join me in turning away from the scale by focusing their attention on the fact that they, too, were so much more than a number. This would often foster deeper conversations about what was going on in their lives and occasionally uncover some basic culprits of overeating – feelings of sadness, loneliness and a hungering for more satisfaction in their whole experience.
Oh, if I only had a penny for every sweet, tearful eye……..
Yet, even amid the sometimes painful challenge of recognizing the real problem, these conversations were helpful and gave us the opportunity to explore together a way to move forward with their goals and to drop the feelings of guilt and failure if they didn’t do things perfectly. But how they were thinking about themselves had to change first.
For years, the health industry has heavily promoted moderation in eating, exercise and the like and many people have found that this makes sense and helps them feel better. And we’ve also heard a lot about the concern the industry has about the cost – to individuals, families and our communities – of the continued rise of obesity. What we haven’t heard much about is how to consistently help people who are struggling with weight problems find lasting solutions.
As I discovered, it takes thinking more deeply about who or what really defines us. I’ve thought a bit about what famous astronomer Carl Sagan once said – that we are all made of “star-stuff.” He was talking about what constitutes our cosmos, but his quote points to a higher fact that we all come from the same, amazing Source. In Psalms we read, “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works and that my soul knoweth right well.”
Imagine, for a moment that you are “fearfully and wonderfully made” – already good enough, balanced and in control. How can that be? The first chapter of Genesis tells us that we are made in God’s image and likeness and all that “She” made was very good. I have often thought about what God’s image looks like. Is She too fat? Is She too thin? I don’t think either would be a good description of what I understand God to be. The book of First John tells us that “God is Love.”
Mary Baker Eddy, 19th century author and religious leader, defined man (meaning men and women), this way, “Man is idea; the image of Love, he is not physique.” Not physique? Whoa! Now, there’s a different way to think about ourselves. And, again, how we think about ourselves is the real key in what we experience.
Modern physics has been revealing that consciousness plays more of a role in our experience than meets the eye. Philosopher Bertrand Russell explains it this way, “Physics is based upon the notion that things are as they appear, and then proceeds to show things are not as they appear.” It seems that what the experimenter knows about the experiment can affect the results and consciousness plays a huge role in these results.
So what we know and think about ourselves is important in our own lives and outcomes. But what our Creator knows about us and what we know about our Creator can bring about enduring results.
So, does the scale really define who we are? Hardly. We come from the highest Source possible – the consciousness of the Divine. And this makes us all stars.
Malissa is a wife, mom, stepmom and grandmother. Originally from the Chicago, Illinois area, she has lived in Iowa, Colorado, Hawaii and Upstate New York. She now resides in the beautiful city of Savannah, Georgia.
Her background is in Health and Fitness, spanning a 30year period. She taught group exercise classes and spent most of her career as an Assistant Director for a YMCA.
Helping others find their way to a more healthful, harmonious and spiritual path as a Christian Science practitioner is now her life’s work. She is a health writer and focuses on the connection between our thinking, our health and spirituality.
Spending time with her family, being out in nature, hiking, swimming and walking the dog are some of her favorite things to do.