In the west, obesity has become rather epidemic so I thought it would be useful to explore this as an example of the layers of healing we might face. Eating is fundamental to our survival. But it is also a point of pleasure, an association with mother, a way to suppress or avoid feelings, a false way of protecting ourselves energetically, plus our relationship with food can leave deep impressions we carry forward into other lifetimes.
First off, food has strong associations, perhaps with our social or family life, our culture, traditions, and even our role in the world. Are we the breadwinner or food provider? Or are we the one who expects to be provided for?
Our body has a natural intelligence if we don’t confuse it with sugar and excess. And if we learn to listen to it, to be body aware.
As we age, there is a natural slowing of the metabolism. This brings with it the tendency to put on weight more and more easily. There is often life changes that go along with that, like being promoted from the mail-room to the office and more sedentary work. While ensuring we get enough exercise certainly has a role here, the bigger issues are around diet, eating routines, and long bad habits.
These days, belly fat is said to be the worst of weight gain due to the type of fat and its load on the organs. That is directly diet related. But we’ve discovered that dietary fat alone is Not the problem. In fact healthy fats are an important part of our diet. They keep things lubricated.
Part of the reason for the obesity epidemic is that the government demonized fat and food industries adapted by creating “low fat” products. They replaced fat with sugar to retain flavour. That actually increased the fat problem. It also lead to far more processed foods. I explored that here.
Recently I was reading about current research on the connection between allergies and weight gain, hormones and inflammation (sore joints, etc) and how they’re all tied together.
Julie Daniluk wrote Slimming Meals that Heal, a book on recommended dietary ways to find and eliminate food sensitivities that can develop, creating hormone imbalance and inflammation. That leads to stiffness, soreness and weight gain. Curiously, the chemistry often causes us to crave the foods that cause us trouble. She explores the recent science on this in clear language.
While Julie suggests weight loss without dieting, it is necessary to fast from certain foods to work out which ones we’ve become sensitive to. She points out the likely culprits. We can replace them with “superfoods” that are good for us and slimming. She calls this a “Live-It” rather than “diet” as it’s not a denial or starvation approach but rather a replacement one. This still does require changing long habits though.
While Julie includes a chapter on combating emotional eating, the book is mainly a physical approach and would not typically help resolve emotional roots. That’s not the point of the book. She just points to some resources.
Emotional eating has become extremely common in the west. That is – eating driven by emotions rather than bodily need. We crave escapist but unhealthy “comfort” foods, excess and sugar.
As the Yoga Sutra observes, we try to resist pain and become attached to pleasure. We can use food to suppress how we feel by overdoing it. We can also overdo it in seeking pleasure outside of ourselves. As with any addictive behaviour, excess leads to reduced response and thus requires more to get the same hit. Add in the craving of foods we’re sensitive to and you get a recipe for trouble. Julie talks about this also.
Don’t think you have any food addictions? Try going off all sugar or coffee for a few days. It can be hard physically, but also emotionally.
If our emotional needs are not being met, we can easily revert to physical cravings and binge eating. We’ve all see the all-so-true jokes about eating a carton of ice cream or bag of cookies in one sitting.
Life experiences also add another layer. For example, many seniors today lived through the depression. For some, that may express as a need to stockpile food or overdo it in some way. You can see the same behaviour in pets if they had a rough early life.
As usual, I’ll note that effortless meditation is great for dissolving stress, the agitation that can lead us to reactive eating problems.
But some issues may require more direct intervention. The key is to make them conscious so they can be resolved. Not always an easy task but powerful once we’re willing to feel again. The classic in the field would be Louise Hay’s book Heal Your Body. It’s mainly a long list of issues with the corresponding emotional cause. Release the emotion and heal the issue.
However, that list can be a bit generic. How we resist and where we store it vary some. A more recent text that includes a broader range is The Secret Language of Your Body by Inna Segal. Like Lousie’s book, it has a long list of issues. But they include a number of variations on cause. The book also has a similar table for places in the body. And another for emotions and how to resolve them specifically. They’re of course all cross-referenced.
The simple key is to read the appropriate section and see what triggers, what you react to. That can open the door to resolution. Once you get the hang of the process of making it conscious and releasing, you wont need a book reference much. Just a willingness to notice resistance or reaction, feel it and let it go.
For many people, there can be even deeper dynamics at play.
One type is what Rose Rosetree calls frozen blocks of energy. For example, a friend of mine starved to death on a ship at sea in a prior lifetime. That residual energy was seeking resolution in this life and expressed as a need to eat too much. A grasping at food, much as someone who lived through starvation in this life might act. Only in this case, there was no obvious driver of the behaviour. But once it was conscious, it could be resolved.
It’s also not uncommon for people who are sensitive energetically to attempt (unconsciously) to protect themselves with body mass. But mass just dulls us – it does nothing to actually protect us. Developing energy and empathic skills is far more effective.
We can also fall into patterns around food that originated prior to about 5 years of age. Toddlers are pre-conscious sponges, soaking up everything around them, taking in all the family patterns. Voice, habits, and energy. Many people associate dessert with reward, for example. Our society is also rife with psychic coercion, attempting to influence our choices.
I explore the dynamics of energy healing in this series. All of this is heal-able if we’re willing to step through the process and release the drivers behind habits we’ve struggled to correct. This doesn’t mean going into the feelings – just becoming conscious of them and allowing them to complete.
Perhaps this gives you something of an idea of how layered our issues can be. In our relationship with food, we can be inviting all kinds of dynamics to play. This can be true of pretty much anything we’re struggling with. But note how we can heal physical issues by resolving the emotions. And the emotions can be resolved by releasing the energy.
The more subtle we go, the more potent and the more inclusive.
Resolving the source resolves all effects.