About seven or eight years ago my weight went over 200 lbs and most of my clothes wouldn’t fit me anymore. Like many of adults over 40 in our society today, I was losing the battle of the mid-life waistline bulge and my body could no longer handle my addiction to Starbucks, carbohydrate-loaded snacks, deserts and other forms of sugar. Instead of dealing with my addiction, I packed up all the clothes that wouldn’t fit me and I put them in a box, vowing that one day I would find the discipline to lose the weight, beat my addiction to sugar and fit into my old clothes again. Well, today is the day.
My wife and I have been on a strict paleo diet for the past three weeks where we cut out breads, dairy, carb snacks, all forms of added sugar and harmful food additives like MSG, and basically only eat more pure forms of meat, vegetables, nuts and fruits. I eat as much as I want, but I’m not stuffing anymore because all the addictive forms of food where the sugar or starches that transform directly to sugar are either gone or severely limited.
This diet is only for 30 days to reset your body’s systems, but without trying, I’ve lost about 12 to 15 lbs in a short period of time. For the first time in 8 years, I weighed in at 200 lbs the other day, so literally TODAY, I’m going to storage to break out my 200 lb box and see what’s in there. Now, I know that the fashion of the clothes may be outdated, and I have to have a permanent lifestyle change in my eating and lifestyle habits to maintain and continue to reduce this weight, but I’m still excited and focused.
What’s really interesting is that in the first week of this diet, I had frequent overwhelming feelings of shame and inadequacy, and I realized that over the course of my adult life, I had used sugar as a coping strategy to feel better. When I felt bad, all I had to do is reach for a cookie and I would feel better. I’m from Mississippi, and the addiction to sugary and fried foods in the South is a cultural norm. I realized that I was using sugar as an addiction which enabled me to avoid having to deal with my issues of shame and inadequacy and loneliness from my childhood and my history.
That first week of the diet I felt more emotionally unstable, but I was heavily processing my emotional issues with my wife and close friends, and I was doing my best to face my own inner demons of shame, guilt and procrastination which was also part of the addiction cycle for me. While this is still a work in process, my body and my energy feels more clean, I feel like I’ve had light-years of therapy in dealing with my inner demons in my conversations with my wife and friends, and I’m actually better able to get unpleasant tasks done and not procrastinate. My daily meditation and spiritual practice is stronger and I feel even more aligned with my Source.
Facing my inner demons of shame, inadequacy and loneliness has been the hard part of this diet, and I am finding that when I address my inner emotional issues, then the food part has been easy cheesy. Facing and releasing my inner demons has helped me create a change in my consciousness where the weight melts away and my clarity and focus takes a quantum leap to the next level.
Of course this change is only permanent if I continue to do the inner work of dealing with my emotional issues, and doing the outer work of maintaining the self discipline to eat better and exercise. However, my experience is that the choices to live a healthier life come easy and natural to me with almost no strain or effort when I am doing the inner work with my emotional issues. If you are interested in some of the specific inner work I was and am doing on my issues, it is briefly discussed along with a process to deal with your own emotional issues in one of my recent blog posts, “Making the Darkness Conscious.” Here’s the link if you want to know more:
In psychology, the iceberg analogy compares the human psyche to an iceberg where 90% of what motivates our choices lies below the level of our conscious awareness. When we don’t deal with our inner or unconscious issues, then like the Titanic, in our lives we hit the icebergs of our life challenges and sink to the bottom when we don’t use our life challenges to face our inner resistance and learn the lessons that life is trying to teach us.
There is an inner wisdom inside of you. Your intuition connects you directly to your Source. You have an enlightened consciousness within you that is just waiting to be expressed. In you is already everything you need to face the challenges of your life and grow to the next level of happiness in your life, whatever that means. It just takes the courage to look within and work through your inner demons to find the Buddha or enlightened consciousness within. You life is too important to waste in old dysfunctional patterns of living and thinking that no longer serve you and I encourage you to take steps today to continue your path of growth by facing your inner and outer life challenges with courage, wisdom and compassion. You can do this.