7 Energy-Based Weight Loss Tips
First of all, Happy New Year! I’m so happy to be writing here again. I wanted my first post of 2013 to be something very practical, and if you are like many people (including myself) you may be starting the New Year trying to shed a few extra pounds gained over the holidays, or may have made a New Year’s resolution to tone-up, slim down, or otherwise change your health habits. I was a bit reluctant to write about this, because of course we women are generally bombarded by diet advice and images of too-skinny models, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to contribute in any way to that cultural ‘noise’ or pressure (which, it’s interesting to note, is often just as bad in yoga and health-based journals as it is in Vogue or Elle.)
And yet, extra weight can truly be a health problem, and there are several energy-based reasons why we may gain or hold on to extra weight, so I decided to focus in on some tips for weight loss and management from that perspective. Hopefully it goes without saying (although I’ll say it anyway) that the goal here is your health, vitality, and joy in your body – not becoming a size 2.
As we all know by now, successful weight loss – as in both taking and keeping weight off – is about much more than counting calories or exercising, although those are the foundations for it no matter what you do. Changing our eating habits is often about understanding and changing our relationship to food, as we so often eat for reasons other than hunger.
There is plenty written elsewhere on these topics from a nutritional, medical and psychological perspective, so there’s no reason to cover that here (nor is it my specialty.) My focus here is what we can learn from energy-based healing and personal development modalities to help us out. With that in mind, here are 7 tips that you may find helpful:
1. Strengthen Your Energetic Boundaries – As I wrote about in a prior post on chakra-based eating, Eating for Your Subtle Body, often we feel driven to eat ‘bready’ carbs when our energetic boundaries are weak, and we are absorbing difficult energies into our subtle body. Such carbs give us a temporary sense of a buffer, because they feel heavy, and make our body feel heavy too, while we are digesting. Unfortunately this is just an illusion, and we are much better served by actual energetic boundaries.
There are a lot of different ways to strengthen your energetic boundaries, but a very simple first step is simply to take a moment before you are entering a difficult energetic environment – such as a crowd, potentially contentious meeting, or social situation you find stressful – to visualize yourself surrounded by a white or red light. That’s it! Very simple, and you will be amazed at what this can do once you get the hang of it. If you like, you can visualize this shield extending from your root and navel chakras, as they are the two chakras most closely involved in basic, day-to-day energetic shielding. I also have a basic guided boundary-building exercise on my free MP3 page if you are interested in that, and I recommend Cyndi Dale’s Energetic Boundaries book if you really want to get into this in more detail. But I think for many people, just beginning to consciously note when we might be eating for energetic reasons, and making a conscious effort to intend energetic shielding, can provide an immediate shift.
2. Focus on Solid Grounding - As I also noted in the Eating for Your Subtle Body post, another energetic reason we may overeat, or crave heavy carbs, is because we feel ungrounded or spacey. If you are a strong upper chakra person, going through a spiritual transit of any type, or pulling a lot of kundalini through you, this can often be the case. And sometimes you actually need those carbs to help you process the energy, much like an athlete does. But usually, you would be much better served by protein, as protein is actually the food source most linked to strengthening the root chakra, the foundation of our grounding abilities. Physical exercise and time connecting to the earth are also much healthier ways to ground. If you feel grounding may be your issue, work with these methods, and see if it helps diminish your overall craving for carbs.
3. Use Energy Practices For Challenging Emotions - We so often eat for reasons other than hunger, especially to comfort or distract ourselves from difficult emotions. We eat out of stress, or anxiety, to soothe or calm ourselves, or sometimes even to punish ourselves when we are suffering from a lack of self-worth. Working through these emotional issues, and finding other, healthier ways to deal with them, is essential for many of us – just as important as finding the right calorie level and balance of protein, carbs, and fat. There are many different energy practices for dealing with difficult emotions, some of which I’ve covered on this blog in the past. Try Working with Difficult Emotions, the Dynamind Healing Technique offered by guest poster Becca Chopra, or simply chakra meditation (over time any meditation form will help you let go of stress and anxiety patterns.) Or explore some other modality you feel drawn to (many of the blogs in my blogroll to the right are written by energy healers or writers that routinely cover energy-based modalities.)
4. Honor Your Need For Pleasure - Our second, or sacral, chakra is linked to our desires, our need for pleasure, and our need for sensual experience. If we deny ourselves these our body may seek to fill the void with cravings for sweets, salty foods, or other palate-pleasing items. So consider if you are stuck in ‘work’ mode all of the time, or in overdrive, and if that might be contributing to your overeating of certain foods. If so, make some space for pleasure in your life. Enjoy nature and beauty. Buy yourself flowers. Take a candlelit bath. Indulge in new sheets made of a luxurious fabric, a new incense or essential oil, or anything else that satisfies your need for beauty or sensual energy. (And yes, sex counts – as you may have heard, the ‘sex diet’ is one recent fad, and there actually is science to indicate it may help.)
5. Cultivate Body Love - What energy are you directing towards your body? If you feel like you are battling your body, you will be. Spend some time cultivating gratitude for your body, and love for what you have. It’s not good faking it though – just some empty ‘I love my body’ won’t do it. If you are having a hard time feeling it, take some time to list for yourself the parts of your body that are strong and function well, and/or the parts that please you the most. If you’ve had children, thank your body for the amazing sacrifices it made to create and nurture another human being. No matter what state your body is in, there is something to thank it for.
6. Energy Test Your Food – Energy testing is part of many energy healing traditions. The general idea is that your subtle body knows what is best for you, and that this is reflected in your physical strength. Although methods vary, there is usually some method of testing your strength both before being in contact with the substance you wish to test (a food, medicine, etc.) and while you are in contact with it. If you lose strength, the substance has some negative impact energetically for you, while if you hold your strength, it is fine.
You may feel that you can gain this same insight simply through your intuition, and if so, consider spending some time intuitively evaluating foods in your diet, to see how they impact you. Sometimes by removing some foods and adding others (while still meeting nutritional needs) you change the overall energy profile of your diet and that reduces cravings or binges. Our energetic needs are very individual. Or, if you want to explore solo energy testing more, check out this article by energy healer Donna Eden (author of Energy Medicine for Women, which I have recommended many times here): Energy Testing Without a Partner.
7. Dream It – Harness the power of visualization by visualizing your body as you would like it to be, and projecting/imagining it in a healthy, vital, and strong state. You are dreaming it into being, energetically, physically, and emotionally, and planting lines to pull it into being. This is particularly helpful for re-establishing a new ‘set point’ weight – the weight that your body seems to get stuck at, whenever you lose weight (of course, you have to make sure that your set point isn’t actually the proper weight for your body – that you aren’t trying to diet yourself beneath a healthy weight for yourself.)
May 2013 bless you with health, happiness, abundance and love. Please feel free to share your own insights and/or questions in the comments. In Peace-