Today has been a day of contemplating why we suffer. I know, a little heavy. But stay with me. Ever since I was about twelve or thirteen I had a song that played on repeat in my head, and the lyrics were, “I’m too fat.” Every time I felt like something was wrong, it was wrong with me. I was too fat. And the answer was to go on a diet. I joined my mother in diet after diet: the Mayo Clinic Diet, the grapefruit diet, the count calories for six days and have the seventh as a free day diet, and the diet plan I got from an actual diet doctor my mother took me to when I was about fifteen. If only I were thin and fit everything would be great. What a crock of shit.
I spent my teens, my twenties, and most of my thirties dieting, losing weight, and eventually gaining back all the weight and then some. All in all I’ve lost hundreds of pounds. And found them as well. I spent a lifetime of intermittent suffering that I thought was all about my being fat. Being fat was unacceptable.
In my mid-thirties I left the world of deep-sea shipping, moved across country to be with my sweetie, where I knew no one, and was out of work for the first time in my adult life. I’d hoped to find work in the world of small boating – my first love – but as summer turned into fall I was still out of work.
It was my first ultra dark and dreary winter in the Pacific Northwest, knowing no one, and having no paycheck. It was rough. This was back before the internet. I decided to study for and passed my First Officer ship’s license exams (for a license I knew I’d likely never use), and ate carb after carb after carb. Weight packed on and I briefly contemplated getting gatric bypass surgery. But I knew enough that even surgery wouldn’t stop my cravings. So, I decided to see if hypnosis would help me lose weight and actually keep it off.
The first hypnotherapist I worked with hadn’t had training specific for losing weight, but I had some success working with her, and my first metaphysical experience as well. My sweetie and I decided to join Weight Watchers together and I lost about forty-five pounds fairly easily. Eventually we bought a house, got married, suffered a devastating miscarriage, and had a preemie, each bringing new stressors into my life, and weight began to creep back on. My #1 coping mechanism to help numb my stress has always been food.
Somewhere in the few years between moving to the Pacific Northwest and having a lot of life and stress happen, I tried Weight Watchers a second time and couldn’t stick to the plan for more than a day or two. Something in me screamed “No!!!!” Something deep inside me put on the brakes and nothing I did changed it. I couldn’t diet for one more day.
The coping mechanism that I’d used my entire life, restricting food so I’d drop weight, was gone. I tried and tried and tried again to diet and just couldn’t. I began to gradually gain weight and it felt like it was out of my control. There’s not much worse than feeling like something in your life is beyond your control.
But the success I’d had using hypnosis was something that really worked when it came to eliminating food cravings. At least it worked until major new life stressors came along. It was like magic. Suddenly, I didn’t crave carbs, and I enjoyed going for a walk. It was wonderful while it lasted.
Over the past decade and a half I’ve explored using hypnosis to help me with this weight issue by taking a class learning how to write hypnosis scripts for weight loss, and by working with a handful of different hypnotherapists, and more recently spiritual hypnotherapists – all of whom have been great.
Along the way, I’ve worked with a diet doctor, a nutritionist, Weight Watchers, a therapist, and healers. I know all about nutrition and calories and a lot about the dynamics of overeating, and I’ve learned that my overeating has little to do with food and everything to do with numbing inner discomfort and its being a mechanism to keep pushing me forward in personal evolution.
Trying to force my issue away or deny it didn’t work. It kept popping up over and over. When willpower no longer worked, after years of managing my inner pain through all sorts of external means, I had to try something different. Drastically different.
Without even realizing I was doing it, I began to look within. I began to work with people who helped me change on the inside. I began to look for ways to help myself that were outside the box.
Hitting the wall forced me to try something different. Something very different. And the thing about having walked down a path of healing modalities, finding one in particular that works very well for me, is what I’ve learned along the way.
I’ve learned that as miserable as life can feel at times, the misery and suffering has a purpose, which is to move us. It’s to get us going in a different direction. It’s to present challenges to work our way through, giving us new experiences and opportunities to grow. Opportunities to find new tools. Not everyone chooses to grow, but for many we reach a stopping point when something inside lets us know it’s time to choose a different direction.
And the beauty of going through tough times and making it out the other side is taking your new understanding and being a beacon for someone else who’s going through tough times. Being their shining light, letting them know that yes, they can and will make it through. And things will be ok again. Pain and suffering will eventually dissipate.