Deanne Jade's course on counselling for eating disorders and obesity chimed with me. One in particular that made a lot of sense after I thought about it for a while, and which I feel is an issue for me at the moment, is what she called weight conflict. Although it may seem ridiculous at first, it's something I feel is well worth thinking about and exploring.
The basic idea is that, for people who have bulimia, who have yo-yo dieted, or who are above the weight they feel they would like to be, one issue keeping them from their "goal" weight may actually be an inner conflict. Yes, there's a big bit of us that wants to lose weight, that wants to fit that lovely dress, or not feel embarrassed on a beach. But there's also a little bit of ourselves that likes being a bit heavier! There can be a lot of reasons for that - because it means you can demand the space you want, or not have to deal with relationship issues, or have kids, or feel womanly, or eat what you like without worrying, or be seen as non-threatening. Whatever the reason(s), it is normally pretty personal, and can have a lot to do with what has happened in your life.
However, until we deal with this inner conflict, weight loss will never be either achieved or maintained!
Deanne suggested some questions to explore the reasons around a weight conflict. You can try brainstorming answers, or just seeing what first pops into your mind. Or, you could do a tarot reading on it. During the training course I did the former, and now, realising that I need to dig a bit deeper, I have designed a spread and done the latter.
So, Deanne's questions were:
What are the benefits of being slimmer?
What are the disadvantages of being slimmer?
What are the benefits of being heavier?
What are the disadvantages of being heavier?
I have also added: what is my key learning here?
I decided to use the Deviant Moon for this spread, as the image of the Two of Swords (above) popped into my mind when I first thought about a weight conflict. Here's the spread:
Being slimmer I have more energy and enthusiasm, I feel I can take on the world, and that I can tread lightly. I feel I can go anywhere with a brave face.
What are the disadvantages of being slimmer: Wheel of Fortune
Things change, cycles in life alter, we have good times and bad. Focusing just on being slimmer may not leave much energy for other things that could be more important. Being slimmer I constantly worry about maintaining that slimness and so cannot enjoy the abundance the world offers.
What are the benefits of being heavier: Queen of Swords
Being heavier, I have more time and energy to focus on intellectual questions, and also more empathy with others. I feel more grounded and powerful, settled and in control.
What are the disadvantages of being heavier: High Priestess
Being heavier for me is partly about using food to block difficult emotions. But that also means I'm blocking access to my intuition.
What is my key learning here: Chariot
This may always be a balancing act for me. I have used thinness as an armour, protecting me from thinking about anything except exercise and what I ought to eat. I have used fatness as an armour, too, eating instead of feeling and dealing with difficult emotions. Trying to find a middle path may feel very exposing and vulnerable, so perhaps I need to develop other forms of protection before I will be able to walk that path.
Similarly, based on traditional images of the Chariot I think I need to find a way to harness both sides of myself in this conflict. However, the suggestion that willpower alone will do this seems rather hollow. I am reminded of the sun and moon symbols on the traditional charioteer, and his canopy of stars. A balancing of illusion and clarity, fear and enjoyment, through the auspices of a higher power?
A friend commented on AA's third step - giving oneself over to faith in a higher power, which can be defined in whatever way is useful to the individual. Despite my belief in the divine, perhaps I don't trust that offering up my problems will lead to solutions. Most Angel Therapy practitioners would say, I guess, that my doubt is what stops this being effective. But how to get beyond doubt...
Overall, I found this reading useful. It didn't bring up many of the things I had already brain-stormed, so I think the two together would probably be most useful to get a full overview of this subject.
I'd love to hear anyone else's take on this reading, my doubts about divinity, or your own explorations of reasons for a weight conflict. Does the idea of inner conflict ring true for you?
Images from the Deviant Moon Tarot.