Whether or not you’ve ever been on a weight loss journey, you are probably aware of the connection between food and social life. In many cultures, eating a meal is a social activity. Anna Neiman Passalacqua, a teacher of Peaceful Weight Loss and co-author of At Home With Peaceful Weight Loss, shares how social life relates to weight loss.
Today I thought I would take a moment to talk about our social life and how it relates to weight loss. As we all know, weight, body, and food can be difficult to change and transform. But why is it that friends and social experiences, whether involving food or not, are entwined in our process of change? Here are my two cents.
When we are in the Peaceful Weight Loss process, two things happen. We are changing from the inside out, and with this change, our externals (or everything that has always been) are no longer in complete alignment with our internal landscape. One thing I hear a lot in this work is how difficult it is to have one’s weight not match one’s internal shift, because explaining that you’re doing all this “weight loss” work when you’re not exactly losing weight yet makes zero sense to most. They (and we!) want to see results to know that change is happening. An intangible paradigm shift is NOT weight loss. At least, not right away.
Within this same line of thinking, being able to articulate every minutia of change is impossible. So therein lies the rub. How do we stay intimate or connected to others, or more importantly, in our current life as we know it, when our process is so personal and subtle? Furthermore, we have relationships that may or may not be about, around, or connected to food specifically, but often when we’ve made shifts with our relationship to food, those changes are not in complete alignment with how we interact socially: eating, drinking, types of food, food environments, who and how we spend our time with, etc.
This change can be confusing for everyone involved. For example, when we have a drug buddy and then stop using, where is our common ground now that drugs are out of the picture? More so, when we have a baby, we connect with others who are also going through the tender experience of raising a newborn. Yet, when our children become their own people and we become more seasoned parents, we have all grown and changed. We may not have anything in common anymore, and perhaps, upon reflection, we never really did.
So we plug away to reach our weight-food-body goals with the acceptance that all things shift and change, not just the number on the scale. And if we continually avoid changing our behavior because that is what is comfortable or socially acceptable, that’s what we’ll do until we no longer need to suffer in this way. So we can either change our behaviors or shift our environment until the external matches the internal. As Thich Nat Hanh says, “Thanks to impermanence, everything is possible.”
May we all feel completely integrated in all aspects of the self.