It took years of struggling with the same 30 pounds for me to realize I didn’t need to lose the weight so much as I needed to lose my weight issue. Weight loss is first and foremost about personal growth. Losing the weight without addressing the preoccupation or obsession that led to it is only shifting your energy, not freeing it up – you’ll just find yourself equally consumed but now living in fear of gaining the weight back. To truly find your peace with this topic, and free up your energy for your bigger life, you’ll want to embrace the following:

1. The authentic self has no need for excess weight

The kind of knowing, trusting and expressing that comes from authenticity reflects an alignment of mind, body and Soul that manifests your most powerful way of being. So to live in a state of compromised physical health or distracted mental energy is to restrict your potential. To live in a manner that leaves little room for loving self-care or conscious reflection is to live small.

2. Truth is neutral

Truth allows your natural choices to emerge, provided you can observe yourself objectively. When you label foods or actions as “good” or “bad”, you’re layering your own judgement on the situation, and this inevitably skews your choices. When truth is neutral, compassion guides your choices. Compassion enables weight loss with dignity.

3. Willingness determines energy

Willingness determines the energy you bring to your efforts. When you ask for weight loss, you are invoking the biggest change there is – the very body that you live in. Resistance is a natural part of change. Willingness is the degree to which you have let go of your resistance to participate in your own life.

4. Energy determines capacity

Energy determines the capacity you have for your efforts. Your capacity to make congruent choices, consistently and over time, is inextricably linked to how well you direct your energy. Energy is our most precious personal resource and our primary currency of life.

5. Everything’s accessible

Have you been so saturated with conflicting information that you’re not sure what to eat or how to exercise anymore? Too much “expert opinion” can have an incredibly narrowing effect on activities that are meant to be natural and effortless. This principle is about opening yourself back up to your body’s wisdom and letting its cues inform you.

6. Weight loss is a mindset

If you want to improve your driving, you know it’s not about finding the right car. But do you realize if you want to improve your weight loss, it’s not about finding the right diet or workout? Driving and weight loss are both about mindset, which means first examining the thought processes you’re applying to them.

7. It’s not about control, it’s about choice

Trying to control one’s life is one of the oldest and most futile of human obsessions. Control is an illusion – you never had it and you never will. Learning to be at choice is what offers enjoyment, sustainability and ultimately, freedom from your weight issue. If you’re hanging on tightly to control, you will never develop the trust needed for natural relationships with food, fitness and your body.

8. It’s not about perfection, it’s about self-integrity

An all or nothing mindset demands perfection. Self-integrity is about honouring your promises to yourself, in whole or in part. A partial acknowledgement is better than a further demand on yourself. Obstacles or setbacks can then be the points of learning that help you move forward.

9. It’s not about competition, it’s about personal bests

If you approach weight loss as a competition, whether with others, the calendar or the scale, it will remain external to you and your motivation will eventually dissipate. Focusing on your personal bests taps into a deeper source of inspiration and helps you internalize and build on your efforts.

10. Weight loss is fear loss

Excess weight is a state of imbalance, the cumulative effect of the stressors in your life reflected on your body. That means the amount of excess weight you have is the amount of fear you live from (i.e. how you handle those stressors). Your unexamined fears are the fears running your life. Only when you address these will you see your weight respond.

Now, here’s a comforting footnote for you… personal growth always has a happy ending. The universe won’t always give you what you want but it will always give you what you need to grow. Your initial reaction will likely be to resist this growth but if you learn to embrace it, you are guaranteed your happy ending. No matter what challenges you face or how difficult things get, the insights and breakthroughs of growth eventually lead to transformation. Think of it this way: we all gotta do our turn as caterpillar goo if we wanna morph into a butterfly.