When I stepped on the bathroom scale, I saw the numbers racing upward—153—168—174—before stopping at 183 pounds. I was shocked at the number. The word “flabbergasted” took on new meaning.
Then the scale broke. My options were limited: either I was way too short (5 feet 1 inch) for my weight or I was fat and seriously out of shape.
I interpreted the broken scale as an unmistakable message from the Universe. Alone, naked and mortified, I looked up at the ceiling and said aloud, “I get it.” In that instant, I knew it was time to get fit and lose weight. Little did I know that in the six-month process of losing 63 pounds, I would lighten my spirit far more than my body. The more weight I lost, the more self-respect I gained. In the course of getting fit, I found thinner peace.
When I dropped the surplus pounds encasing me, I slipped out of the chains that were holding me back and raced toward my life’s work. Stepping out in an entirely new way, I began writing, speaking and encouraging others to adopt healthier habits. When I offered to help neighbors and friends get fit and lose weight in my small northern California community, I was surprised when over a thousand people showed up for our first meeting. Even more amazing, we lost four tons in eight weeks.
Having found my voice, I’ve since written four books and hundreds of articles on fitness (the Wall Street Journal dubbed me “An Apostle for Fitness”), and I serve as the coach for the AARP Fat 2 Fit online community. How ironic that the lighter my body is, the larger my presence.
When I decided to lose weight and get fit, could I have imagined what the future would hold? Never in my wildest dreams!
Given this life-transforming experience, I was eager to talk to Dr. Judith Rich, a well-known teacher in the field of transformation and consciousness. I wanted to quiz her about the relationship between spiritual and physical well-being. My questions and her responses follow.
Q. Does caring for our physical bodies trigger an impulse to care for our spiritual self?
A. Here in the West, we tend to think of body, mind and spirit as three distinct entities. The mind is the seat of thought that resides in the head and functions separately from the rest of the body. Yet Eastern traditions teach that the body is the mind and vice versa. I tend to see the concept of self this way. In this context then, taking care of the body is one way of expressing love for one’s higher or spiritual self.
Q. Is getting fit and losing weight a challenge and difficulty that we can use to help us grow?
A. Undoubtedly! Anytime we stretch ourselves beyond our expectations, we grow. In the process, we empower ourselves by building courage, gaining self-confidence and learning to trust in our abilities.