I gained 35 pounds and I did not die (or: okay with being not okay)

So, there you have it. I gained weight: 35 pounds. Not just a little, but a shitload. Of course, this did not happen overnight, but I have looked the other way.

As with many things that hurt a lot – when you move through them, sometimes there are good things on the other side. Sometimes these things feel so good that you instantly forget that you gained a lot of weight.

Making peace with the journey

When I look back over my journey with weight and body acceptance, I only see struggle and hardship. I do not remember a period in my life in which I accepted where I was. I always needed to be thinner, smarter, better. It made it hard to come to terms with who I am.

But learning to feel grateful for where you are, creates awareness of the current situation. Understanding this helps me to make peace with myself and to be okay with where I am. When I look at myself from my critical point of view, there will always be something to improve. In the past, this resulted in feeling not good enough. But, you know, that feeling gets old – boring.

As I am writing this, I find it hard to find the right words to explain this. It is a new level of thinking for me. While in the car, I thought about how long I had been on this journey, and suddenly I felt bored with struggling. The struggle has become a habit.

Inspiration

It was not wrong to struggle because it gave me a lot of motivation not to give up the fight. It also felt as if I could not give up the fight, for if I would, I would gain back all the weight I had lost in the past. All hundred plus pounds. But was it worth the struggle? Even when you gain back 35 pounds?

Hard work on the inside is not something you always notice. Sometimes it feels as if nothing much happens. You work your way through the days of the week, doing your best. At the same time, on the subconscious level, things are shifting, bubbling, and moving around until it reaches a degree that the unconscious becomes conscious. That is what happened lately.

How bad would it be to keep these 35 pounds?

This weekend I thought: ‘How bad would it be if my weight would stay like this (up 35 pounds) and feel good no matter where I am right now? Or: what weighs heavier, my happiness or weight that sticks like permanent marker?

Even though I may be heavier right now than my all-time low weight, I am much happier. Somewhere along the way, I have lost the weight obsession that I have been struggling with. It feels as if I’m moving into this place of calm and peace, where I am okay with how it is, no matter if my weight stays like this or if I lose. It is not that I do not care anymore; I no longer need to fight with it.

On the contrary, my body does not agree. It feels caught in my clothes and wants to be able to move around again without having to become a nudist. So for my body, I resume my healthy eating habits, not for my eating disordered mind that is always pestering me to perform better, cleaner, brighter.

Past Present Future

With that realization, I understand that the weight obsession kept me in either the past (when I weighed my lowest) or the future (when I would reach my goal) but never in the present.

But all I am is in the present. There is no past nor future. In five minutes it is again a present moment, just like it was ten minutes ago. We call it the future and the past, but when you think about it, it is bizarre.

35 pounds

I can only make decisions right here, right now. I cannot decide right now what I will do for the rest of the week (let alone my life) because I do not know how I will feel about my realization by then. For now, it feels good not to worry anymore, not even about those 35 pounds.

Intentions

Of course, I can set an intention, but when I get into a fuck it mood, those intentions are not as valuable as they feel right this minute. What needs to happen is that I need to decide at that moment again. Every moment when it comes up, I need to choose what I will do. Stay in recovery or break my lines. It is a minute by minute decision. I can let an intention precede that decision, but it is still up to that moment. Even a plan to take it for only today may be too long for now.

But what I do not want anymore is to stuff it all in a place where I can only feel bad for who I am or what I do. There is no need to become angry at myself because it just is what it is. It is best to accept where I am instead of forcing myself to be different. Recovery is about radical self-acceptance.

Choose to feel good

I can choose to feel good, even when the situation is complicated. This choice may sound like a contradiction, but feeling good is the foundation of accepting the moment as is. Not feeling good is the same as not taking it. For me, it starts with being okay with not being okay. If I can do that, I am free to feel how I want. Can you still follow me, or does it only sound right in my head?

When I became aware of this, I felt a lot of expectations I had toward myself subside. Suddenly there was no trying to control the weight situation anymore. It was not relevant anymore. All that was left was this present moment in which I can decide any way I want. All it needs is a bit of a pause to make a sound decision.

This way, I can also be grateful for where I am. I am okay with how my body looks right now because I am okay with where I am.

Back to that moment, when I had gained another ten pounds and cried on my husband’s shoulder. I felt his hand on my back while he comforted me. But there was more happening at that moment. A feeling of “so this is it” came over me. I accepted the moment. I let myself be comforted because I felt sad, not because I resented myself or my body. I felt sad, and that was all – and I was okay with it.

Photo by Ylanite Koppens from Pexels

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A Celtic Cross for Recovery of Food Addiction

Tarot cards are not new to me. I started reading them around 1997 or so. I have always been amazed by how accurate the readings have been in any life area I used them for. But to my surprise, I never thought of using them in my recovery. It is a mystery to me why I never combined the two. This week, while driving home from work, I thought about how useful the Celtic Cross could be in recovery from food addiction. To be honest, I have always hated that spread. For one, because it is huge – and huge spreads take a lot of time to write out.

When I interpret the cards it means that I study the card, the position it is in and its symbols that are on there. I make notes and think about what those symbols mean to me. Then I connect with my intuition what the card is trying to tell me. I often have at least two pages of notes in my journal per card before I write out a coherent interpretation. To do this, it takes time. Besides that, I have always found that this spread most of the time does not answer my question well enough. I often have other better suitable spreads to do that.

A variation on the Celtic Cross

But this week, in the car, I was thinking about the separate positions in the spread, and I thought of a change to make the Celtic Cross for Recovery – to make it more suitable for food addiction. I cannot deny that I could not wait to try it out on an imaginary client. To my surprise, it worked really well! If you want insight as well, then you can order it here.

Celtic Cross for Food Addiction

The positions and the cards I pulled

  1. Your current state of recovery – 8 of Wands
  2. The challenge you face right now – 10 of Swords
  3. The past/Where you come from – King of Pentacles
  4. The future/Your next step – 5 of Swords
  5. Your True Self – 2 of Pentacles
  6. Your Saboteur – 3 of Swords
  7. Advice/Next best action to take – 8 of Cups
  8. How your external situation influences your recovery – King of Cups
  9. Intention for the coming period – Five of Wands
  10. Outcome if you follow this path – Princess of Cups

Interpreting the Celtic Cross for Recovery

What I found when I pulled the cards for this reading how well certain positions can be read as one, which saved me a lot of time doing this Celtic Cross for Food Addiction. I think the last time I did this spread (which was ages ago), I was still in the “read card by card” phase. We’re talking 15 years ago when this happened.

There is nothing wrong with it, but the real value of reading the Celtic Cross for Recovery comes when you start to connect the cards in a spread.

When you look at this spread, you can also see that some of the cards combine mini-readings in itself. Look at the position of cards 3, 1, 4. Is that not just a past – present – future layout? It makes it so much easier to use storytelling in this tarot card reading. Heck, seeing this may have saved this layout for me. If this experiment would not have worked, I may have ignored the Celtic Cross for the rest of my life.

Besides that, there are the 5 – 1 – 6 mini-spread in this layout that tells me about the higher and lower brain workings in the process of recovery. It is fascinating.

For this reading, I worked with The Druid Craft Tarot Deck, one of the decks that has spent way too much time in my attic. But it is back!

1 and 2 – Current Situation and Its Challenges – 8 of Wands and 10 of Swords

Druid Craft Tarot 8 of Wands Druid Craft Tarot 10 of Swords

The current situation is symbolized by the 8 of Wands. It is a card of so much action which shows that you want to go for it, to change your current recovery journey into a successful one, but it is not easy. You aim far, but the challenge is real. Mistake after mistake happens, and it hurts. Why can’t you do better in this healing process? You clearly want it badly and you know which direction you need to aim for to get there, but time after time you fall back into old habits.

If you do not feel free right now means that this is the dark night you need to go through, but you’re not giving up. You keep aiming your wand but there are moments you feel defeated and all seems dark.

Know that a ten is also a number that symbolizes that the cycle is ending and that your chance for change will soon come. Until that moment, you can be impatient all you want, but maybe you just need to sit out this struggle and try to prevent more damage while you do until the time is right to redirect your focus.

3 and 4 – Past and Future – King of Pentacles and 5 of Swords

Druid Craft Tarot - King of Pentacles

Druid Craft Tarot - 5 of SwordsIn this Celtic Cross for recovery of food addiction I work with a different interpretation of the Pentacles. While Pentacles are often associated with work and money, I associate them with the body and the role of food in your life.

The King shows you about an aspect of your personality that played a role in your past, and I find it interesting how this King of Food J with his big belly, has enjoyed his meals thoroughly. Maybe he wants to be seen as a foodie because he knows a lot about food, how it nurtures you but also how to pair it or prepare it. But looking at his body, there was no real ending to the meal. It just went on and on and on. This King may not have struggled with binge eating, but with overeating, which can be just as damaging because it can go on all day. Everything on this day revolved around food.

The future, with you as the 8 of Wands (remember position 1) in the middle, is symbolized by the 5 of Swords. On this card, we see this figure who is clearly a trained warrior. He carries three swords and looks at two other swords on the ground. He keeps a foot on one of them.

In the background, you see another warrior walking away. He looks defeated, and although the guy in the front clearly is the victor, he has this strange look on his face as if he isn’t happy about the victory. As the next card in the deck is the 6 of Swords, which is about feeling success, we can almost expect that it is hard for you as well to recognize the moments of celebration in your recovery journey. It is so important to see those tiny yay moments instead of quickly moving on because it is not full recovery yet.

When we further look at the 5 of Swords, we can see a bird in the sky, which for me, stands for the freedom of food or obsession we are looking for. It shows that freedom will come in the future, but it still needs work on self-confidence and trust that you will move through the challenges you now face. It is not strange that you lack confidence because, in the past, you have had too many setbacks to build that trust confidently.

5 and 6 – The True Self and the Saboteur – 2 of Pentacles and 3 of Swords

Druid Craft Tarot - 2 of Pentacles

Druid Craft Tarot - 3 of SwordsHere we have another mini-reading in this otherwise big spread. Here we come to you in the middle (8 of Wands), surrounded by the True Self and the Saboteur. The True Self is also known as the Higher Self. It is the voice of wisdom that knows what you need and whispers silent words of encouragement when you need it. On the downside, there is the Saboteur that you know so well. It seduces you to eat foods that cause cravings and makes you restless when you try to prevent (over)eating. It is so easy to fall for the loud voice of this Lower Self. But where is that voice that is helpful after you have eaten stuff that you had better not eaten and feel crappy because of it? At that moment, there is the voice of the True or Higher Self, but it is so quiet, and you really need to tune in to it, which is hard to do.

The True Self knows all about the balance the 2 of Pentacles shows. You know balance is needed, now and in the future. But with those 8 Wands in your hands, you may forget to focus on the here and now instead of focusing on the future with those wands. I must admit that it is easier to focus on anything but the here and now. It is just too confronting.

As Pentacles stand for food and body, it is in this where balance is needed. Know that significant changes start with small decisions because this card indicates that even though the journey may seem hard, the changes you need to make are not difficult – it is the effect of many small changes repeated over and over, that can become a huge life change if you learn to overcome the struggle of letting yourself get defeated time and time again.

This card is the symbol of the Dance of Life, where you juggle everyday challenges great and small. It shows that you come much further with optimism than with devastation when you stumble.

Understand that life is not about constant stability, it is about juggling the challenges with joy.

7 – Your Next Best Step – 8 of Cups

Druid Craft Tarot - 8 of Cups

Your next best step is to say goodbye to old emotions. They have served their purpose, but now it is time to get up and move on. Give yourself the chance for a better life.

To make room for that better life, you need to pack up and go and leave the emotions behind and decide what is needed and choose the direction you want to go. Know that no course is good or bad. You never make the wrong decision. Even if you find out that it is not bringing you where you thought you were going, you redirect over and over until you get to where you want to be.

In the card, you see the man climb up a hill or steps. This may be hard, but it is always better than staying in the darkness where you are now. There is a tiny slither of a moon which guides your path. So decide what you are leaving behind and set up camp in a better place.

8 – How Your External Situation Influences Your Recovery – King of Cups

Druid Craft Tarot - King of Cups

Your surrounding gives you some damn good advice, but your own arrogance or resistance (one can show up as the other) can make you not hear the opinion and dispose of it. If the advice does not fit in your current frame of mind, then your brain may automatically dispose of it because you cannot just remember all the information you get. It can also be the Saboteur part of your personality that may take care of information that is too confronting for its existence.

If you have hidden your struggle up to now, one or more people will sense that something is going on and will want to help you. But to allow this, you need to be able to express your thoughts that are based on your emotions clearly. That is the King’s role. He knows how to clearly communicate what he’s feeling and to not fall for feeling wronged.

This card can also show you to ask for help from a therapist, a counselor, or a healer.

9 – Your Intention – Five of Wands

Druid Craft Tarot - 5 of Wands

On this card we see five boys mock fighting. They challenge each other in a way they can learn from. From this card, you could decide to follow the intention to challenge yourself or let yourself be challenged to perform at a higher level from now on.

The importance is too keep the challenge positive and prevent letting it become a real fight, where it becomes an ego-challenge. In an ego-challenge, you need to better than the other and in recovery, it is not about being better than anyone else. It is about being your best self.

It is like grown-ups who can see that a child’s play will end in anger and tears and will intervene before one of the children starts to cry. From your Higher Self, you need to start recognizing when your journey becomes ego-driven, and when you come from the heart. Your recovery journey is allowed to be fun, it does not have to end in anger and tears. Keep it light and playful.

10 – The Outcome – Princess of Cups

Druid Craft Tarot - Princess of Cups

As I have pulled a court card for this position, you need to look for a change in your identity that will be more defined. Look at this card! See how this Princess can enjoy the experiences she has. This asks for sensitivity to your dreams and hopes for your future.

It also means that you need to start defining your dreams. Decide that you do not need to stay in the mud of recovery where things are hard to change. If you look closely enough, you will understand that there is a lot to enjoy. Even when some certain behaviors or foods are not right for you anymore, this does not mean that you are not allowed to enjoy life and the things you *can* eat! Find joy in little things and rise above it by defining an aligned action you so often repeat until it is automatic behavior.

What also helps is to meditate or pray to connect with your inner child (or your guides) to know what is yours for the future.

Finally, for this Celtic Cross for Recovery

If you happen to come across this reading of the Celtic Cross for Recovery, I meant it for you to read it. While this reading is about food addiction, you do not need to be a food addict to understand the importance of it. Any person on a recovery journey will find something in this reading, as long as they are able to change food addiction to their substance.

If you found helpful things in this reading, it was there for you to find it. If you have questions about it, then know that I am there for you to answer them.

Order your recovery weight loss reading here.

The cards in this blog come from the Druid Craft Tarot. If you click on the following links, I may earn a small amount of money for referring you to the Amazon product you are looking for:

The Druidcraft Tarot

The Druid Craft Tarot Deck

A Letter To Food Addiction

Dear Food Addiction,

At a very early age, you taught me you were always there for me. While I did not know what that meant, I later learned that you were there at a few steps away. The moment I started to eat, I’d feel tension subside, and I would sink into a state in which I did not feel much anymore.

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