Conceptualizing Weight Loss

I started classes this week for my drama therapy master’s program, and I want to share a concept discussed in one of them. This is the concept of The Hero’s Journey, developed by Joseph Campbell based on his studies of world mythology. Many stories and myths from a variety of cultures follow the Hero’s Journey format. Star Wars is one example. But I also think this concept can be a useful way to conceptualize your weight loss journey.

Successful weight loss requires a personal transformation. Reaching and maintaining your weight loss goal requires you to confront the negative habits, self-limiting beliefs, and excuses that keep you emotionally and physically unhealthy. You will need to change deeply ingrained behaviors and attitudes. As you face your personal challenges, you will undoubtedly find allies and sources of support, ultimately emerging from the experience changed in some good way.

In the image above, “Known” refers to your external world. It’s you, living your life at a body weight that is unhealthy for you. “Uknown” refers to your inner landscape, the realm of your thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, and emotions. It is you yourself who is called on to transform through the process of weight loss. You get to change your habitual negative responses to boredom, stress, and pain, discovering yourself in the process. When you don’t use food to cope with life, what new opportunities reveal themselves to you? As you progress through your own hero’s journey, you will eventually carry those new ways of being back into your external life.

What does your own Hero’s Journey look like? Where are you on the circle? What are your greatest challenges, and what are your sources of support? What is it that you could accomplish if you were not giving in to cravings and emotional eating?

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