How Healing Through Latinx Spiritual Traditions Also Helped Me Lose Weight
This is not a story about how to lose weight. This is my personal story about how I saw a physical transformation take place when I prioritized my spiritual health. After all, they go hand in hand. When we don't heal from intergenerational trauma or the trauma we ourselves have endured in our lives; it remains in our energy field or aura until it eventually shows up as a physical ailment. So, four years ago, after giving birth to twins at the age of 41, and watching my weight shoot up to nearly 200 pounds, I thought I'd simply have to focus on exercise and eating healthy to snap back. But I was wrong.
Beyond the pounds I gained from carrying twin babies to full term, I was dealing with a lot of mental health issues. I was unhappy in my relationship, felt isolated and alone when I was going through postpartum depression, and my self-awareness, self-love, and self-care took a backseat while the weight road shotgun. Meanwhile, food became my ride-or-die bestie.
Re-prioritizing my spiritual health was key in me falling in love with myself again, something I lost amid balancing relationships, motherhood, career, and life in general.
While I struggled with how I looked, I always did my best to embrace myself no matter where I was on the scale. But this wasn't about what I looked like more than it was about how I felt, and I didn't feel good, physically, mentally, or spiritually. Re-prioritizing my spiritual health was key in me falling in love with myself again, something I lost amid balancing relationships, motherhood, career, and life in general. So, I started carving out time every day to dedicate to spiritual practices even if it was only 10 or 15 minutes.
Through meditation, I visualized a happier, healthier me. I didn't only see it, but I allowed myself to feel it deeply.
Through meditation, I visualized a happier, healthier me. I didn't only see it, but I allowed myself to feel it deeply. Breathwork helped to keep my anxieties at bay, so I felt more balanced. Therefore, I wasn't so quick to reach for that unhealthy snack as a band-aid solution to what I was really feeling. Speaking and writing my prayers were also powerful ways of releasing built-up tension.
Image Source: Zayda Rivera
Spiritual baños were great at cleansing my aura of stagnant and negative energy and reviving my soul. So, when that voice of self-doubt crept in, my spiritual defenses were up and ready to reassure me of my beauty and strength. During the times when I was struggling most, the baños were a great reset that helped me to stay positive and focused on my spiritual wellness goals. Losing weight was a goal, but it wasn't the priority. My spiritual and mental health was, and when I focused on those, the weight started to go, gradually. But it took time, patience, and the belief that my choice in living a spiritual lifestyle was the right remedy for me.
Walking took on a different feel when I used it as a movement meditation instead. Every time my feet touched the ground, it was a show of gratitude for Mother Earth. Mindfulness practices like these not only kept me present, but the three-mile meditative walk also had a positive impact on my weight, physical strength, and muscle tone.
The same was true when I'd do breath of fire, which is typically used in the practice of Kundalini yoga. By snapping the belly back quickly with bursts of air exhaling from the nose, the breath of fire helps to reduce stress, boost brain function, and improve respiratory health. What I didn't realize is how much this spiritual practice would also help me to regain abdominal strength and get my digestive system back on track.
Egg limpias helped me heal from the relationships that were no longer serving me. Candle magic assisted in keeping my goals aligned and focused, and reassured me along the journey as I manifested the life I want for myself and my kids. Hypnosis helped to reconfigure my thoughts around food and my relationship with it. The gut weight I was carrying with me was more about how depressed I was than food choices. So, I knew if I could heal myself from depression my relationship with food would change. And it absolutely has.
Affirmations also played a key role in becoming healthier overall and therefore losing weight. I kept a Toni Morrison quote visible as a daily reminder of my ultimate goal — freeing myself of the people, things, and habits that were weighing me down. The quote is: "You wanna fly, you gotta give up the shit that weighs you down." The extra weight was weighing me down. Sure. But more than that, it was the self-doubt, the lack of confidence, the lack of self-love, depression, sadness, fear, guilt, shame, and unhappiness that was truly the heavy weight I needed to lift off me for good overall physical, spiritual, and mental health.
When I began to shift my perspective and see life for all its beauty despite the storms we endure from time to time, I started to feel healthier physically, spiritually, and mentally.
The way I was thinking about myself, my circumstances, and life was not healthy, and it showed up in every facet of my being. When I began to shift my perspective and see life for all its beauty despite the storms we endure from time to time, I started to feel healthier physically, spiritually, and mentally. I chose to live a lifestyle practicing Indigenous spiritual traditions that my ancestors used, and remain potent, powerful, magical, and extremely relevant today.
Now, I'm at 145 pounds and feel better than I have in nearly five years. I still practice meditation daily, and some form of movement whether that's yoga, walking, dancing, or just running around with my 4-year-old twins and teenager. The joy in my everyday existence makes me feel lighter, and I'm able to show up for my children as the best version of myself. The fact that I lost over 50 pounds is the icing on the cake of this story.
My inner child needed some serious loving and reassurance. That broken woman I once was is now healing and living in a different way. The changes that resulted from my spiritual practices are what created a space for me to truly love myself, which resulted in me making better lifestyle choices all around from the food I eat, to the media I consume, to my relationship with money, and the healthy boundaries I set in my relationships with people.
These spiritual practices are intended to become ingrained in your everyday life. They aren't something to use to find a quick solution and then toss aside until the next time you need it. My ancestors gifted me with these spiritual traditions which I incorporate into my everyday life. While I'm not certain my children will follow suit, I teach them everything I know about spiritual wellness so that they too have the knowledge that can change the trajectory of their lives.