Many people believe that in order to lose weight, all they need is more self-control. Have you ever heard someone say, “If only I had more willpower!” Maybe you’ve said it, too. Actually, maybe it’s not willpower you need more of, but just some loving kindness toward yourself.
Rather than trying to restrict food, you can eat when you are hungry. In the long run, this will not lead to weight gain or a lack of control over eating, but rather to a sense of peace and ease around food.
Consider the following questions:
· Do you try not to eat very much, only to end up overeating, and then feel terrible afterwards?
· Do you grab at your thighs or belly in self-disgust?
· Are you constantly evaluating your body and finding that it doesn’t measure up?
· Conversely, do you try to avoid your body at all costs?
· Do you avoid scales and mirrors?
· Would you like to disown your body?
You are wonderful regardless of your body size. Still, life improves vastly when you can treat your body well. When you offer love and care to your body, your body responds with increased vitality.
What if you could accept your body just as it is now? What if you could accept the way you eat, just as you do now? How might this help your attempts to lose weight?
In my work with clients, I have found the following to be true:
· When you can accept your body just as it is for the miracle of life it offers you, your body gradually responds by achieving a healthy, attractive weight.
· Without a desperate need to change your body, you’ll feel much less anxiety about how or what you eat. You’ll work toward your goal of weight loss with a sense of well-being. You will not be in a fight with your body, but rather a graceful dance.
· When you promise yourself that food will always be available for you, you are less likely to fear that you won’t get enough, and over time, you’ll naturally eat fewer calories.
· When you are not restricting food, you will find that you want to eat healthfully. In fact, studies have shown that people who do not restrict food actually eat healthier than people who limit their intake.
Have you ever eaten in a last chance sort of way? This happens when you tell yourself, “I already blew it by eating one cookie, so I may as well eat the whole bag. I’ll never eat cookies again after this. Tomorrow I’ll start my diet. Stick to rabbit food, I will!” Saying that last sentence in Yoda-speak may even temporarily convince you that you’ll have the power of the force to follow through.
And the next day, or few days, or even few weeks, you might stick to a strict plan. But after a while, you’ll start to get tired of depriving yourself. You may start to notice some fear arising along with the following types of thoughts: “How long will I have to be deprived? This is hard. I’m tired of being so disciplined. What if I can’t stick to my perfect eating plan? Then I’ll be in trouble.”
Often when fear arises, a sense of defiance also begins to take hold. Thinking that weight loss is hard and restrictive, you may be ready to give up and eat everything and anything you want. This is understandable. But, you know how you feel when this happens. Sadly, you are not really able to enjoy your food. You are indulging on your favorite treats, but the entire time you are also feeling guilty. You are aware that you are really blowing it. You are letting yourself down. You are acting in a self-destructive way, sabotaging your ultimate goal to achieve a healthier body and state of mind.
And after you finish eating, you feel even worse. You are full of remorse and self-disgust.
Naturally, you promise yourself that you’ll get back on the restrictive eating plan, which then sets you up for another slip-up. Can you see how it becomes a vicious cycle?
To break this, you need another approach entirely.
A commitment to let yourself eat when you are hungry. And a commitment to let go of the past. You may have overeaten, but beating yourself up about it won’t change it. It only creates more pain that you really don’t deserve. Instead, promise yourself that diets and restriction are in your past. Because when you truly believe food will always be there for you, food loses its power—it’s no longer be so darn tempting.
Were you ever told there was something you couldn’t do and just being told this made you really want to do it? We know that what we resist persists.
But still, diets are a billion dollar industry. Rather than a diet, try practicing presence. The present is a place where you honor your desires for food when they arise, and you live fully at peace knowing you’ll never have to go hungry again. When you know that you can have food, of course you’ll still want it—we all need it—but not so powerfully and painfully. And you’ll need less to satisfy you.
Breathe out a sigh of relief. You, dear reader, deserve to end the food fight for good. Read more or sign up for a free newsletter at my website: www.eatingdisordersnomore.com or see my blog: www.joy4bodyandsoul.blogspot.com.
Do you love your body? If you’re like most people, you probably don’t.
You may have heard that eighty percent of women are dissatisfied with their bodies. They want to change something about themselves, or everything!
I used to loathe my body. I hated it with a passion that burned hotter than Jude Law—I still think he’s hot.
I’m a very petite person, short and naturally thin but toned. Over the years, many of my friends have told me they’d love to have my body, or parts of my body… like my arms or calves or butt. I’ve been on the receiving end of many comments like, “Your body’s so little and cute it’s disgusting! Life is so unfair!”
But oh, what they didn’t know. I may have been little, but I was absolutely miserable. For years, I struggled with eating disorders in attempt to do one thing and one thing only: get a flat stomach.
For me, it’s always been about my stomach. For some women, it’s about their thighs—too big—or breasts—too small—or ankles—too fat. Not me. I’ve always had a chubby little belly.
Well, not always.
I achieved a flat stomach when I starved for a period of months.
I achieved a flat stomach when I worked out like a maniac for two hours every single day.
I achieved a flat stomach when I barely ate all day and lay in bed all night with gnawing hunger pains that growled like a ferocious dog.
But I could only take starving for so long.
There finally came a point when I just couldn’t ignore the hunger—the growling dog that was my stomach began barking wildly, too disturbing to ignore even with my head under the pillow. I had to do something about my state of unrest. So I ate huge amounts of everything and anything.
This is, by the way, the body’s natural response to starving. When we deny our body food, it will drive us to overeat. Our need for food is a survival instinct—a powerful drive beyond our brain’s control.
I used to beat myself up for not having any willpower. Now I realize that practically everyone loses their willpower when they have starved themselves for a long time. Only by learning to feed myself regularly could I stop bingeing.
And when I stopped bingeing, my weight normalized. But I still didn’t lose my little pooch. I would stare at pictures of models in bikinis and long to look just like them. I wasted so much time comparing myself and feeling inferior.
Why was I so obsessed with my stomach?
I truly believed I would be more lovable if I had a flat tummy. It’s not such an outrageous thought. Look how many people get breast augmentation. What’s the purpose? Isn’t it to be more lovable? To conform to society’s standards. To live up to the image that everyone has been brainwashed to believe makes a female worthy.
Please know that I’m not dissing the decision to alter your body. None of us are unaffected by the images the media portrays. And we all want to be loved.
But now I know the REAL key to finding love… it is believing you are lovable, just as you are!
It’s my genetic makeup to carry a little fat on my stomach.
And it’s okay. It’s not ugly. Fat isn’t ugly. It just is. It’s our judging mind that would have it be ugly.
So after years of self-help, I’ve finally come to accept my little belly. Not ONLY accept it, but LOVE it. It’s sexy in its own right. I CAN choose to consciously generate feelings of love for my whole body including my stomach, just as it is.
And I CAN do a Jillian workout video and notice her flat tummy, but no longer get all caught up looking down at mine with an overwhelming sense of unworthiness and self-disgust.
I hope that all of you wonderful, beautiful readers will come to love your body as well, every part, just as it is. That is, if you don’t already.
For more on body image, see my website. I’ll soon be getting a new and improved eating disorder website titled Eating Disorders No More. It will have much more to offer! But for now, the info on the old site is still worthwhile.
I’d love to have you join me at my blog about finding joy for your body and soul.
I want men to find me attractive.
It satisfies my ego when a man wants me. Isn’t it fun to make a head turn? Especially as we get older and realize that our looks just aren’t the same as they were in our twenties and early thirties.
I realize this need to be seen as beautiful is shallow, but I hope many of you lovely readers can also relate. I like to think I’m becoming a spiritually evolved person who realizes that appearances aren’t so vital—that the form life takes is much less important than the life inhabiting the form. But as I’ve said before, I’m so NOT there.
I started thinking about all of this yesterday because I had a really bad hair day. I’m overdue for a cut and color, so it’s getting harder and harder to fix. I kept playing with it to try and make it look alright.
Then I started thinking about how much time I’ve wasted over the course of my life just standing in front of the mirror ratting and re-ratting my hair. I know stylists call it backcombing or teasing, but these softer, gentler sounding words are not the right words for what I do with my hair. I am yanking on each strand until I have the totally ‘80’s rock band effect, like a Ratt band member.
Granted, I don’t walk out the door with four-inch hair. After it’s sticking straight up I style it, despite my husband telling me to leave it that way because he finds it sexy (he must be a good husband, or he has an unhealthy obsession with hair metal, or both!).
At any rate, I found myself asking, what’s the point of all of this effort when I could be spending my time doing something more productive than trying to look good? If I just cut out hair and makeup, I’d have 30 to 45 minutes to spend doing something more productive.
Yet I can’t seem to move past feeling like I’m not worthy if I don’t at least try to look pretty.
And so I hang on to my shallow side, knowing for certain that when I look closely at myself, feeling wanted doesn’t satisfy my soul (or the life-force within, or whatever you choose to call it). It doesn’t bring me true joy. It’s just a temporary diversion, a temporary sick-satisfaction, and then I’m onto needing a new ego boost.
Our soul can’t lack for anything. It’s the human condition—some spiritual teachers call it the ego—that has this desperate desire to prove itself. This ego part of me takes over and I find myself waiting for something to happen before my life can be fulfilled.
My wish for someone to find me attractive is just one of the many things I wait for. Aren’t we all waiting for something? For the next job, the next house, the next relationship, the next competition to win, the next vacation, the next child… for the next great thing to come along and complete us.
Instead of all of this, I am practicing letting go of my need to stand out, to be seen, to be validated. I am trying to remember that I am a whole lot more than just my looks, trying to remember that what really brings me joy is realizing that this moment is the most important moment. By passing it up, I’m passing up life. Instead, I can choose to live each moment with as much peace and happiness as possible.
You are and me are already everything, and we have everything. Dare we believe that this may be it in life? That these days may truly be the best days of our life? That we don’t have to look to anything in the future (especially male attention) to complete us. That instead, we can connect with the present moment, breathe in its abundance and sacred beauty, and uncover the joy inherent in every moment.
I’m happy to say I only spent 5 minutes on my hair today!
Wishing you JOY. Until next time.