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.