What is really weighing you down?
Do the number of inches around your waist measure the amount that you are worth?
Let me tell you something. You’re never going to lose those last five pounds.
What?? How do YOU know?, you might be thinking. That’s none of your business! And then: Yes, I will, and I can!
You are right; maybe you can and it is not my place to assume what your diet and body can and can’t do.
But I am here to ask: why is that so important???
I have met so many people who are suffering every day because they have not asked
themselves that question.
It’s the end of February. How’s your New Year’s Resolution going? If it involves weight loss it has probably been thrown out the window by now. How are you feeling about that?
How are you feeling about yourself?
I hope the answer is “great!”, but I am bravely going to dare to suggest that if a weight loss goal is connected with how you feel about yourself and your body, then you’re probably struggling with some self-criticism right about now. You are never ‘perfect’ enough…
You may be one of the thousands of men or women who ‘wants to lose those last five pounds’ and then you’ll feel ‘confident’ in your body.
I get it. That elusive yet seemingly doable goal of weight loss as a way to feel better about yourself and your body is so tantalizing.
The ads on television and in the magazines throw out all the stops to convince you that going on a diet and counting your calories is the solution as to why you don’t feel so great about yourself. (And they make it look so damn easy!) They promise you if you lost five pounds (or more) you will find…wealth…popularity…success…happiness.
I’m not sure about you, but I receive dozens of spam email messages each day. Here are a few of the most delicious titles:
‘Ellen DeGeneres’ Ageless Look! She looks 20 again just by taking this pill!”,; and from GetSkinnyNow: ‘READ THIS OR HATE YOURSELF FOREVER!’; and from BetterThanBotox: ‘[Secret Revealed!] Arctic Glacier Eliminates Wrinkles Forever!’. And good old Dr Oz promises me: ‘#1 Brand New Diet Tip of 2015: This Miracle Pill Will Burn Fat Fast!!’
Since when is deprivation, shaming, and rigidity a path to inner peace and self-love?
Yesterday marked the beginning of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2015. The last week of February each year is designated nationally as a time to flood social media and our society with lots of information, resources, and hope for eating disorder recovery. The theme this year is: “I had no idea… “that some of the things we do and say each day to ourselves or to others can trigger an eating disorder to develop.
One of those statements is “I had no idea…that my quest for health was making me sick.”
Not all diets trigger eating disorders, but rigid and perpetual dieting increases the risk of developing disordered eating behaviors like binge eating. Did you know that statistics show that people who consistently diet are thirteen times more likely to binge eat?
And did you know that more than 65% of people who have lost weight on a diet will gain it back (and then some) within the next year? If weight loss is connected to your self-worth, how is that ever going to point you in the direction of feeling better about yourself?
So instead of focusing on losing weight or counting calories to cultivate a relationship with yourself that is loving and pleasurable, how about trying these seven ideas instead?
1.) Take yourself out on a date. When you have been dieting and controlling your food and body for so long, you may have lost touch with what your body really needs or wants. Spend an evening listening …and then giving. If it wants a pint of ice cream, yum! If it wants to go salsa dancing, sounds fun! This helps to foster a sense of acceptance and connection, allowing you to build on developing a mutually enjoyable relationship with your body.
2.) Ask yourself what five pounds would really change about your life – and if the dieting is worth it? Is losing weight really the way to get there?
3.) Did you know that muscle weighs more than fat? Those extra five pounds may be comprised of muscle and strength…helping to make your body awesome and capable of doing so many things. Why attach a number to that?
4.) Focus on your strength and capability of your body and not your blemishes. What does your body do for you each day that you are not aware of? For example, did you know how complex our digestive system is and how our body facilitates so many essential daily processes that we are not consciously aware of? Amazing!
5.) Ask your body if it is truly hungry and if so, what would taste good to eat right now. So much of the diet mentality is not listening but formulating what you should eat based on someone else’s guidelines. Somebody who is not in your body and doesn’t know it as well as you do. Your body is wise and when it is well-fed it will shift to a place where it naturally feels healthy. That may be losing weight…it may not.
6.) Let go of that negative, judgmental, critical monster voice in your head. You may never be able to make it go away completely, but you can change your relationship with it and the influence it has over you. Focus on what you love about yourself, your body, and food…not what is ‘wrong’ with those things.
7.) Follow Your Bliss. Life is too short. We don’t get a dress rehearsal for our life— this is it! How do you want to spend your precious time here? How can you invite your body to join the party?
I invite you to attempt to get off the rollercoaster of ‘loving yourself WHEN….I lose five pounds…when I can bench press X amount…when I don’t have wrinkles on my face anymore’….and trying to love and accept yourself as you are today. I have tried it and it is so liberating! See how that feels on your body.