Archive for the Body Category

I Would Be Happy If I Could Only lose Weight….”

410950321Diets fail because they are an offspring of control. They are disguised attempts at manipulating our external environment to achieve a change that must come from deep within ourselves. Following someone else’s rules and setting arbitrary limits about everything we put into our mouth cannot possibly harness the power of our own healing.

Most “diets” come to predictable ends. They are subject to boredom, disillusionment, impatience and lack of joy. They keep us hooked for a while on achieving an outcome that may have been unrealistic from the start. Any diet based on the common belief “I would be happy if I could only lose weight” leaves us feeling miserable, if not a little brokenhearted.

Even when we lose weight, if we still think about ourselves in the same, old ways our food issues continue to be a domineering force in our lives. We still think that “thinner is better.” We still talk about losing “five more pounds” even after we reach a more satisfactory weight range. We still stand in front of the mirror trying to decide if we are still fat.

Succeeding on a new diet or healing your relationship with food can both result in achieving an ideal weight. Whether the amount of weight lost is the same or quite different, it is only by their permanent outcomes can you tell them apart. When you go off the diet, if everything returns to the way it was and nothing else in your life has changed except the number on the scale, it’s very unlikely that number will remain where it is.

When you heal your relationship with food, your life is transformed. Weight loss is easily maintained because you have gained insight about your old behaviors and reframed your thinking about food and hunger.  Inspiration comes from the desire to be healthy, not wanting a smaller body. You have learned how to live a more satisfying life with a more enlightened relationship with yourself.

Food Problem?

body-mind-spiritMany women keep their food choices and how they eat a secret. Others distrust food and are overly cautious around it, irrespective of what they weigh. Some are so preoccupied with their hunger that they understand it as a disease, a source of guilt, or mistakenly associate it with shame and fear. And what about all those women who are unfailingly conscientious about eating well, yet never feel quite satisfied or full?

Our weight is often a major concern in our lives. Whether we are within a normal weight range or decidedly overweight, the underlying issue is often about starvation, not food. The pain surrounding how some of us eat is not just about our food choices or what our bodies look like but about an essential aspect of ourselves we keep failing to recognize is always starving.

An important need is not being met. A ripe potential is not being realized. An old wound may be crowding out some of the joy and purpose in our lives. Our food, in its broadest sense, is the source of our healing. Our hungers help us to understand and accept who we are.

How you feed yourself involves far more than the choices you make every day about the substances you put into your body. Your mind needs constant nourishment and your spirit can be ravenous. The body, mind and spirit are fluid and intrinsically interrelated. Their “appetites” ebb and flow. Every aspect of you experiences hunger, needs feeding and has its unique food requirements.

Only you can recognize where your hunger is coming from so you can choose from the most appropriate “foods” available to satisfy that hunger. Keep in mind that whatever nourishes your body, enlivens your mind, or expands the reach of your soul is food. Some or all parts of you are clamoring to be fed all the time.

Healing and Weight Loss

pyramidLOGO_blueReaching a healthy weight and maintaining it is about making your life better, not taking it over with a diet. Feeding your mind and spirit with deliberate and thoughtful regard is as fundamental to lasting health and a life well lived as healthy eating is for your body.

From a body- mind- spirit perspective, every aspect of your being experiences hunger, needs feeding and has its unique food requirements. Some or all parts of you are clamoring to be fed all the time.  Understanding that hunger is not limited to your body is the first step to healing your relationship with food and bringing awareness and acceptance to every aspect of your being.

Today’s drama and confusion about our weight in the throes of an obesity epidemic makes it hard to reframe the meaning of hunger and food in our lives and make a more compassionate shift in how we take care of ourselves. Whether swift and urgent or persistent and enduring, your hunger is an invitation to heal and food, in its broadest sense, is what heals you. Healing your relationship with food must begin with healing the relationship you have with yourself, on every level of your being.

Don’t believe that changing your diet and your weight will make you a “new woman.” That’s not a realistic goal. Seeking to open to everything you are is the real motivation for any change you want to accomplish in your life. Weight loss is too small a goal to sustain when you don’t feel good about yourself and have a hard time understanding your body as a sacred aspect of your being. As you learn how to make benevolent connections to the foods that feed your body, mind and spirit, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight falls into place.

Succeeding on a new diet or healing your relationship with food will both result in achieving a healthy weight. It is only by their permanent outcome that you can you tell them apart. When you go off the diet, if everything returns to the way it was and nothing else in your life has changed except the number on the scale, it’s very unlikely that number will remain where it is.

When you heal your relationship with food, the weight you have lost in the process is easily maintainable because you have reframed your thinking about the meaning of food and gained insight about your old behaviors. The real breakthrough is never about the diet but about understanding your hunger and knowing where it is coming from. Limits are set wisely, but not when it comes to living with freedom and joy.  Your life is transformed.

 

 

The Meaning of Food: An Overview

Happy-Group-of-WomenDon’t you wish you could go back in time and ask Eve why she ate that apple? She was surrounded by lush beauty and all the food she could ever want or need. What was she not getting from living in Paradise? What wasn’t she getting from Adam? What couldn’t she provide for herself?

The whole spectrum of problems that you have with eating may be more about the nature of your hunger than about the food you consume. Some essential part of you besides your body is starving. Some need is not being met. Some potential is not being realized. Perhaps something painful is crowding out some of the joy and purpose in your life. Food, in its broadest sense, is what heals you. Food redeems your understanding of yourself.

How you feed yourself involves far more than the choices you make every day about the substances you put into your body. Certainly you need energy to carry out your thoughts, purposeful acts and support the structure and functioning of your incredible human body. Most likely you understand food to be the organic matter that maintains life. Of course, you are correct. By now, you are familiar with the terms defining major nutrients: proteins, carbohydrates, fats and vitamins. You may know a great deal more.

But you are a lot more than your body. Your mind and your spirit are vital aspects of the whole of your being. Expand your concept of food to include much more than the wholesome substances that go into your mouth to feed your body. Your mind needs constant nourishment. Your spirit can be ravenous.

Your body, mind and spirit are fluid and intrinsically interrelated and their “appetites” ebb and flow. Every aspect of you experiences hunger, needs feeding and has its own unique food requirements. It’s up to you to recognize what part of you is hungry and determine the kind of food that will best satisfy that hunger. Keep in mind that if it nourishes your body well, enlivens your mind or expands the reach of your soul, it is food…..

 

Before During and After: Successful Weight Loss After 40

73-weight-loss-before-after

The problem with “Before and After” photos do not take into account the step by step process of committing to health, day by day, to achieve an outcome we’ve longed for. Maybe by including “During” in these images (the many ways we keep investing in our health) our “After” photo would truly be our very own “picture of health…”

 

One fallacy the weight loss industry continues to promote is that our lives will change once we lose 10, 20, or 120 pounds. One thing I know for sure from years of working with women who struggle with issues related to eating, food and weight: Changing our lives comes first. Sustained weight loss follows. Take time to define what good health means to you – what you are willing to do and what you are willing to change- to live the life you want. What one change can you make right now to live the life you want?