Archive for the Mind 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.

 

 

Just Where Is the Dysfunction in “Dysfunctional Eating?”

shutterstock_165652964Our body weight does not define the degree of dysfunction in our eating. Anytime we use food to ease our despair rather than nourish our bodies and support our well-being, our eating is dysfunctional.

It may appear more obvious that someone needing to lose one-hundred pounds suffers with eating and food issues more than someone needing to lose fifteen, but body weight hardly defines the degree of despair we hold about our lives.

When food and despair become entwined, we lose sight of feeding ourselves and try to feed the despair, instead. Feeding despair is often a driving force behind our misuse of food and becoming entrapped in harmful eating patterns. Eating is “dysfunctional” when it leaves us on the other side of good health and loving our lives.

Using food in an effort to hide anguish from ourselves or others does not eliminate ease  pain or heal it. Understanding and accepting our vulnerabilities and difficulties as valid and endearing aspects of who we are is the foundation for true healing. Everyone comes face- to- face with all kinds of seemingly external obstacles that stand in the way of self-discovery. If yours are about your relationship with food, these obstacles are your calls for healing your life. They represent the turmoil within to know and accept everything about yourself, even the parts you don’t yet understand.

It may be sobering to admit the psychological, emotional and spiritual burdens that our body and food issues can impose on our lives. For some of us, decisions about food and eating are so layered and complicated that they become a source of on-going tension that never lets up. We become so caught up in the daily struggle that we don’t fully grasp that our lives don’t have to be this way. Before we know it, tomorrow is already upon us and the struggle begins again. A different paradigm for thinking about food can free you from thoughts about being or becoming fat, and all the other related issues that have taken a stranglehold on your life. What Part of You Is Hungry?

 

INVITATION TO HEAL

dreamstime_m_34879771Food, in its broadest sense heals. Our hunger is an invitation to healing. Our thoughts and feelings about our foods, our hungers and how we feed ourselves reflect a great deal about our identity as women. Our behavior around food says something about how well we love ourselves, how we relate to others and what we do with our lives. It’s that important.

For some of us, decisions about food and eating are so layered and complicated that they become a source of on-going tension that never lets up. We become so caught up in the daily struggle that we don’t fully grasp that our lives don’t have to be this way. Before we know it, tomorrow is already upon us and the struggle begins again. A different paradigm for thinking about food can free you from thoughts about being or becoming fat, and all the other related issues that have taken a stranglehold on your life. What Part of You Is Hungry?

Unhealthy attitudes about our bodies and how we feed them prevail. Some of us use food as a buffer between layers of pain and heartbreak, exhausting our will. Too many of us starve, no matter how much we eat. Every woman should take a close look at her relationship with food because it is perhaps the most intimate barometer of self-worth and how we live our lives. As we heal our relationship with food, we heal our relationship with ourselves and come as close to living “happily ever after” as we can get.