Posts Tagged body mind spirit

Beyond the Diet

Being on a diet can be a terribly lonely experience. Involving others is important for successful outcomes. We must look to people who are available to provide us with positive feedback and encouragement. It’s also important that they know how to listen, respect our goals and avoid imposing their own beliefs.

You can heal your struggles with food and eating. Food is not the problem; it is the solution. Identifying the source of your hungers takes you out of the diet mentality and initiates your healing. Starting on a stringent diet is actually much easier than identifying underprivileged, underfed aspects of yourself.

Discard the old diet mentality and bring bold nourishment to every forgotten corner of your being – Body, Mind and Spirit. This is a singularly profound accomplishment. If you have difficulties getting started or need support during a rough time, ask for help. Involve those who know you well and care about you. It gives up none of your authority- It enhances it.

If circumstances allow, work with an experienced therapist, professional trainer, nutritional counselor, physician, or spiritual leader—someone who knows and values their own truth and is respectful about yours. Anyone who does not work with you in caring, safe and beneficial ways is not useful to your process.

Women can form special alliances. We often make an instant connection to a total stranger, someone we know casually or have yet to meet who was once where we are now.  We make deep and abiding bonds to other women who are also searching for their answers and their truth.  Our greatest ally is often another woman. Sometimes someone comes along or is already in our lives that we can confide in and trust to help us.

 

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.

 

 

Benediction for the Present Moment

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The concept of mindfulness is simple but not easy. Little children and dogs are uninhibitedly mindful. Their experiences are single-minded and pure because they intimately engage in every moment as it arrives, as it is experienced and as it ends.

As adults, we are too often caught up in our own thoughts and inner dialogues as the moments of our lives pass by in a noisy blur. Mindfulness brings a different kind of energy to our experiences. We remain intrinsically curious about how our lives unfold from one moment to the next.

A little bit of mindfulness goes a long way. We can deal more effectively with our personal issues and disappointments so they don’t take over.  A deliberately mindful orientation does not ignore all distracting thoughts and feelings. Instead, it acknowledges them and moves on to what immediately follows. Mindfulness keeps us deliberately connected to the continual source of human nourishment: What is happening right now, in this moment.

“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment and nonjudgmentally.”     John Kabot-Zinn

Being aware of our hunger is not the same as being mindful about our hunger. Being aware that we are eating is not the same thing as eating mindfully. We can be aware of hunger without an inkling of the character of our hunger and how it feels. We can know that we’re eating, but if at the same time we are watching TV, cooking, reading or talking on the phone, we remain clueless about how we are responding to the qualities of our food.

If there is conflict and emotional stress involved in our relationship with food, we tend to focus most on negative and self-defeating thought patterns and not on what is happening in the very moment. We are left with only a dim awareness (and sometimes not even that) of our actual experience of eating. We deprive ourselves of a huge and joyful part of our lives.

 

“The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children”

How many of you who have been struggling with your weight since childhood (regardless of what you weigh now), know this little girl? It is time to pay more attention to all the body image issues our daughters and granddaughters must face today.images.jpglittle girl

Dilemma: Distraction or Decision?

imagesFYQPDYOBIt is nine o’clock on a Friday night. You’ve just come home from having a great dinner with friends from work.  After a long and intense week of pouring your highly developed talents into finalizing a critical project, all you want to do is crawl into bed and watch a movie on TV. In the bed with you are some chips and leftover guacamole, bean and cheese dip. On your night table, a can of soda and a handful of grapes wait. More food wasn’t in your plan or was it?

You decide to turn off the television (great decision) and right away, all the resentment you ignored this week while scrambling to meet your boss’s demands settles in your throat. The unforgiving belief that nothing you do is ever good enough takes hold as the aching for recognition pulses in your stomach. The satisfying dinner and the food within your reach notwithstanding, your hunger from a tremendous sense of lack has followed you home.

When we are heart-hungry, heartsick or heartbroken, it is not our body that needs nourishment. We have the choice of distracting ourselves from our pain with food or making the decision to love ourselves. Self-compassion is the antidote for merciless self-judgment; it stops us from relentlessly finding fault and beating ourselves up. A little bit of compassion for ourselves is a bridge to our spirit when we fail, feel isolated in our imperfections and are about to give up on ourselves.

Our relationship with food is complicated.  It can become entwined with important emotional and spiritual issues and the direction our lives are taking. It is important to examine if we are comforting or numbing ourselves with how and what we eat. Taking a closer look at our unhealthy eating patterns can help us see if we are using food in ways that starve our spirit or help it thrive. What Part of You Is hungry?