Beyond Dieting; A Fresh New Approach
We can’t choose the body we want, rather we have to accept the body we are given. Our bodies are an amazing compilation of traits from all our ancestors. They are unique and allow us to have the physical experience of life. They are the vehicles of our soul. They are connected to our mind and spirit. Our thoughts and emotions can literally make us sick or heal us physically. However, if I asked 10 people if they liked their bodies, what do you think the majority, if not all of them, would say? On the top of most people’s list would be their dissatisfaction with their weight.
Here are a few facts: Our current population is getting heavier even though as many as 40 percent of women and 24 percent of men are trying to lose weight at any given time. Unfortunately, our cultures expectation about body size has led to an unhealthy obsession with weight. The underlying cultural view and the message given by the media is that being thin will make us feel healthier, more beautiful and happier.
The media images bombarding us today are unrealistic and seem to lead us on a mission for the “ideal body”. Precious time and energy is being consumed by thinking about, talking about, worrying about, and trying to find the magic cure for fixing our weight. Even so, statistics prove that there is no magic cure. People who go on “diets” typically gain back as much as one-third to two-thirds of the weight within one year and almost all of it within five years. Our self-worth becomes entwined with these messages. Because of our cultures obsession with thinness, it is increasingly difficult for us to see the beauty and diversity in different sizes and shapes. It is increasingly difficult for us to not judge ourselves and others by how we look rather than who we are. For, our true beauty is reflected in our soul, our passion, in what we do for others, and how we care for ourselves. Learning to take extremely good care of yourself is a vital part of body, mind, spirit coaching.
Taking a non-dieting approach that focuses on self-acceptance, physical activity, and normalized eating frees you from the “diet mentality” to do better, more important things with your time and energy. The non-dieting approach takes the emphasis off calorie counting, counting exchanges, scales, fat gram counting, and the “ideal body.” Finally keep in mind that change takes time and be patient with yourself. Seek out supportive people and environments and change because you already are a wonderful person—not because you want to become one.
Debra Betterly, PhD is an Integrative Wellness & Life Coach and Metaphysician whose passion is to help women expand their health, joy and purpose in midlife and beyond.
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