Forget dieting and nourish yourself

22 Aug

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I am very irrational when it comes to my weight.

In high-school, I was anorexic. In college, I was a binge eater. After college, I finally started exercising and eating well and I achieved a healthy weight. I considered it to be an achievement, like graduating from college or buying my first new car. I checked “being healthy” off my list and moved on to other things.

Since then, I got married, started a business and had two kids. And now, in my late 30s, I struggle with my weight. I never lost the weight I gained with my 2nd pregnancy. I am only a little overweight (BMI is 27.6)  but I feel like a failure.

Like I said, I am irrational when it comes to my weight.

In the last 5 years I have been trying to lose weight. Various methods (starvation, weight watchers, low carb) have helped me to lose weight here and there. But it always comes back. Or I lose my motivation once I hit a weight loss plateau.  5 years of dieting (and a history of eating disorders) have left me hating myself for my pitiful lack of self control. I’ve become completely averse to anyone giving me any advise about what to eat, or telling me to exercise — which I have given up on completely. I broke down and cried in a doctor’s office when she told me that I needed to exercise.  I feel deprived all the time, even if I am not actively dieting. And the number on the scale keeps creeping up.

I ended up on anti-depressants. I’ve been on them for years and I have no hope of getting off of them because nothing changes. I am still frustrated, self-hating and stuck.

Finally, I decided that I needed more help.  I went to go see a local doctor of Mind-Body medicine who completely opened me up to some new ideas about how to get healthy.

  1. Food is just one of many ways that we nourish ourselves
    We nourish ourselves in a variety of ways. Its very individualistic but they generally fall into the categories of creative outlets, community, meditation/reflection, exercise, diet,  sleep. Many of us deny ourselves multiple forms of nourishment. For instance, I don’t do anything other than work, take care of my kids, cook/clean and sleep. I have few creative outlets, I don’t have any hobbies and as I said before, I never, ever exercise. I am super good at denying myself lots of things. Thus, I overdo it with food because its one of the few ways of nourishing myself that I have.
    It has nothing to do with self-control, which really should be re-evaluated as a concept anyway, and more to do with the fact that I am unhappy and I am trying to make myself happy by nourishing myself.
  2. Things do not need to be hard to achieve a goal.
    This was so hard for me to understand. Most of us believe that hard work leads to good outcomes. If I work hard, I will get a certain good result. This is actually completely false. Pause and think about that for a minute.

    • When you were in school, what did the you get the best grades in? The subjects you enjoyed? Or the ones you studied hardest?
    • Is it better to write with your non-dominant hand just because its harder? Do you get a better result?

    Being healthy should be easy because it is joyful. Its great to be healthy. It doesn’t have to be hard.

Now when I think back, I was able to lose weight and be healthy after my college graduation because I was happy and stress free. I had finished school and for the first time in my life, I did not have academic obligations. I had a job doing something I loved — and they paid me for it! I had independence and I did whatever I wanted — which included going to the gym every day.  I was emotionally nourished and thus making healthy choices was easy.

Today I will begin my journey to figure out how to get to that happy, healthy place again. I will practice saying yes to myself. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.

 

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