Learning how to be at peace with the body you already have, is much more powerful than trying to change your body to fit with the current Western cultural perception of the “ideal” body.
If you know you could improve how you nourish your body and you want to change how you eat, then you will benefit from learning how to connect with your appetite, the pleasure of eating and how different types of food make you feel. You may well discover you can enjoy all food and nourish your body well.
If you know you could be fitter, then it is worth exploring ways to become more active in a way that you really enjoy. When you approach being active as a means to feel good mentally and physically, not to burn calories or lose weight, you may find you really want to be active.
If at your current size and shape, you have health issues, the above two suggestions are going to help you care for your body in order to better manage those health issues.
Unfortunately, the common advice with managing many health issues, is to lose weight. In order to do this, most people will start dieting, even if they don’t call it that, but if you start restricting food, or being careful with calories, you are dieting. While dieting often produces weight loss and makes people think you’re taking care of your health, chances are this will only be short term and you’ll regain the weight within 1-5 years. You may also end up with a damaged relationship with food and your body, if you didn’t already have one.
Another factor often not considered is, is it the weight loss that brought about the health improvements, or is it the fact you paid attention to your eating and started moving more? I guarantee you it’s the latter. I know this because research shows us that people’s health improves with changes to diet and exercise independent of weight loss.
What does all this mean? You don’t need to focus on weight loss or changing your body’s external appearance to improve your health.
If you pay attention to your eating, I advocate intuitive eating, and you find ways to move your body that you enjoy and that make you feel good, you will be on the path to being a healthier, and possibly happier, human regardless of how much you weigh. However, letting go of dieting and learning to eat intuitively, and uncoupling exercise from weight loss or burning calories, is much more difficult when you are deeply unhappy with how your body looks. Therefore, the power that lies within making peace with your current body, is the capacity it gives you to care for your health through intuitive eating and to find the joy in being physically active.
Learning to be at peace with your body can be challenging and if you struggle with your body image, you may need help from a practitioner skilled in the area of body image. Jodie and I will be discussing all of this and more at our next two Moderation Movement events – tickets on sale now for Gold Coast and Melbourne.
Thanks for reading.