Saturday, January 1, 2011

The One Diet Tip No One Ever Talks About: Healing The Body Relationship

Welcome to 2011! As promised, a blog to help you stay connected to your best vision of your body in the new year...

Most of us go through our lives constantly trying to lose weight, get healthier, make changes. At times it’s frustrating and feels like nothing’s working. We keep getting disappointed by ourselves and our bodies and repeat the vicious cycle of trying and failing.

We all know that any time we set goals, it’s hard—if not impossible-- to accomplish them through criticism, judgment and hopelessness. And yet, that’s often the state of mind we slip into with our bodies. We judge ourselves constantly and forever push ourselves to be something else.

What if we tried something different—something radical that asked us to think of our bodies more as partners and less as enemies or objects to be controlled? What if we tried befriending our bodies and letting ourselves work with our bodies instead of against them? The six steps listed below are some prime examples of how to do just that.

1) Listen.

Most of us have completely forgotten how to listen to our bodies, but if we did they’d have a whole lot to say. If we’re honest, we know the difference in our bodies between being hungry and being sad, tired or lonely. If we really listen to our bodies, we get clues about what we actually need. Instead of a pint of ice-cream, we might actually want to reach out to a friend, listen to music or take a nap. Reconnecting to our bodies means we owe them—like any friend—a good listen. It no longer serves us to ignore what they have to say.

2) Remember the good times.

Maybe it seems far away now, but there was probably a time when you felt great in your body—even if it’s just a moment. Think about what it felt like to be in your body in that moment and how you can bring more of that quality into your life now. That’s how you want to feel more of the time, and as you bring up that feeling you’ll find yourself making different choices right now from a place of connection rather than frustration.

3) Watch your language.

We can be our bodies’ harshest critics, constantly slamming them with negative judgments or frowning at them in the mirror for not being what we want. Think for a minute about the impact of this on your body and how it might feel about being in this relationship with you. Is this helpful or supportive? Think about ways that you can begin to talk to and appreciate your body for what it does do for you and think about working together rather than at odds with each other. You’ll notice a change almost immediately.

4) Forgive yourself.

Stepping into a healthier relationship means letting go of thoughts and behaviors in the past that may have held you back so that you can move into the future. If you have been judging and resenting your body, see if you can forgive it and forgive yourself and show up fresh, with a new willingness to have a positive, healthy relationship. You might even write a letter of declaration or forgiveness to your body as you commit to a new way of being together.

5) Enjoy each other.

Once you befriend your body, you can start thinking about ways you’d like to spend time together instead of dreading the ‘checklist’ of exercise or health goals. Maybe you’d like to spend more time outside? Put some music on and dance? As you think about it feeling good in your body rather than at odds with it, your choices start to change.

6) Create dreams together.

True friends help each other work toward their goals. Think about what it would feel like to be in your best possible body relationship and use that vision to motivate both you and your body toward greater health. When you feel like you could be sidetracked by an unhealthy choice or a distraction, go back to the vision of what you most want and see if that changes things. Holding a dream of your best, healthiest self and working with your body to accomplish it gives you the greatest chance of achieving your goals.

UPDATE: Want more inspiration for working with the body relationship? Listen to my interview with Eric Dye on EHealth Radio. The transcript is included too--