"The body is the reservoir of all the wisdom you need to live successfully." ~ Carolyn Coker Ross, MD
We're in the midst of a special week on managing binge eating and emotional eating at Green Mountain, with Dr. Ross joining us to add her special insight to our four-decade old program dedicated to helping women stop dieting and learn how to take care of themselves. The quote above captures so well the essence of both our approaches -- to conquer eating and weight problems, we need to learn to listen to and trust our bodies. They can give us all the direction we need for making healthy choices when it comes to food and physical activity and, perhaps most importantly, living.
Years of dieting, however, have confused many women. We don't trust that our bodies can tell us these things. Or erratic eating and physical activity patterns, or out of control stress, have put us out of balance, so that our bodies can't even give us accurate signals about what they need.
If you're like many women, you start a new year all fired up to take charge and change your life. But we're repeatedly confounded by the simple fact that typical methods we try to help ourselves put us even more out of balance.
Try these tips to work with your body and keep you going with your 2012 resolutions to achieve a healthy weight.
- Accept your wonderful self. Stop the negative judgment about yourself. It only gets in the way of figuring out what you really need. Rather than a sign of "giving up," self-acceptance actually helps us take better care of ourselves.
- Stop trying to lose weight. For many of us, no matter what the scale says, it's never enough -- either we didn't lose enough, we didn't lose at all, we gained, or things just aren't progressing quickly enough. The end result: We feel defeated. Instead, focus on putting the attitudes and behaviors in place that will help you feel good. Over time, that will take your body to its natural, healthy weight, and keep it there.
- Eat mindfully. This means paying attention to what foods will satisfy you from both a physical and emotional standpoint. It also means giving yourself unconditional permission to eat what you want. If that's confusing, read our brief primer on mindful eating.
- Move your body in ways you enjoy. Forget punishing exercise; instead find ways to move that are fun to you. Have you tried Zumba or Nia? How about just walking instead of trying to run, especially if your body isn't made to run.
- Find the pleasure and meaning in life. Life is about more than numbers on a scale, calories in food, minutes we spend exercising. Eating well and getting enough physical activity is important but keep it as only one part of your life. Expand your focus to include things that make you happy, make you feel fulfilled. You'll find it easier to keep a healthy lifestyle in place that way.
~ Written by Marsha Hudnall, MS, RD, director and owner of Green Mountain at Fox Run, a women's retreat for healthy living without dieting. Learn more about Green Mountain here and read more of our thoughts on our blog A Weight Lifted.