HEALTH AT EVERY SIZE
Health at Every Size - these are the buzz words around the internet these days. Are you healthy? Do you want to be healthier?
What is health? The World Health Organization defined health in its broader sense in 1946 as "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity". Being healthier doesn't mean losing weight. To you it might mean:
- eating better (such as reducing processed foods)
- exercising/moving more
- stopping smoking
- working on that depression
We are very happy to announce that we have a Registered Dietician on staff who will be writing our Health At Every Size series as well as answering a reader's question each month. You can read about Shari's philosophy and experience on our staff page. If you have a question for Shari, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer: This advice is not intended to be a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical, health or nutritional advice.
How in touch are you with your inner self?
In today's ultra-connected world, we are more disconnected than ever, especially with ourselves. And the problem is that ignoring - whether purposefully or unconsciously - the real issue behind whatever is affecting you, can lead to some serious trouble down the road.
A few weeks ago, I had an appointment with a lady who wanted to stop binge eating. Great, you say. Well, it's true that acknowledging that you have a problem is a terrific step forward but that lady requested a list of 'do's and don'ts' to help her overcome binge eating. And she wanted that list during that very first session.
Obviously, I couldn't do that: trying to communicate with yourself (by avoiding or implementing something) before connecting with your inner self, is not simply unhelpful. It can be downright damaging.
You see, most of us have learned to overcome uncomfortable emotions like anger, anxiety or loneliness by smothering them with some kind of distraction. Some people exercise or read while others turn to booze or drugs. And many more find solace in food - cookies, pies and ice cream slowly become their sanctuary.
So how do you deal with this? Do you start by googleing a to-do or not-to-do list (sorry, I just had to…) that goes something like this:
- Don't buy the foods you're most likely to binge on.
- Go for a walk when you feel like bingeing.
- Drink something before giving in to bingeing - it could be that you're just thirsty!
- Call a friend when the chocolate cookies are calling you.
- You get my point.
Yes, I suppose you could do that. But, hmmm, I'm sorry to be a party-pooper (I truly really wished overcoming binge eating was as simple as 'doing something differently') but these efforts are probably not going to be long lasting. Why? Yeah, you guessed it: trying to control your inner self without connecting deeply with it first will not solve the issue. It will only bury it for a while. And when the bingeing rises from the not-so-dead, you'll probably feel betrayed (by yourself) and depressed. And irritated at the (so SO NOT true) idea that 'you've once again failed', you'll fumingly stomp to your fridge, grasping your spoon like a shining sword and whisper 'My prrreciousssss' at the sight of a pint of chocolate ice-cream.
What I'm trying to say is that, if you're trying to overcome a specific compensatory behavior - be it binge-eating or excessive exercising - one of the first things you could do would be to find out what triggers this behavior. What is your inner self trying to tell you before, during and after that behavior occurs? Are there 'warning' signs? Could you have done something differently? If yes, what is it? If no, why is it that you had no other choice?
As outlined in my previous article, you could dissect that particular behavior into its:
- Temporal attributes: Is there a specific time (or times) at which this behavior occurs? Or does it happen before/after a specific event? Or after you saw/heard/remembered something?
- Spatial dimensions: Where are you each time the need to find refuge in that behavior crops up? Are you alone?
- Emotional and physical aspects: How are you feeling deep down and physically before, during and after that behavior 'occurs'?
I know that this can seem daunting but I guarantee you that you'll find this reconnecting-with-yourself strategy amazing as you get back in touch with yourself. Believe that you can succeed and you will.
Submitted by: Shari