Sunday, August 30, 2009

Why We Diet

Have you ever asked yourself why people go on diets? Have you ever asked yourself why you have dieted? I went on my first diet at 13 yo. I was a bit overweight, Twiggy was all the rage (you youngsters will have to Google her name), and I was interested in a gorgeous boy. My girlfriend, Linda, was his girlfriend. She was slender and blond. My mom would not let me dye my hair blond. I felt the only way I could compete with Linda was to lose weight. I started my mission "Win Boyfriend" with great fervor. I lost weight rapidly and this first diet actually was my last. It led to a life and death battle with anorexia nervosa. (It you want to read that story you can find it @ By the way, I did not win the boyfriend. Come to find out he didn't appreciate my new obsessive-compulsive, anxious and depressed personality that dieting had initiated. Go figure!

Diets and diet products promise that losing weight by using their products and plans will bring to fruition your greatest dreams, fulfill your deepest desires. When we fail at following ridiculous rules about food, eating, exercise, etc. we blame ourselves!

We also diet because our culture promotes dieting, dieting behaviors, and the pursuit of artificially thin bodies as the norm. One of my clients brought in an article from Allure Magazine recently revealing the "secrets to thinness" from fashion insiders. It was absurd. The article sounded like it was ripped from the pages of a "How to Develop an Eating Disorder" manual. She told me she had seen similar suggestions on pro-eating disorder sites.

Diets also promise quick answers to serious problems; like poor self-esteem, spiritual emptiness, and depression. It is so much easier to focus on losing weight, controling food, and executing exercise regimes than to confront other troublesome issues in our lives.

As you ditch dieting, you can really begin the life-long pursuit of true health and wellness in all areas of your life. Remember - this is a process that requires patience. No guilt allowed because, this is the really good news, there are no rules!!

Please share your thoughts!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Making Peace with Exercise

Do you hate to exercise? Do you obsess about exercise? Do you feel guilty about exercising too much ... or too little? In order to ditch dieting and disordered eating you must make peace with exercise. The first step is to view exercise as "activity". Something your body needs just like food, water and air. It is not about burning calories or completing some eating disorder ordained command. If we all made our living by working in the fields all day, this discussion would not be necessary. Here are some suggestions to help you continue the process of making peace with exercise:
  • Find something fun to do each day that involves non-stop movement. Walking is just fine.
  • Don't set rules about how long you need to be active. Just move.
  • If you use exercise machines ... cover up the "calories burned" info.
  • Participate in a group activity of some sort. Maybe a dance class.
  • Think of this movement as a way to nurture your body.
  • Consider activity as an investment into your current and future health.
  • Do not focus on activity/exercise as merely a weight management tool.

If you find getting your activity in is becoming burdensome or is in any fashion detracting from your quality of life (like isolating you from friends/family, making you late for work, etc.) you need to step back and reassess your priorities in life. You can thoughtful and deliberate about giving your body activity without being obsessive.

How have you made peace with exercise?