This radical new approach is easier than you think!
"I need to lose eight pounds," said the tiny, blonde beauty standing in line at the coffee shop in front of me. She was on the phone while waiting for her skinny latte. I noticed the plump but lovely woman in front of her in line look her up and down and sigh deeply.
I couldn’t help but notice the deep dissatisfaction both of these women expressed for their bodies. One of them was already thin enough. The other possibly dreamed of a smaller figure her whole lifetime.
This made me curious. How many women out there loathe their bodies? I found shocking studies that over 80 percent of American women apparently dislike their bodies. As if that’s not bad enough, our young daughters already hate their bodies, as well. Look at these sad statistics shared by PsychCentral:
"According to the National Eating Disorders Association, 42 percent of 1st to 3rd-grade girls want to lose weight, and 81 percent of 10-year-olds are afraid of being fat.
According to another study, about two-thirds of girls in the 5th to 12th grades said that magazine images influence their vision of an ideal body, and about half of the girls said the images made them want to lose weight.
According to Teen magazine, 35 percent of girls ages 6 to 12 have been on at least one diet, and 50 to 70 percent of normal-weight girls think they are overweight."
Newsflash — hating our bodies isn't making us skinnier (or happier)
Ladies, we owe it to the young girls watching us to get our heads out of the diet books and weight loss plans and find a new way.
How can you love yourself exactly as you are if you "hate" your eating habits? Here's a question: What if you could actually eat whatever you want? What if your body actually has the innate skill to manage what and how much you eat? It is clear that conventional weight loss methods are not working. Why not try trusting your body for once?
Over 60 percent of U.S. adult women are overweight. And look at what our unhealthy body image issues have done to the children watching our manic yo-yo dieting and food obsessions.
Sounds miserable because it is miserable. And get this: Your life will never feel less miserable if you stay stuck in the 'diet, then gain it back' rut.
Research shows that even thinking about a diet makes people start to overeat (just to make sure they get enough tasting and feasting in before the new diet begins).
I say, let’s start a revolution. Let’s say "no more" to bullying ourselves — no more rules, restrictions, diet plans or food measuring. Instead, what if we tune into our inner guidance system, our body’s own gauge of hunger and satisfaction? Sound too good to be true? Left to our own devices, wouldn't there just be thousands of obese overeaters out there rolling from buffet to buffet?
Trust you inner wisdom to let you know what to eat.
Actually there is surprisingly good news in the eating for pleasure arena. Turns out that your body really does know how to modulate food desires and that you can coax yourself into a new relationship with eating.
"Remember, no one, except for you, knows how you feel, both emotionally and physically. Only you can be the expert of your body, which requires inner attunement, rather than the external, well-meaning, suggestions from family," says Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD , founder of IntuitiveEating.com.
After a lifetime of a dieting mindset, you may struggle at first to believe that it's safe to trust your own inner wisdom to let you know what to eat, when and how much.
Let me ask you: How happy and sexy do you feel right now? Once you start trusting yourself to choose the right food and make peace with when and how much to eat, your self-esteem and self-concept will sky rockets.
Here's how to start feeling better about your body and the food you eat:
1. Happiness and pleasure begin with a decision.
Your body is capable of a lot of sensual pleasure. Eating is one of the most basic pleasurable experiences, but for many of us, eating now makes us anything but happy. The fastest way to start a new mindset around eating is to state a clear intention. Each day, look yourself in the mirror and say, "No matter what, I choose to feel happy and find pleasure today."
2. Make pleasure the goal whenever you eat.
Learning to trust your inner voice when you're eating is a precious gift to yourself. It helps you focus on enjoying the food you're eating. Sounds obvious, but most people just shovel food in their mouths without even tasting it, experiencing no true pleasure at all.
Savor the flavors of your food. Feel the textures. Decide to eat for pure pleasure. (Bonus Coaching Tip: Invite a trusted friend or family member to check in with you on these first two steps.)
3. Gather a team around you.
When you're trying to make big changes in your life, don’t go it alone. Get some support. Check out sites like IntuitiveEating.com which can offer you the exact support you need.
Or, if you have strong negative patterns around food (or if your relationship with food has been negative for years), a therapist or coach can help you re-frame that past relationship. Your brain is an amazing machine and you absolutely can reprogram it ... with the right tools and teachers. It's OK to want and need support.
4. Nurture yourself with touch.
Once you grow more aware of pleasure while eating, and you make peace with foods that were formerly your enemy, it's important to explore pleasure more deeply and allow yourself tactile nourishment from other sources. Pleasure is soul-satisfying and soothing to the body and mind. I enjoy sensual massage as part of my pleasure plan.
Healing touch, Reiki, hula hooping, swimming, dancing and meditation are all ways to nourish yourself with body movement and touch. Focus on the pleasure of these experiences.
5. Let go of weight loss as a goal, forever.
I know this is a hard one, especially if you've fought the food wars most of your life. Trusting your inner guidance to help you pick when and what to eat will work. You will learn how to recognize your hunger and fullness signals and your weight will adjust naturally.
"This is a real key to success," says Evelyn Tribole of IntuitiveEating.com. "Any focus on weight loss can only sabotage one's ability to tune into natural intuitive signals."
So be patient with yourself. You can do this.