Sometimes I wonder what people think when, on 1 hand I, as an Eating Psychology Coach, advertise my services to help a person deal with their weight naturally, while on the other, I encourage people to love themselves exactly as they are right now. I’m thinking this can be a rather confusing message. After all, if we’re supposed to love ourselves as we are now, why address body re-shaping and/or weight at all?
There’s more than 1 explanation, so here I go.
1) When I talk about loving ourselves exactly as we are now, I’m first referring to our beautiful, unique souls. On a soul level we are all equal no matter what our body size variations. And, it’s far more healing to love our souls now than to engage in an on-going, endless war against our body. After all, our body is the temple housing our soul. For that reason in and of itself, the body should be recognized, acknowledged and respected.
2) Our body holds a lot of wisdom and communicates to us always. We may not be aware of this phenomena but it’s happening nonetheless. What might an oversized body be conveying? Perhaps that we’re hurt or frightened inside where no one can see. Our body may be trying to protect us from real or imagined threats by growing larger and thereby becoming a human shield. At the very least, our body is asking us to look at it not only from a surface level with anger but on a deeper level with compassion.
3) With what’s been going on in the Food Industry for several decades, our taste buds and brain cells have been hijacked by the slick, precise combinations of sugar, salt, and fat. So many of us have actually become addicted to processed foods and can’t stop eating them. While this is exactly what the Food Industry wants, it’s not always what we want or need. True, the chronic, mindless eating of junk foods provides instant pleasure but also true is the much longer-term feelings of grief/guilt that frequently ensue following a binge. I personally think it’s important to help anyone who is eating in a way that no longer feels natural or suits them.
Other circumstances in which it’s probably a good idea to address our weight? Chronic pain, exhaustion, and moving / breathing challenges to name just a few. Some illnesses like diabetes, heart-related, etc., can also be related to weight and obesity concerns.
Everyone has a right to feel happy with themselves. But, my approach to this weight issue is not through the typical “no pain, no gain” strategy. Forcing ourselves to try to look a certain way or be a specific size may work in the short-run, but long-term the odds of maintaining an unnaturally smaller body shape are clearly against us. I propose we address ourselves with love, patience, and a new way of understanding and being. I also believe that rather than trying to look like the model in the magazine or the movie actor, that we stay true and respectful to our authentic selves.
Whether big-boned, flat-chested, tall or short, etc., when we address our own desire for weight change it’s always important to keep us and our specific body type in mind. Insisting we fit into a size 4 because that’s what we think we need to do to look attractive, is typically not based upon reality or fairness to self. In fact, it's frequently just another way to re-hurt and re-traumatize our body and soul. Generally speaking, force fitting ourselves into a fantasy body easily leads to misunderstanding and ignoring of our true internal self.
So, in short, I’m perfectly okay with telling anyone they’re beautiful exactly as they are right now because it's true. I’m also very comfortable assisting someone who wants to body re-shape when it's about re-gaining access to their authentic self versus losing him/herself further. I actually don’t think the 2 concepts, beautiful now and body re-shaping, are mutually exclusive. In fact, I believe they can go hand-in-hand.