You can’t turn on the TV, drive down the road or go to a party without being confronted with America’s hottest obsession: DIETS!
Dieting is a billion-dollar industry. Many companies spend millions of dollars luring you to try the latest diet (low carbohydrate, high protein, low fat, no fat) with promises that this will be the solution. Advertising efforts also deeply affect our children, who develop distorted body images and are often on a diet as early 10 years of age.
We are an ‘instant coffee’ society; we want instant results for very little effort. Our culture touts diet pills, quick fixes, celebrity workouts, convenience foods and trendy diets to help us achieve our desired weight, but these solutions have backfired. America’s populace has reached its highest weight in history. About half of Americans are overweight; one-third of Americans are obese. Diets steer us away from our common sense and dip deeply into our pocketbooks while eliciting few, if any, lasting results.
· Diets don’t work because they are extreme solutions. As in physics, if a pendulum swings to one extreme, it has to swing equally to the other. A diet might work for a short amount of time, but research shows that almost all diets result in a 10-pound gain once off the diet.
· Diets don’t work because they are too restrictive. People who fail on diet plans are not flawed or weak. Diets by nature require discipline and restriction at levels that are unsustainable by a healthy human body and are unnecessary when eating healthy, whole foods and leading a balanced lifestyle.
· Most people are disconnected from why they gain weight and see diet as the only culprit. For example, ignoring or discounting emotions is often the first thing to cause weight imbalances.
In our fast-paced world, we have lost sight of many aspects of life that truly nourish and balance our bodies, such as slowing down, eating a home-cooked meal and spending quality time with loving people. Eating consciously and making simple lifestyle changes will create positive results and release you from the endless cycle of dieting. Given half a chance, your body will balance out by itself, but this is only possible by getting out of the diet mentality and listening to what you truly need. Imagine taking all of the outward energy you expend on diets, fads and gimmicks and turning it inward, so that you can listen to your heart and inner wisdom. There is no such thing as a quick fix; you already have everything you need within you. With careful thought and loving reflection, you can feed yourself in a nourishing way. Working with your body rather than against it will bring you increased energy, stabilized weight and sustainable health.
Eating healthy, nourishing meals is only ONE part of a healthy lifestyle. We all need nourishment from our family, friends, work and community. We need a lifestyle that encompasses a healthy personal life and professional life. We need time to move, stretch, sleep and reflect. Taking time to slow down and enjoy all of the gifts we have in our lives, however small they may be adds a wonderful richness to our life. And, having hobbies and activities that truly excite us, give us enthusiasm and feed our souls is a very healthy way of adding nourishment to our lives. It doesn’t always come in the form of food.
I love to cook! And, I love to eat I love sharing healthy food with people I care about. Sharing gives me a real sense of connection and pleasure.
What do you like to do for fun? What other ways can you nourish yourself besides food?
- Bernadette Kathryn, LMT
- In association with The Institute for Integrative Nutrition