Hello Beautiful Hearts,
This weekend I came across a video series that promised people FREEDOM by following yet another diet that will lead them to be thin forever. It sounded very scientific and there were many rules to follow that helped the participants to control their out of control behavior. And it made me think… Is this really freedom? What is real freedom when it comes to living a healthy life?
Tools that help us manage our behavior can be helpful. I use them and I teach the women in my practice to use them. For example: planing and preparing your meals can be a great practice that makes sure you make eating well an easy choice. When you come home at the end of the day, tired and hungry, and there is a ready-in-advance delicious and healthy meal, it can make all the difference.
Management tools will lead you so far and eventually, in almost all cases, will stop working and you will stop practicing them. Why? Because they are a short term solution, they are limited and they often send us the wrong message, that we are flawed, out of control and can’t be trusted. Many of the weight management tools that are used by the diet industry give us those messages, loud and clear, by using tools that help control our ‘bad behavior’ and keep us ‘on track’.
Are we really out of control? Left to follow our own devices, will we always choose wrong? Do we have a compulsive, addictive and self-sabotaging personality that is incurable and needs to be ‘managed’ for life? The diet industry would like us to think so… after all, it makes big bucks, very big bucks, from selling us THE ‘solution.
But here is the truth, you are not flawed and there is nothing wrong with you. You are born with a strong connection to your body, with an inner knowledge that leans you into what is good for you, just like a plant knows how to lean towards the sun for nourishment. You are part of nature and you have an inner navigation system, that is wonderful and miraculous and knows how to lead you to your healthiest and most joyous life.
So what happened? How did we lose touch with that inner knowledge?
The great pretender to be the solution is actually the problem. Teaching women that they needs to follow someone else’s rules of what to eat, what not to eat, when to eat, how much to eat is cutting them off from their own inner knowledge. Most women followed many diets throughout their lives, many with contradictory messages and different lists of allowed and forbidden foods. Diet systems often sound like religion, with dos and don’ts that are very rigid.
2. Impossible images.
We are constantly shown, in direct and subtle ways, what is considered beautiful and attractive and what we need to buy to get there. This is another huge industry that manipulates women to think there is something wrong with the way they look so they will keep on buying the promised product that will transform them into a gorgeous beauty. The beauty industry, the cosmetic industry, the plastic surgery industry, the fashion industry, the entertainment industry are all bombarding us with impossible images. I will never forget watching a famous model on TV who was talking about body image. She showed the audience a life-size cardboard image of herself in a bikini. She asked everyone: Do you want to look like that? They all said: YES! And she said: me too, and proceeded to show how her image has been altered, her winkles have been airbrushed, her waist has been shrank, her legs have been elongated, all her blemishes have been erased and corrected. I applaud some companies who show real women’s bodies, in all their diversity of ethnicity, color, age and size.
Our mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, cousins, neighbors are all women who demonstrated to us how women relate to their bodies. Women around us got the same messages from society and also from their families. In many cases, how females were treated in their cultures played a big role, and if they didn’t feel valued and worthy and treasured, those feelings got internalized and often turned into how they felt about their bodies. What did you experience growing up from women around you? Did you have examples of women who felt delight in their body or women who loathed their body? What messages did you get from your family and culture about your body?
All those conditions severed our natural and inherent connection to our body and to our inner wisdom. When we engage in practices that emphasize those messages of mistrust, like the messages of the diet industry, they take us even further away from our path of healing. So while it can be helpful to use tools that will help you to create YOUR healthy body, not someone else’s idea of what a healthy body should be, you will need to relearn to listen to your body, to trust your body, to love your body and rebuild the relationship that you are meant to have, if you want real and permanent freedom to be your most radiant self.
My Women Health Circles have been an amazing space for women to create the life and health they dream of by learning nourishing practices and transforming their relationship with their body and with food. The registration for the fall groups is starting NOW! Check out the details HERE.
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You’re right — there are so many influences that make it difficult to listen to (and heaven forbid — love) our miraculous, luscious female bodies. Thank you for your efforts to level the playing field.
I love that “our miraculous, luscious female body”, YES!
Truth Rachel! Freedom is one of the most important core values of my life. Sometimes it’s hard to discern authentic freedom from the disguised versions. For me, my heart will always guide me in the direction of my true freedom when I listen and heed the wisdom of spirit! Thank you for an uplifting post! Xo
So glad you are guided by freedom and listen to your inner wisdom. Blessings.
Rachel, I LOVE THIS. Thank you so much for efforts to continuously put out there: “So while it can be helpful to use tools that will help you to create YOUR healthy body, not someone else’s idea of what a healthy body should be, you will need to relearn to listen to your body, to trust your body, to love your body and rebuild the relationship that you are meant to have, if you want real and permanent freedom to be your most radiant self.” SOOOO TRUE!!! It is unfortunate that people think the tools are the fix all, but they are just temporary until the changes take root and our ‘radiant selves’ take over!!
Thank you Crystal, so glad it resonates with you. Hugs.
I love your blog posts! They are always filled with so much wisdom and understanding of the human condition. Listening to my body after 60 years of listening to others has made a huge difference in my life.
Thank you xoxo I am so glad you are listening to your body.