The spirit cannot endure the body when overfed, but,
if underfed, the body cannot endure the spirit.”
-St Frances de Sales
The most effective weight/eating programs are those that combine mindful eating, moderate exercise, and psychological intervention. According to the Cochrane review, which pulls together results of the most recent quality research, increasing the length or intensity of psychological components of a weight program significantly improves outcomes. Behavioral interventions are state-of-the-art when they consider the mind-body component as integral to the healing process.
I address the following key targets to manifest life-long change:
The core method to manifesting change rests in uncovering the beliefs that undermine efforts to change. These beliefs are largely about the self such as perfectionism, unrelenting standards, self-criticism, self-doubt, and fear, but may also be about body image, foods, or family dynamics. Using a variety of creative methods, we can identify the exact beliefs that are sabotaging success. Using a mind-body method, we can release these beliefs. We can then install new beliefs that allow new eating and exercise patterns to emerge naturally.
To effectively change weight, eating or body-dissatisfaction problems, there must be an effective process for mindful acceptance of difficult feelings. Reactive eating is about using food to self-soothe, to cope with tension, fear, grief, boredom, stress, shame, and anxiety. By learning new ways to cope with challenging feelings, eating becomes a healthy part of life not a way to cope with life. Of greatest importance, finding new ways to cope with feelings helps people maintain eating changes for long-term wellness. Additionally, radical self-acceptance of our bodies and feelings helps people to let go of the cycle of self-judgment that actually perpetuates eating problems.
Therapy provides an excellent opportunity to craft a new set of behaviors and beliefs. Therapy focuses on making important behavioral changes to modify healthy behavioral patterns around eating and exercise. The goal is to create mindful, joyful eating and cultivate new activity behaviors that work with your personality. Exercise that is a bore, tedious, and non-life-affirming is difficult to sustain for the long-haul. Food that spikes our blood sugar and lowers insulin sensitivity is the primary problem that causes long-term weight problems. Research shows trying to simply cut calories or reduce the amount of food eaten doesn’t work for the long-haul. Rather, eating whole foods that stabilize blood sugar and increase our metabolism is the secret ingredient to eating joyfully, feeling full, having energy, and still losing weight. Together we can better explore, understand, and address the roadblocks that interfere with a healthy lifestyle. Discipline is not something one has, but something one practices and creates.
Our culture has rigid ideals about a ‘perfect’ body shape. Healthy self-worth and inner peace is based in the recognition that the goal is feeling good about who we are, not how we look. Most people experience fluctuations in body size throughout their lives, especially women. This is natural. It is important to find a sense of self-appreciation regardless of how you look, what you own, who you know, or any other external ego-based measure. Finding greater self-worth sets the foundation for healthy, balanced patterns of behavior.