What follows are only some of my own personal thoughts and ideas I have on this volatile topic of body weight!
Growing up, I never had a problem of being viewed as overweight, unlike the apparent epidemic in our modern society. On the contrary, I was a skinny adolescent, with a serious problem of how to gain weight and improve my self-esteem. I tried taking weight gaining supplements in conjunction with exercise with weights, in order to gain the right kind of weight, of course. Gaining some strength but not much weight I finally gave up on this approach and then tried a method that worked. All it took was a couple of years of adding hot dogs, chocolate milk and apple pie to my daily diet! It wasn’t really the kind of weight and physical appearance I was looking for, ideally, but I felt much better because I didn’t look skinny any more and felt more acceptable in social circles, they being so highly self-conscious and competitive as they are.
Looking back, and years later, I realized that I had put too much emphasis on my physical appearance to determine my self-esteem. A high school classmate of mine had no problem with self-esteem and shyness even though he was skinnier than me and had a bad case of acne! What he did have, in my estimation, was a sense of self-worth linked directly to his interest and passion for music, leading to his formation of his own jazz band. So…
Don’t put too much emphasis on your physical appearance to determine your sense of self-worth.
Instead, focus on developing a strong interest or passion for something, other than eating, of course! Be it music, art or some hobby. The idea here is to focus on something that is less stressful than looking at yourself in the mirror. It is this kind of stress, among others, that causes us to reach for our favourite standby stress reducers — coffee and donuts, cigarettes, alcohol etc. As your interests and accomplishments begin to flourish, you will tend to rely less and less on your favourite snacks to make you feel better. As a result, your physical appearance, and your weight, will likely reflect this.
If you still believe that you must have that ‘perfect weight’, remember this if anything: The better you feel about yourself, the less stressed you will be about your physical appearance, and consequently, the more relaxed you will be. A relaxed body means less tension, allowing a freer flow of energy throughout all body systems.
If there is such a thing as a perfect or ideal weight for you, you would know that you have it because you would be experiencing optimal freedom of movement and body functionality. A walk in the park is a pleasure and not a struggle. Your body metabolism is in full balance. Any deviation from that balance will produce increased stress, whether it is gaining weight or losing weight, the result is the same — energy levels drop or are blocked, circulation becomes poor, and much of life starts to become a struggle.
Exercise is not necessary beyond balanced everyday activity.
What I mean by ‘balanced everyday activity’ are walking, going from sitting to standing and reverse, kneeling to pick things up, etc etc. I believe that the physical body was never meant to have to endure extreme stress from physical activity such as lifting heavy weights — or even carrying heavy bags of groceries or laundry! Which, by the way, over time, will develop into a repetitive stress injury, and will consequently do a real number on your legs, back and hips!
From my book, Active Healing and Body Restoration:
“It is how we perform actions that is most important here. The stress from repetitive motions can be lessened by consciously performing each motion in a relaxed manner — at first, that is. Later, it will become natural. Practice observing each action from time to time. Become aware of any actions that are performed with excess tension. Then practice releasing that tension (ie. relaxing) while performing the action, in slow motion if necessary.”
Diet will adjust itself naturally.
You don’t need to look far on the internet to find out that, in general, special diets, namely weight gain/loss diets, don’t work — if you’re looking in that direction to attain your ideal weight. The best diet for you should come naturally, as you again confidence in yourself by engaging in creative interests and hobbies. You will naturally lose or gain an appetite for certain foods — foods that are harmful you will drop and foods that are beneficial to you will be added to your diet.
Often your own subconscious knows what is best for you. You can access this store of knowledge by listening to your intuition or recalling dreams in the morning, after giving yourself hypnotic ‘suggestions’ before going to sleep.
And here are my last (but not least) thoughts on this subject:
Avoid mimicking the habits of others in order to gain their sympathy or approval.
The habits that I am referring to here are habits that are detrimental to your overall health and well being. These include taking ‘recreational’ drugs and overeating or eating ‘junk’ foods. You may already be familiar with a habit like smoking, started in order to get approval from peers that already smoke. That happened to me at age 16, thinking it was ‘cool’. And making it easier to ‘hang out’ with friends who also smoked, gaining their acceptance — at least I thought so. It took me 10 years to break the habit. But that is another story!
Next: Aging and loss of mobility — does it have to be this way?