In a piercing and honest piece in the NYTimes magazine, Taffy Brodesser-Akner confronts the dilemma that millions of people face: Dieting doesn’t work and renouncing dieting doesn’t work either. No diet plan has shown to effectively help people lose weight and keep that weight off. Not dieting but focusing on either acceptance or healthy eating and living might help people grow to accept their body as it is, but more than likely the underlying self-consciousness about being fat (overweight) and shame remain. Either way, suffering continues.
Our approach at Budding Spring Healing offers hope to break free from this dilemma.
I wrote to the NYTimes to share my perspective. Here’s my comment:
Taffy, I appreciate your directly looking at this highly charged issue. As a psychologist, I have learned that food and weight issues are often one way that women tell themselves that something isn’t right in their life and that they don’t see how they are going to be accepted by others. This held true when I worked with women with anorexia, women who were a hundred pounds or more over their “ideal” weight, and women who looked to be normal weight. Nearly all were consumed with self-hatred and shame.
As the article shows, in the current framework, there doesn’t seem to be a way to break free from this preoccupation and focus on food, weight and body image.
Perhaps looking at this from another angle might help.
I have started teaching people that our health and well-being is closely associated with how we manage our vital energy, our Qi. Science tells us that everything is energy. In health terms, energy is our life force that supports every inner biological function and connects us to Nature as well. This connection to energy is our birthright. Food comes from Nature and has energy as well. Energy practices, like Qigong, can help our body become better at processing and using this energy. From this basic change, it is possible to discover that our body has self-healing powers. Self-healing builds on itself, and improves self-image, emotional disposition and strengthens inner and outer relationships.
This is an approach that is rational and offers realistic hope.
Is it time for you to break out of the dieting and anti-dieting cycle? Join a Dragon’s Way® class and learn how to build your Qi and support your body’s innate self-healing powers. Check out our calendar here.
Larry Stoler, PhD