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Winning the Diet Tug-O-War

May 28, 2009

How many times have you gone on a diet?  Is it too many times to count?  Do you start a diet only to “fail” a day or week later, because you went back to eating things you actually liked?

I will eventually blog more extensively on this topic, but for today I thought I’d start with a visualization to help you stop this war with yourself and your body.

This is the problem: You’re fighting a war with yourself, with your biology, and with your (very hungry) inner animal.  As long as you continue to fight against yourself, your hunger, and your mind, odds are you’re going to lose.

Try this exercise:

Picture a game of Tug-O-War. On one end of the rope is you, stripped down (no, not that way, silly!) to your most essential self; to your core being.  This part of you is eternally loving and accepting of this physical manifestation of you that carries you around all day.  This you loves everything about you, even that weird birthmark you have.  This you does not care how big your thighs are, or that you ate cherry pie for dinner last night.

On the other end of the rope is everything else: the part of you that is constantly telling you to lose weight, the part of you who says if you don’t get in shape like that chick on that magazine cover you saw at the store you’ll never be happy, the part of you that yells very, very loudly every time you eat something other than lettuce, the part of you who is angry and unsatisfied.

I want you to picture you; the essential, loving, you, dropping the rope.  Stop playing Tug-O-War.  Every single time you pick up the rope to try to win the war, the painful cycle of dieting, hating yourself, eating an entire barnyard animal for dinner, hating yourself, and dieting again starts over. This is no way to live.  Put down the rope.  Stop the fight.  Start loving yourself unconditionally, and be kind and gentle to this wonderful body you have now.

Don’t freak out.  People get afraid that if they just loved themselves and relaxed and ate what they want, they’d gain 150 pounds because they’d consume nachos for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  It’s simply not true. When you relax about yourself, allow yourself to eat what you truly, truly want, and enjoy it without guilt, you’ll end up eating far less than you can imagine.  You won’t need to overeat! You won’t need to diet! And even if you never lose a pound, if you can make peace with the you that’s carrying you around, every day, you’ll feel so good that you’ll make lasting changes to your health.

I suggest actually carrying around a little piece of rope or string, and hanging another piece somewhere you’ll see it frequently.  Every single time you start battling with yourself about what you should be eating, how you should be changing, how much you hate your stomach, or insulting yourself in some other way, go back to the visualization. And drop the rope.

If you drop the rope, you can’t get in the battle with the un-loving ego part of you.  If you walk away and treat yourself with love, you’re going to get the results you were looking for all along: love and acceptance of yourself.

Be Joyful!

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