Beautiful, Smart Bodies

By: Michal Ron

OVER WEIGHT (First Paper of three)
Beautiful, Smart Bodies / Michal Ron*

An effective over weight control has only very little to do with how much we eat or exercise. Yes, we can loose some weight for a shorter or longer period by starving ourselves and/or tiring our bodies. Yet all those effort-demanding and happiness-consuming forms or self-mortification are on the whole ineffective, as we bounce back to the weight we were in before, or higher. I think it is about time to acknowledge that.
Some experts say that the only way to reach long-lasting results (i.e. stable low weight) is to change our eating and sporting habits. I agree that we need to change, I just think, as I wrote above, most of it has nothing to do with eating or exercises. What we need to change is the way we think about our bodies, the way we see them, and the way we treat them.

In the modern Western world we love controlling things.
We hardly ever listen. We think that we already know, or that someone else knows, and we take that to be true. It hardly ever occurs to us that if there are so many opinions then whether nobody knows or that they are all right.
For example: sometimes I feel like eating chocolate at 22:00. Yes! I immediately 'know' that I'm 'not suppose' to eat chocolate - that 'I don't need it', and also - that eating late at night 'is not good for me'. We hardly ever respect it when our body says: 'I want chocolate now!' (Not to mention negotiating with our body or interacting with it). We hardly ever bother to think that maybe there is no 'Truth' about what we should eat and when. Or better - that these general truths that generally apply to most people in most times might be irrelevant for me, here and now. We'd rather not think, not pay attention, not listen to the body. We prefer to 'know', thinking we are smarter than our body.
We prefer to 'know' rather than listening. Just like some parents would not listen to their children, but would rather read professional books about how to raise them, so do we often believe our mind (our brains, our rationality, our science) more than we believe our bodies. And that might not always be such a good idea... Which reminds me a saying I like, saying that the mind is the best of servants, but is the worst of masters...

I would like to suggest some acknowledge our bodies: their wisdom, their love to us, their skills and abilities, their wonderful beauty. YES! Bodies, as they are, in any form, shape, color, gender, in any way they are, were, or will be, are beautiful!!! Very, very beautiful! It really is so!
No machine, ever, manages to perform as well in what our bodies almost effortlessly do every second and minute in our years-long existence. Whether it is liver functioning, wound healing, getting over a flu, or other such wonders that every body would do numerous times during most life time - no mind and no machine can yet do or create such miracles!
It's about time we start acknowledging that! It is about time for us to marvel at our bodies, that exist and survive in spite of the way we treat them, and not because of the way we treat them.

Having said that, maybe it is also about time we start looking at our over-weight from a new angle.
If our bodies are clever and know what they're doing, then maybe our over-weight (which we want to loose as the mind says we should) is something functional and positive, that our bodies do in order to help us.
For example - a lot of weight can be gained by people as a wall-like defense mechanism - against hatred (external or internal). At other times the body might accumulate more and more weight hoping that the person will notice it - just like children might become noisy in order to get our attention. Just by paying loving attention to your body for a few minutes a day you could loose weight in no time, not having to give up food or starting to exercise. (As a few of my clients could testify...)

If we choose to start believing our bodies to be smart, to be knowing what they are doing, maybe then it is also about time we start co-operating with them instead of fighting them? Maybe it would be better if we stop starving them or forcing them into excess, unpleasant efforts?

The best option would be to check with our body what is the function of our over-weight, what purpose does it serve, and solve that issue in better ways.
For example: in a conversation with one of my clients, in the course of trying to loose weight, we found out that food was for her a whip, a mean of self punishing, self torture, and self hatred. Starving herself was self punishing, but also eating too much, until she was feeling bad, was an expression of self hatred.
We didn't do any changes in her diet, nor did we try to exercise. We were just touching the belly during the session, and crying for the years of self hatred. She learned to feel how pleasant it could be to feel her belly.
Instead of physical exercise, she started to bless her food before eating, and to say: 'I am willing to love myself and my body. I am eating this food in order to be healthy, in order to be happy, as an expression of love to myself and to my body."
And lo! Only two months after we started, two months in which she was practicing how to give up self-hatred, two months which were a journey of love, enjoyment, and self-revelation, that women wore cloths she couldn't get into for the last three years, and again - all that without any change in diet or sport.

* Michal Ron, B.A. in psychology, instructor in the Grinberg method (2nd level), and alternative therapist, lives in Tel Aviv and work with people privately and in small groups in order to solve and grow out of physical, mental, emotional, and behavior issues.
For further information and private consultation: michali67@yahoo.com

September 19, 2003

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