It’s that time of year. Out with the sugar coma, let the New Year’s resolution’s ring.
Maybe you’re feeling a bit under the weather. Your new pants are too tight. You’re energy’s been compromised and you’re yawning yet again.
A better, smarter part of you (than the part that ate your way through the holiday) “knows” you can turn over a new leaf. Maybe this is the year to get into a size 6. Time to start the diet.
Or maybe not.
I don’t doubt you can stay away from the treat that is your Achilles heel, be it a brownie or the extra helping of chips. The question is do you want to?
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t loose weight. There’s plenty of evidence to show that overweight is not in the best interest of your heart or your immune system. Your joints are not big fans of extra weight. Your skin, with too much weight, will stretch beyond a point of return. Your digestion can’t work at peak performance. Your liver and gall bladder will start to give you negative reports (read pain.) Your pancreas will offer wacky read-outs of blood sugar.
What I’m questioning is the life of deprivation that is part of the package we call “dieting.” We, (I mean you and me,) don’t do well with deprivation. A part of us can “woman up,” but is that the part you want to encourage? Is that the part you want to grow?
And if you’ve tried the deprivation thing before you know how it goes. Deprive, deprive, deprive, binge, guilt….
I’m fond of talking about wholeness. When you approach a decision from a part, say you’re butt that’s showing evidence of hours of sitting and too much holiday cheer, you leave out the majority of your wisdom.
I’m not saying that your butt’s not smart. It’s just you’re so much more. You’re not your belly. You’re not your thighs.
You’re a soul, a light.
A bright, bright star.
A beautiful body, a bag of emotions, and a brilliant mind.
A huge heart.
While your belly might respond to a deprivation diet by becoming a little flatter, your soul’s probably craving something more along the lines of connection, nature, enough, abundance, kindness… While your flat belly and skinny thighs rejoice from the diet du jour, your soul weeps. Your big heart’s not too thrilled either.
The Austere Lifestyle
It’s true that some spiritual traditions will tell you that deprivation is good for you. Yes, we live in a world of excess. Less can be more. But simple is different that deprivation. Abundance is not the same as excess.
I’m not saying that deprivation is always bad. But stay the course too long and the pendulum will swing. It’s why many a dieter ends up with an unexplained empty bag of Cheetos at their feet feeling like a failure.
The Tricky Part
We hear a call and we answer it. It’s in the hearing that we misinterpret. We think we hear a call for an abundance of jelly filled doughnuts. When we refine our ability to listen, when we learn to hear from the sum of the parts, rather than the loudest part we hear a different need.
Despite what sounds a lot like sweet potato fries what you’re craving may actually be something entirely different.
- A creative outlet
- Blissful moments of quiet
- A conversation with a friend
- Making a courageous move toward the life of your dreams.
- A nurturing touch…
What you crave will be different than what I crave. What you crave in this moment will likely be different that what you crave tomorrow at 3 p.m.
Listening is step one. Acting on your cravings, your real cravings, is step two. Most of what passes for cravings is a way to distract or numb. If you can intercept the deeper message, now you have magic. And it’s that magic that saves people’s lives.
Here’s the part no ones talking about.
If you’re using food to distract and/or numb your knees will start complaining from too much weight. The truth is that your mind, your emotions, and your spirit aren’t exactly having a picnic. They’re suffering too. If you try to live a life of deprivation your will power will only last so long. Your body might rejoice in a few less pounds of pressure. But the whole of you won’t be any happier.
When you listen carefully you will understand what you’re actually craving. Then you can feed appropriately. Don’t feel bad if this doesn’t come naturally. I help many of my clients with learning how to listen. When they get it they understand and start to nurture the part that is malnourished. You might need to feed your creative muse, your inner child, your tender warrior. It may be your inner entrepreneur is suffering from major burn out. And no quantity of peanut butter will fill that well. I’ve tried.
Nurture the part that’s hungry. Even if it feels over the top scary.
Even if you’re not sure.
And then watch what happens to the whole of your life, not just your waistline. It can be pretty incredible. And you might just find your pants fitting a bit looser too.
Would love to hear your thoughts.