Recently I read this article about weight loss that left me feeling pissed off. (Please note, this is not a criticism of the author, simply my take on a subject that I am passionate about.) I wondered why I had such a strong reaction to it, other than what might seem obvious (no mention of bio-individuality or life situation -a mother sleeping the same 8 hours each day- um?). I knew something deeper was calling to me, and one day it spoke loudly, "what about the pleasure factor?" Yes, pleasure. Without pleasure we are just on another diet, in another form, with rules. Rules that will carry us to overwhelming success until we can no longer restrict and keep ourselves peeled away from pleasure. I read things that boast to be "the last you'll ever need" in blogs, newspapers, signs and yet if any one of them was the last thing, wouldn't we find ourselves without a health crisis?
When I used to diet, or restrict myself, I possessed an enormous sense of control. I loved that I could eat just this or that and become skinny, fast. Eventually I would feel so good in my skinny body, that just one or two little cheats would enter in. Those little bites and tastes of something forbidden were so good. I could feel the pleasure that my body was getting from them. Those little bites would turn into over indulging (this might be the last time I ever can eat this again so eat, then go back to restricting). Enter lack of control. Pleasure was no where around.
Pleasure is not derived from restriction or over indulging. It does not come to us by way of standing in the pantry shoving chips in our mouths. It does not come to us by proclaiming we will never eat another noodle again. It does not come to us by denying the things we love or regretting the choices we made an hour ago. (Remember Hannah and The Fudge?)
Pleasure is a state of gratification. It is a source of joy and delight. For each of us pleasure will look slightly different, based on our stories, dreams, desires and bodies.
Pleasure connects us to that place of joy, health, to feelings of abundance no matter what we materially may poses. Isn't the word pleasure just delicious to say? As you see the word before you, can you feel your body starting to relax with permission to feel good?
The pleasure factor in weight loss comes when you are ready to stop denying and over eating, when you are ready to move away from the belief that anything you read or hear will be the last thing you ever need to know. As we evolve in our lives, so will that which we must learn and incorporate. Those of us who have struggled with weight must look to sources of alignment to self, and those sources will change as we change.
Close your eyes and connect for a moment with what brings you pleasure.
One of the topics we cover in my groups is if you had more energy and felt joyful in your body could you experience more pleasure? Could you have great sex with your partner because you were fully allowing the pleasure to lead the experience? Would you stop doing exercise that feels disconnected and start moving your body in ways that make you feel alive and satisfied?
Pleasure in food. Pleasure in our relationships. Pleasure in the small moments we might overlook.
I take pleasure in putting on a beautiful necklace. I find pleasure in making a batch of cookies with ingredients that feel good to my body. Pleasure finds me when I am connecting to my husband through our words and our touch, through our thoughtfulness. I am full of pleasure when my children laugh. Giving a compliment. Receiving a kind word. Eating foods that power my body (and these change). Seeing a dream become a reality.
This is not the last thing you'll need to read about weight loss or connecting to the body you have. Your journey to loving your body, your life is the right one. It is the one you are meant to be on. If you could sprinkle more pleasure into your life what would that look like to you?
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Is being on a gluten-free or dairy-free "diet" the same as restricting? I'll talk about that next...