“and i said to my body. softly. ‘i want to be your friend.’ it took a long breath. and replied ‘i have been waiting my whole life for this’.“
~ Nayyirah Waheed
Surrender. Raise the white flag.
I battled my weight for most of my life. I beat myself up for not having enough willpower. I abused my soul with a relentless barrage of insults. Then one day I surrendered. I raised the white flag and waved it passionately. It was in that moment that I started to heal.
The chronic dieting had created stress for my body that caused a series of health problems. The very thing that was supposed to help achieve my goals was actually causing me to hang onto weight, lose energy and be sick. The more I struggled the worse I felt. The war I waged was against myself. So, how to end the war? The answer is found in this quote by Nayyirah Waheed, “and i said to my body. softly. ‘i want to be your friend.’ it took a long breath. and replied ‘i have been waiting my whole life for this’.“
I am not the enemy
I had an abusive storyline that I was running in my head. When I looked in the mirror, I only saw flaws. Whatever I did in life was not good enough. Gently noticing self-judgment and negativity started to ebb this flow of self-abuse. The trick here is to simply notice with mindful awareness, and not let it become yet another judgment. I began using affirmations. “I am enough” and “I am perfectly imperfect” are two I use often. I practiced looking at myself in the mirror with empathy and compassion. Try gazing at yourself and saying “I love you.” It’s interesting to see what bubbles up. Keep doing it until the person gazing back at you smiles, nods and says “I know.”
Weight is not the enemy
I had to start by loving who I was, exactly as I was, in the moment. All of me. The extra pounds, flabby arms, saggy breasts, even my illness. I started to view them as gifts with messages for me. I became curious about why my body had hung on to the weight. When I released the shame I felt around it, I could then embrace the lessons it had for me. When I was willing to step into my fears, they resolved and my weight began to drop.
Food is not the enemy
Bread is bad, eat more carbs, eat less carbs, gluten is the enemy, dairy is the enemy, meat, butter, wine, chocolate are the enemies… the list is endless. Take a look at the magazine covers next time you are at the grocery store and you’ll meet the latest army of imagined villains. Food is not inherently evil. Marc David, in his book The Slow Down Diet, uses the example of a knife. It can be used as a weapon to kill, or it can be used to create delicious masterpieces in the kitchen. It is simply a knife. We decide its use, and the power it yields. The same is true for food. Sugar is simply sugar. How we choose to use it affects our health. I began to love food and create a positive relationship with it.
Make love not war
Nonviolence is the personal practice of being harmless to self and others under every condition. It comes from the belief that hurting people, animals or the environment is unnecessary to achieve an outcome.
Take a look at your own life. Are you waging war on yourself? Choose nonviolence. Surrender. When your body is your friend you’ll want to lavish it with nourishing foods and healthy movement. Then you and your body will live as one.