I have been overweight most of my adult life, but since changing my diet to gluten and dairy free pretty much all of that excess weight dropped away over a period of five years, and stayed off for a further seven. I worked to kick sugar too, and mostly succeeded, and more weight dropped off. But recently I’ve been eating more sugary foods (including carbohydrates and dried fruits, which are all sugar in one form or another) and have started to put some weight back on.
I always know that when I crave sweet things it means I am exhausted or feeling low for some reason and if not addressed, can lead to a mild form of depression. The trouble with eating sugar is that it gives you a lift and then drops you down even lower, so there is a cycle of feeling low, eating sugar, a moment of feeling OK then a crash back down to feeling low again. We can get into a cycle we think we can’t get out of and fall into despair.
The antidote is to be totally honest with how the body is feeling because then we can choose to look after our bodies through self-loving choices. I know that for me, when I truly love myself I naturally don’t want to eat anything containing sugar – which can also include fresh fruit – because it makes me racy and I can’t feel what’s going on around me.
Question: But how can I love myself when I feel miserable?
Answer: Awareness and Understanding.
I have the awareness that there is a certain tension in my body that I really don’t want to feel and an understanding that overeating has been my ‘go-to’ numbing device, but it’s no longer working. All I do is eat more and more sugary foods with a kind of desperate addictive behaviour. My body is warning me it’s too much because I am putting extra weight back on, so I know that I need to bring myself back to me – to re-establish my inner connection.
How are movements connected to being self-loving?
Our bodies are systems of delicate balance, yet we tend to treat them hard and rough even though they are really very fragile. By being especially gentle and tender in my walk, my touch, my breath, I am taking more care of my body, and that is the start to being self-loving through our movements.
When I move my hands with tenderness my whole body feels different: for example, when turning a doorknob, I have to allow my hand, my wrist and my shoulder to be gentle, which affects my back, my hips and my legs too.
Getting into a car is a challenge, especially when the seats have high sides. I do it as gracefully as I can and then close the door firmly, but not slamming it.
My voice is an obvious one because when I am racy it tends to go a bit hard, so I breathe gently and that helps to take out the hard edge.
There are many examples of ways I can be tender, and I can really feel it when other people are not being tender. For example, one I’ve particularly noticed is in ladies’ toilets – the way I hear some women attack the toilet roll or the paper towels makes me smile. It is something we do every day without thinking and that’s the point… when we do anything without conscious presence, we are not being tender.
So, coming back to the title of this piece, the way for me to feel less misery is to enjoy moments of tenderness with myself, because my body is beautiful and it feels beautiful when it is being tender: there is a stillness inside that does not allow for misery, and that stillness is shattered by anything that makes me racy. So… if I want to let go of misery, and enjoy the inner stillness, I simply have to breathe gently and move with tenderness. No sugar needed!
By Carmel Reid, Northern Rivers, Australia