Yesterday's short "bonus blog" was just a cut and paste of a comment I'd left on Sparkie friend DSHONEYC's bog about her feelings of "weight guilt" -- and her despair that "intuitive eating" wasn't going to work for her.
Intuitive eating . . . yeah. It's not an "achievement" and it's not an "efforting" and it's not a "self- improvement" It's about being more of who you really are . .. your natural weight when you listen to your body and eat the good stuff when you're hungry and stop when you're full and exercise to feel the good feelings of strength and flexibility . . . It's not about weighing and measuring and tracking and denying and punitively burning off the calories of the junk you "shouldn't" have eaten. And IE isn't a covert "dieting" technique which hasn't worked if we don't lose weight because we weren't really trusting ourselves or treating ourselves with kindness.
In my in-box today: a link to recent Steve Siebold vlog (he's the "mental toughness" guy, "If you're fat it's your fault") who tells us that the "self improvement" industry in the USA is a $14B industry and pretty much doesn't work -- other than to make the purveyors of self-improvement techniques and strategies rich.
And, probably not so coincidentally, two of the most recent Michael Neill "Caffeine for the Soul" podcasts are also riffing on this topic. Part I and Part II of "How to be More of Who You Really Are." . www.michaelneill.org/pod
One of Michael Neill's "day jobs" for years was editing other people's self help books --how to cure anxiety, how to cure insomnia, and how to cure excess weight, because he did edit a book by one of the IE "gurus" who married IE to hypnosis and sold the course and the CDs and the on-line webinars . . . "I Can Make You Thin". .
But that was all pre-Three Principles. And Neill in fact doesn't promote self improvement or the idea that we can change our core identities. That we can recreate ourselves, change our beliefs. That projecting confidence, acting "as if", becoming the person that you pretend to be . . . will "work" or be satisfying or sustainable.
All that self-help is a change of costume, a change of persona, a change of the role we're playing.
Because we never really change and we don't NEED to change. We are OK already (he says "perfect", like a diamond -- but OK is good enough for me . . . ). He calls all those roles and beliefs and personas and costumes that we try on "horse cr*p" wrapped around the diamond. And when the horse cr*p starts to smell then maybe we put on a coating of nail polish, different colours from time to time, that look pretty. But, he says, the self-help industry is mostly about changing the nail polish -- or at best, maybe changing the horse crap. Whereas our true identity, the diamond, is already as perfect and as whole and as unchanging as it will ever be, right from birth. Self-help is about "doing" and progressing and improving . . . . when there's absolutely nothing we need to "do".
So, in Part II -- he explores the idea that our true identities are more about "undoing" and uncovering who we really are . . . He uses the familiar metaphor of Michelangelo chipping away at the marble to release and to set free the figure that he said was already there within the stone.
How do we uncover our true selves ?
If we adopt Byron Katie, then we do "The Work". We ask the questions (like Dr. Judith S. Beck recommended). We interrogate our beliefs and our values, our stories and our histories, like unravelling the sweater we're already wearing: to find out who we are under that sweater. And, Neill says, this may be powerfully freeing. But it's a lot of work and can take a lot of chisel time, And none of it's necessary and the process may become an end in itself.
As an alternative -- and he changes metaphors here, from sculpture to iceberg --we can just sit with the questions, rather than working to answer them. We can increasingly permit ourselves to live in that state of inner quiet, that inner peace and calm that's always available to us. Those "nice feelings" which are like sunshine.
We can expose our iceberg selves into the sunshine of that quiet place and let the iceberg melt, at its own pace. Of course that means we don't effort diligently or control the process. We don't decide how and when the iceberg will melt. Chunks may fall away without us even noticing. Back into the surrounding sea water out of which it came.
And it seems to me: intuitive eating is "like that". A place of freedom from agitation about food, a place of pleasure in food, a place of trust -- permitting ourselves to notice when we're hungry and to eat the good stuff and to stop when we are full. A place of self care.
And yes. The iceberg of excess weight will melt away, without us even noticing. We release the bodies we really are -- not the "ideal" unsustainable bodies, the bodies which are normal weight for each of us when we treat our selves with kindness and trust.
Bodies integrated with the minds and spirits of who we really are. At peace. .