The Path to
Becoming Fit From Within
by Victoria Moran
Food and weight controlled my life for thirty years. My dad was a diet doctor, my mother worked in what were then called "reducing salons," and I had an insatiable penchant for sweets and snacks and leftovers. I didn't "outgrow" it---in fact, it only got worse---until the
day I wanted peace more than I wanted to get into size 6 jeans. My prayer was answered. Over time and to my amazement, I not only got the peace, but the jeans fit, too. That was eighteen years ago. The peace is still with me and the jeans still fit. Everything I know for
making this happen in anyone's life I've distilled into 101 suggestions in my book, Fit from Within: 101 Simple Secrets to Change Your Body and Your Life. Here are two of them to get you started.
Accept Yourself Today
Accepting who you are, body and soul, does not
guarantee that you will lose weight. It does, however,
put you in the ideal position for losing weight--not
just one more time, but for the last time. If you don't
accept yourself, you won't live fully, and if you don't
live fully, you'll need to get full some other way.
It can be hard to accept yourself if you're too heavy
(or if you think you are) because the mass culture as
it's printed and televised finds fat abhorrent. This
leads to self-hatred, more eating, and less exercising
("I can't be seen in workout clothes. I'll exercise
after I lose the first ten pounds").
You may not be consciously thinking, "I'm
completely unacceptable today, but at 120 pounds I will
be perfect." Unconsciously, though, it's difficult
not to have such thoughts because the media bombards us
with the message that only thin (and while we're at it,
we may as well add young) bodies are acceptable.
Every age and culture has had its physical ideal, but
only in recent history has that ideal been foisted on us
hundreds of times a day through magazines, movies, and
TV. The implication that even normal weight isn't thin
enough makes it hard for a lot of people, women in
particular, to accept and value themselves. If you are
overweight, it's even harder. Stand up to the barrage
and hold firm to your belief in yourself.
The suggestion, subliminal or stated, that we should
all have a supermodel's body is as preposterous as
suggesting that we should all have Albert Einstein's IQ.
If mathematical theorems were valued as highly in the
mass culture as fashion spreads and celebrity profiles,
we'd be lamenting the paucity of our intellects instead
of the flabbiness of our thighs.
Get clear on this: being fat is not disgusting. Child
abuse is disgusting. Tying a dog out all day and night
in every kind of weather is disgusting. Homelessness and
starvation and weapons of mass destruction are
disgusting. Overweight is a state. A situation. An
inconvenience certainly. A threat to health in many
cases. A sign, perhaps, of self-indulgence or
indifference or emotional distress. But not disgusting.
It is vital that you understand this at the outset.
Otherwise, you may at some future time be living
blissfully as a size 6 and something happens. You might
retain water before a period, or react to some medicine
with weight gain. Or perhaps you reach midlife and
awaken one morning to find that some hormonal desperado
fled in the night with your flat tummy and left you a
round one instead. Unless you come to accept yourself
the way you are every day, shifts like these could send
you back into "disgusting" mode, the ideal
place for regaining all your lost weight. Acceptance, on
the other hand, does double duty. It gives you peace of
mind in the present and makes change possible for the
Acceptance is not rationalizing overeating as okay.
Nothing that is diminishing your life belongs in your
life, whether that's an abusive boss, an untreated
illness, or a peculiar affinity for layer cake and
leftovers. Your behavior around food is--you pick the
word--habit, weakness, sickness, raw deal. Whatever you
call it, it's something in which you participate; it's
not who you are. Deal with the problem, but accept
Include a Spiritual Component
In my own case, a spiritual turnaround is responsible
for my having been free from overeating for eighteen
years. Yes, I eat differently and I exercise more
consistently than I used to, but I wouldn't be able to
do either of those things if my heart and soul had not
undergone extensive repairs. I wasn't fat because of
ignorance about calories and abdominal crunches. I was
fat because I had deified food, expecting it to comfort
me, console me, and get me through life. I suppose it
did, after a fashion, but it wasn't the life I wanted or
the life I deserved.
If you feel that you that your deserve a better life
than you're currently living--whether only where food
and weight are concerned or in other areas, too--please
open your mind to the possibility that the spiritual
component may have been the active ingredient lacking in
your previous efforts. It is, in fact, the key element
that separates becoming fit from within from just losing
One way to see the spiritual component in this is to
realize that beyond your body, intellect, and emotions,
there is more to who you are. Your higher or deeper or
real self is that spiritual part of you, your essence.
When you keep it in mind, you're more likely to live
healthfully and eat moderately, both because you'll
value yourself more and because you'll have something
besides your human willpower to depend on.
Going even deeper, having a spiritual component is
absolutely necessary if you believe you've done all you
can to get a grip on the food issue and it seems to get
harder, not easier, over time. If you can't do this
yourself, give yourself a break and turn to something
that can. If you don't believe in God, pretend. Anybody
who has been able to made a god out of a snack cake
certainly has enough imagination to envision Someone who
gave you the stars and the seasons, your son and your
The people I know who maintain weight losses
indefinitely and who do so without anxiety, are those
who have, in whatever way fits their own religious and
philosophical sense of things, surrendered their eating
and weight issues to some Higher Power. This is not the
same as promising God you'll never overeat again, nor is
it making deals, begging and pleading, or acting pitiful
in hopes of receiving divine pity. (If you've done those
things, you know how poorly they work.)
Instead, including a spiritual component is simply
knowing when you're up against something that is too
much for you and your best intentions to handle on your
own. It's realizing where you're weak and depending on
something strong, whether you think of that as God in
heaven or a Power that, although beyond your human ego,
resides inside yourself.
If you only need to lose some weight but food has not
bullied you into a place of hopelessness and despair,
you may not need to surrender in this way at all. But
I've never known anyone to regret it. For some, this
simply takes the pressure off. For others, it makes
beating this thing possible when it never was before.
© Copyright 2002 Victoria
Moran. All Rights Reserved.
Victoria Moran is the author of the new book, Fit from Within: 101 Simple Secrets to Change Your Body and Your Life--Starting Today and Lasting Forever,
from which this essay is an excerpt, and other books
including Lit From Within, Creating a Charmed
Life, Shelter for
the Spirit, and Love Yourself Thin. She is a
national speaker, has appeared on Oprah! twice, and has
written articles for magazines including Ladies' Home
Journal, Woman's Day, Yoga Journal, Vegetarian Times,
and New Age Journal. For more information, please visit
her website, www.victoriamoran.com.
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