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Victoria Moran

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.

Fit from Within by Victoria Moran

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.

Body Confident by Victoria Moran

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 future.

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 yourself.

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 weight again.

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.

My Yoga Journal by Victoria Moran

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 daughter.

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.


Lit From Within by Victoria Moran Shelter for the Spirit by Victoria Moran Love Yourself Thin by Victoria Moran Creating a Charmed Life by Victoria Moran

Victoria Moran
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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