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The weight we should really try to lose

Not too long ago Special K ran a commercial which involved people stepping on a scale that revealed to them not their weight but rather other descriptive words, such as “joy” or “shine” or “courage”. And of course this got me thinking about scales and weights and goals, and how we can strive for one thing (such as joy) while still healthfully achieving another (weight loss). Yet how to avoid food becoming almost an obsession, filling our every thought…

It’s no secret that weight loss is an oft-sought goal, and that goal can drive us to do some pretty crazy things. Like eat almost nothing, or try to never ever eat “X” again, or in some cases subsist off of lemon-cayenne-maple syrup water for days on end. And somehow we’re surprised when our thoughts are consumed with foods (we aren’t allowed to have) and we can’t keep up with the plan. And if we can’t keep up with the plan we’ll never get there, right?

Wanting to lose weight isn’t a bad thing. And not just for physical health reasons, but certainly there is a deserved feeling for everyone to feel happy in their skin. Sometimes the barometer for what would make us happy can be really thrown off, by everything from what someone looked like on their Facebook vacation posts, to the latest clothing ad or music video star. It’s tough to find a balanced approach to eating, which will ultimately lead to the body’s happy state, when the mind is intently focused on one body image, one scale number, or only one way of eating. It gets to the point where food occupies most of our thoughts and weighs us down – literally, shoulders are slumping from the weight of dieting thoughts.

So rather than focusing on the body weight we want to lose, what if instead we focused on losing the mental weight that has accumulated over the years surrounding dieting, or the weight on our shoulders for feeling guilty every time we eat something that is pleasurable but must be bad.

The tough part about truly reaching a balanced approach to eating is it requires shifting how we think about food, the act of eating, and our bodies. It’s not just about a meal plan that helps us reach a number on the scale – that only works for so long. It’s about honoring our own ability to self-regulate with our food choices, not the voice in side our heads filling our daily thoughts with food fear.

That’s one weight anyone would need to lose.

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