Advertising
Advertising

6 Ways to Stay Sane in a Weight-Obsessed World

6 Ways to Stay Sane in a Weight-Obsessed World

With society almost solely judging people by their weight, it is not easy to feel great with a body that doesn’t hold up to the standards that the fashion and beauty industries portray. It is therefor not surprising that the number of people being ashamed of their appearance and hating their bodies is constantly on the rise.

Chances are you, your family members or friends go from one diet to the next, desperately hoping to find the magic solution for immediate weight loss. We all critique certain body parts and wish to be taller, slimmer, prettier and just plain better.

This disconnection from our bodies leads to misery, sadness and an overall feeling of failure and lack of self-control. I know what I am talking about. I used

    to hate the body I was born with. My upper arms were too big, I was too short, my nose too broad and my legs too sturdy. I turned against myself and was at war with my body for most of my life. At the age of 10, I developed an eating disorder and almost died because of it. Sadly, my story is far from being an exception.

    Advertising

    However, it does not have to be that way. There are simple ways for us to radically change our body image and there is hope for all of us to fall in love with ourselves by embracing our perfect body in its glorious imperfection.

    In this post, I’d like to share a few killer ideas with you.

    1. Let Go of Toxic Relationships

    One of the best ways to instantly improve your self-esteem and your body image is to surround yourself with family and friends who appreciate you for the person you are and not the size of your jeans. Real friends and genuine family members will never even think about reducing your worthiness as a person to your weight, height or other measurements. Use your common sense to sort through the people that surround you and only, and I would like to repeat myself, only give those whose values are truly aligned with yours the gift of remaining in your close circle of trusted allies.

    2. Throw away your scale

    In today’s world it’s normal to have a scale in your bathroom, isn’t it? It’s even normal to weigh yourself every morning. However, when you come to a point where the number on the scale determines whether your day will be a great one or a horrible one or whether you have been a good person or a bad person, it is time to throw the scale away. Don’t let this little appliance give you either a false sense of control or a way of terrorizing you. Don’t let a thing have such an enormous power over you and your life. Do you really believe that you are just a number? If so, you should really make a reality check.

    3. Stop engaging in fat talk

    Fat talk is easy, fun and it is such a sociable thing to do, isn’t it? Everybody does it and by now it has morphed into a perfectly normal and socially accepted form of connecting with others. It is great to have a friend tell you that no, you are not as fat as you think you are and no, you don’t have to go on yet another diet, isn’t it?

    Advertising

    Yes, but this constant talk about weight, the regular comparisons and the tendency to put yourself down is doing so much more harm than good. It’s destroying your self-esteem, your sense of worthiness and, in my opinion, even your intelligence. I am quite certain that you can find other, deeper, more important topics to talk about with your friends and family than kilos, pounds or food groups.

    4. Be a role model

    Many children grow up with parents or other role models who are always on a diet. My parents never failed to mention that “starting tomorrow, we won’t eat anything anymore” after we had celebrated a delicious dinner at a restaurant. Sentences like these, as innocent as they may seem in your own mind, can and will influence others on a deeper level than you can imagine.

    So, instead of demonizing food and its glorious taste, be a role model and show gratefulness for all the different flavors we’re blessed to be able to enjoy.

    5. Ask yourself what really matters

    As I went through my many horrific years of being eating disordered, I could only focus on calories, exercise and the abuse of laxatives. Despite my many interests in history, languages, traveling, politics and more, most of my energy was wasted on superficial topics that brought me nothing but grief.

    If you’re caught in the same vicious circle of dieting, then give yourself a break or even an intervention and ask yourself: does this really matter? Does having a six-pack or a certain number on the scale really add any value to my life, my relationships or even my career? Am I wasting my time, energy and intelligence by focusing on appearances instead of investing in my whole self?

    Advertising

    If you dig deep, you’ll soon come to the conclusion that, yes, you are wasting your time and the things that really matter have nothing to do to with the circumference of your thighs.

    6. Make the sane choices

    With all the messages that the media is feeding us, it’s easy to forget that we have our own brain. Yes, I really wrote that sentence. We believe that we can lose 15 pounds in five days if we only buy this magazine. We believe that we will have a complete body transformation if we only buy this DVD. We even believe that if we drink a certain shake, we’ll shrink two sizes within a week.

    Do we ever stop and ask ourselves what it is we’re buying into? Do we ever consider that those messages are nothing but lies? Yes, but only after we’ve unsuccessfully tried the “magic” pills and the “miraculous” diet plan.

    It’s time that we, as women and men, come back to a place of making sane choices. We all know what is good for us. We all know which foods will make us gain weight and which will keep us healthy. We all know what our bodies need, but we ignore our own awareness far too often.

    I am challenging you to sit down, dig deep and let go of all the false hopes that the advertisements sell you. I know, I just know, that you will find the right balance of eating, exercising and living within yourself. You just have to let the knowledge in.

    Advertising

    Staying sane in a world that is obsessed about sizes, inches and weight loss is not easy, but I know that you, yes you, are able to do it. I know that if you try, you’ll be able to uncover your true self-worth and you’ll realize that it has nothing to do with your weight.

    Stay healthy. Stay active. Stay sane.

    Featured photo credit: via Shutterstock

    More by this author

    The Ultimate Trick to Sleep Better at Night 12 Powerful Self-Care Tools That You Can’t Live Without How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity 6 Ways to Stay Sane in a Weight-Obsessed World How To Survive Big Conferences As an Introvert

    Trending in Lifestyle

    1 Science Says Knitting Makes Humans Warmer And Happier, Mentally 2 How to Eliminate Work Stress When You’re Stressed to the Max 3 10 Benefits of Sleeping Naked You Probably Didn’t Know 4 10 Benefits of Reading: Why You Should Read Every Day 5 7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on October 23, 2018

    Science Says Knitting Makes Humans Warmer And Happier, Mentally

    Science Says Knitting Makes Humans Warmer And Happier, Mentally

    My mother was a great knitter and produced some wonderful garments such as Aran sweaters which were extremely fashionable when I was young. She also knitted while my father drove, which caused great amusement. I often wondered why she did that but I think I know the answer now.

    Knitting is good for your mental health, according to some research studies. The Washington Post mentions a 2013 survey of about 3,500 knitters who were asked how they felt after a knitting session. Over 80% of them said they definitely felt happier. It is not a totally female occupation as more and more men take it up to get the same benefits. Harry Styles (One Direction) enjoys knitting. So does Russell Crowe although he does it to help him with anger management!

    The Neural Knitwork Project

    In Australia, Neural Knitworks was started to encourage people to knit and also become aware of neuroscience and mental health issues. Knit-ins were organized but garments were not the only things created. The knitters produced handmade neurons (1,665 of them!) to make a giant brain. The 2015 project will make more neural knitted networks (neural knitworks) and they will be visible online. You can see some more examples of woolly neurons on the Neural Knitworks Facebook page.

    Advertising

    While people knitted, crocheted and crafted yarn, they listened to experts talking about mental health issues such as addiction, dementia, depression, and how neurons work.

    The knitting and neural connection

    The human brain has about 80 billion neurons. Learning new skills, social interaction, and physical activity all help to forge neural connections which keep the brain healthy and active. They are creating networks to control movement and make memories. The knitters learn that as they create the woollen neurons, their own neurons are forming new pathways in their brains. Their creations are mimicking the processes in their brains to a certain extent. At the same time, their brains are registering new and interesting information as they learn interesting facts about the brain and how it works. I love the knitworks and networks pun. What a brilliant idea!

    More mental health benefits from knitting

    Betsan Corkhill is a physiotherapist and has published some results of completed studies on her website, appropriately named Stitchlinks. She conducted some experiments herself and found that knitting was really helpful in reducing panic and anxiety attacks.

    Advertising

    “You are using up an awful lot of brain capacity to perform a coordinated series of movements. The more capacity you take up by being involved in a complex task, the less capacity you have for bad thoughts.”- Betsan Corkhill

    Knitters feel happier and in a better mood

    Ann Futterman-Collier, Well Being Lab at Northern Arizona University, is very interested in how textile therapy (sewing, knitting, weaving and lace-making) can play an important role in mood repair and in lifting depressive states.

    She researched 60 women and divided them into three different groups to do some writing, meditating and work with textiles. She monitored their heartbeat, blood pressure and saliva production. The women in the textiles group had the best results when their mood was assessed afterwards. They were in a better mood and had managed to reduce their negative thoughts better than those in the writing and meditation groups.

    Advertising

    “People who were given the task to make something actually had less of an inflammatory response in the face of a ‘stressor’.” – Dr. Futterman Collier

    The dopamine effect on our happiness

    Our brains produce a chemical called dopamine. This helps us to feel happy, more motivated, and assists also with focus and concentration. We get a boost of dopamine after sex, food, exercise, sleep, and creative activities.

    There are medications to increase dopamine but there are lots of ways we can do it naturally. Textile therapy and crafting are the easiest and cheapest. We can create something and then admire it. In addition, this allows for a little bit of praise and congratulations. Although this is likely not your goal, all these can boost our dopamine and we just feel happier and more fulfilled. These are essential in facing new challenges and coping with disappointment in life.

    Advertising

    “Sometimes, people come up to me when I am knitting and they say things like, “Oh, I wish I could knit, but I’m just not the kind of person who can sit and waste time like that.” How can knitting be wasting time? First, I never just knit; I knit and think, knit and listen, knit and watch. Second, you aren’t wasting time if you get a useful or beautiful object at the end of it.” – Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, At Knit’s End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much.

    If you thought knitting and textiles were for old ladies, think again!

    Featured photo credit: DSC_0012/Mary-Frances Main via flickr.com

    Read Next