Monday, June 6, 2016

Joy Is The New Skinny

All these years, staring at ourselves in the mirror, looking in dismay and assuming happiness is just on the other side of ten pounds, or the 100 pounds. It becomes this asshole belief, that the scale grants you permission to be happy. And we've taught our self,  this disillusion message of " I Can Be Happy When"... I look a certain way, when I lose the weight, when I have a mate, when I drive this car, when I have enough ones and zeros in my checking account. 

Beauty Could Be in the Eye of the Marketing Campaigns

What?! Your lashes don't look like this?

We're quietly taught by American culture that if we lose weight and get sexy, that then, finally, we get the key to enjoy happiness. But that's just what Nike, Revlon and Macy's want you to think. Big corporations bank millions on the concept of conditional self love. All the big names that market to people use the Army tactic - tear us down then give hope BUT only if we use their product. Stretch marks? Oh dear, better use this cream to make them less visible, as though a scar is so terrible. **TANGENT WARNING**As though our skin should not tell a story. Flawless skin BORES the sh*t out of me. Grow some stories and wear them on your body like your beautifully messy autobiography. **TANGENT OVER**

Conditional happiness is the name of the game.  What condition do you place on your happiness? Now, my lovelies, I want to introduce a new game. 

Most of us want things (cars, people, houses, lifestyles) which we assume will make us TWO things in life: Happy and Healthy. However, I remember in my adult life some of my most dark and depressing times, they were when I had the perfect body, a spouse, kids and almost a white picket fence - a seemingly perfect looking life. But inside, I was a wreck. I was often depressed and talked smack to my body daily. My internal dialog was so negative that I repeatedly needed to workout, to disengage from a painful reality that I was living. Sometimes I worked out three times a day to keep my mood up, if I didn't get to do that, I had to face myself.

That misery led me to understand that we are all suckers to the lies of our first world culture. Happiness is not some forever-medal you are rewarded once you have all your ducks in a row. All that hype we listen to from big-money-driven-companies telling us if we lose weight we'll be thin enough to deserve to be happy, if we drive this car, we'll look like a celebrity, if we take this magic pill we'll be skinny which will make us happy. Guess what- I'm on to you, American capitalism. Happiness comes from a place inside that does not falter to gimmicks and click-here promotions. We're better than that. Of course we are.

There's no amount of money to be paid to procure unconditional self love. That's the best part. Self love is free and feels so darn good. And we all want to feel good. Feeling good is innate - it's the way we were born! You don't see a 2 year old running to hide their naked body in shame, you instead see how loving they are to it, how they carelessly shed their clothes and run naked. Self love and shameless living are built within us, but as we grow up, we screw it up for ourselves - letting marketing companies have their way with our emotions. What if you could have the best of both worlds. What if you could be happy and then you could get the body you wanted. 

If your weight is "keeping" you from being happy:

Your challenge is to set aside worry and stress over food and exercise. That will come organically later, after you feel joy. By practicing kindness to yourself, avoiding mirrors and scales and judgement, then you can move toward what you desire; JOY. Enjoy the food you enjoy. So your goal is to set aside the rules, the harsh judgment and the self hatrid. Your goal is to be happy. In your perfect-for-now body. And how cool is that. How good does that feel? I give you permission to just enjoy being you. 

We've tried the other way. We've tried to listen to nutritionists lamely explain that a size of a meat portion should be a deck of cards. (l-a-m-e) We've tried to force ourselves into a type of exercise that doesn't feel good but we think we need. (Zumba & pilates for me) We've tried to read every new diet book and we've followed it like a bible, but then it all collapses again. We have to be either on or off a diet. That's because we've been going about it backwards. Thinking we have to earn the right to feel joyous in our bodies. Thinking we have to create a rich, skinny, socially acceptable person that is lovable before we can love ourselves. Thinking we have to suffer in order to get what we want. Then we can be happy. Thinking happiness has a cost. Well, it doesn't. It's yours for the taking and you deserve to experience it. Work it backwards.

Maybe work on a 3-month experiment to find our happy and then allow our body to realign with our right appetites, like when we were kids. I am always amazed to watch my 5 year old and 3 year old who turn their noses up at the extra ice cream or the dessert or even dinner - even if they love it. To them, there's no emotional aspect to food. They eat when they're hungry and they don't have a problem leaving half their plate of food or avoiding a meal altogether. Sometimes they are having so much play time I wonder if that is all the nourishment they need, that food is just a bonus. If we could nourish ourselves with so much love, could we then stop abusing food to supplement us with pretend love.

There's an article I wrote on not eating a tub of ice cream in a fancy dress. My point there is, when you are so thrilled about something - a new hobby or a new relationship or a new business venture- your natural appetite goes down. Your happiness level goes up and no longer do you need to self soothe. It's a beautiful, natural system. With joy, your body restores itself. 

A study that proves my point perfectly. In fact, there are lots of these studies, but this one stands out in my mind. There were two groups of people. Both groups were separated from each other. One group was watching a boring 2 hour lecture, the other was watching a 2 hour comedy show. Both groups were given chocolate cake. What do you think happened when they tested their blood sugar levels? They both had the same cake. But their physiological response was massively different. The group that was laughing during the comedy show had normal blood sugar levels while the group listening to the lecture had a large rise in their blood glucose level.

My next post will have more specific details on finding joy, how to seek it out no matter what your dominant mood is. Trust me, this stuff works. The universe knows you want to be skinny, and it wants to bring you happiness - all you have to do is live happy and more happiness will come your way. If you want specific tasks in the mean time - I suggest my above post link for eating ice cream in a fancy dress.