Thursday, June 14, 2012

For those of you frustrated with this!

Weight management can take the nicest, smartest, and most successful people and turn them into angry, anxiety-ridden, depressed people.  And then what?  They're either successful in losing weight (so they can feel successful again) or they're not (in which case they sometimes get even more mean to themselves, anxious, and depressed).

But what's the alternative?  Compassion.  Compassion for your body and compassion for your soul.

Think that's not going to solve the problem?  Read this (with an eye for everything you do for others should be done for yourself) and then think again!

Why, in a country that consumes 25% of the world's resources (the U.S.), is there an epidemic of loneliness, depression, and anxiety? Why do so many in the West who have all of their basic needs met still feel impoverished? While some politicians might answer, "It's the economy, stupid," Based on scientific evidence, a better answer is, "It's the lack compassion, stupid."

James Doty is a researcher at Stanford who specializes in compassion research (who knew you could do that, right?)  He just wrote an article for the Huffington Post that is worth the time you spend to read (and think about) it.

But just in case you don't, here are some of the article's high points:

  • One particularly telling survey showed that 25% of Americans have no one that they feel close enough with to share a problem. That means that one in four people that you meet has no one to talk to and it is affecting their health. Steve Cole from UCLA, a social neuro-genetics scientist, has shown that loneliness leads to a less healthy immune stress profile at the level of the gene -- their gene expression makes them more vulnerable to inflammatory processes which have been shown to have negative effects on health. Research by expert well-being psychologists Ed Diener and Martin Seligman indicates that social connectedness is a predictor of longer life, faster recovery from disease, higher levels of happiness and well-being, and a greater sense of purpose and meaning. One large-scale study showed that lack of social connectedness predicts vulnerability to disease and death above and beyond traditional risk factors such as smoking, blood pressure, obesity and lack of physical activity.
Often, clients struggling with weight issues tell me they feel isolated and alone.  They feel cut off from the community that surrounds them and they end up feeling judged by that community.

I do recognize the world is a very judgmental place, but I also wonder if sometimes, the judgment my clients feel is their own judgment against themselves.  They don't feel they "should" look the way they do and maybe they end up attributing that feeling to others judging them.

I have written before about how we often treat ourselves in ways that we would NEVER treat our friends.  We treat our friends with COMPASSION.  Why don't we think WE are worthy of compassion from ourselves??

Maybe compassion's is the missing ingredient to improving your own health and weight management success -- would it be worth working on then???

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