We can feel like the distance between the body we have and the body we want is an impassable canyon with snapping crocodiles below. But it is a false illusion that keeps us dissatisfied and ‘stuck’.
I’ve been reflecting on who I wrote my book, Joyful Eating, for.
In the introduction, I mention my grandmothers struggle with weight. And when I think of who I hope will read the book, I envisage my grandmother and all the women who struggle similarly with their weight and eating.
Here I explain how Joyful Eating can help you heal your relationship with food and your body with the metaphor of a canyon.
Seeing your weight as an impassable canyon
I see her sitting on the edge of a cliff face, looking out across a canyon to the other side with a rushing river and snapping crocodiles below, just like in the Western adventure films I watched as a child.
She sits on barren land, where she is dissatisfied not only with her body and eating, but other aspects of her life. She holds herself back in relationships, work, adventure and hobbies, until she has her eating and weight under control.
If only she could cross that canyon to the other side. Yet, it is treacherous and daunting.
So, she spends much of her time looking out to the other side, where there are people with ‘perfect’ bodies, living happy and fulfiled lives—much like scrolling through an Instagram feed.
She looks for a path across …
The neverending attempts across the weight loss canyon
Weight loss and life coaches may call out from the other side, instructing her as to a way across. They may throw her a ‘lifeline’ telling her she can make a swingbridge and join them on the other side where the grass is much lusher and life more satisfying.
They tell her if she follows their guidelines or diet plans, she can achieve what they have on the other side.
She attempts to shimmy along the ropes. She attempts to lay logs across the canyon. Yet it is all such hard work, and she doesn’t know if she can—if she will fall and be taken by the crocodiles below.
She is so tentative that she only wants to take the first step when she knows that the bridge across is firm and secure.
Yet, no one can guarantee that it won’t break or that she won’t fall.
So, she sits there in the dry dirt, watching across the canyon as others display their perfect smoothie bowls and toned lycra encased legs. She feels like an utter failure, there on her side of the canyon.
JOYFUL EATING: How to Break Free of Diets and Make Peace with Your Body
“…shines a light on the countless beliefs that starve people of happiness and contentment with their bodies, and themselves.”
★★★★★ — Michelle Stanton, author of The Timeless World
Available on all online book sellers
Changing your perspective to remove the impassable canyon
Joyful Eating is not a lifeline thrown to that woman. It is not a promise to the other side or that the grass is greener over there. Instead, it is about seeing the strength and resilience she has within her on her side of the canyon.
She may have spent so much time looking to the other side that she has not seen the beauty, strength and resourcefulness on her side of the canyon.
Joyful Eating intends to help her see that both sides of the canyon are a whole and that it is not that one side is better than the other or that she will only be enough or worthy when she reaches the other side. She begins to see that both sides coexist within her.
Through self-reflection and self-care, she can draw on her inner wisdom to begin living a more fulfilled and joyful life no matter which side of the canyon she sits on. And in doing so, a path may or may not appear to the other side.
But now, it doesn’t matter if she makes it to the other side as she is whole and complete, just as she is. She knows that what she needs is not ‘out there’. It is within her.
Through reading Joyful Eating, I hope you gain a better understanding of yourself, your beliefs, behaviours, fears, doubts, and body. I hope that you can feel a sense of empowerment to live your life fully, no matter the body you are in. I hope you feel inspired to care for and nurture your body without trying to control, contain or change it.
And above all else, I want you to know that dissatisfaction with your body is a false canyon that prevents you from living your life fully the way you want.
PS. If you resonate with this blog, I think you will enjoy Chapter 3 of Joyful Eating, Are You Starving Yourself of Happiness?