I had a recent revelation...
Several years ago I lost about forty pounds. I did it via a book called 'Thin Within'. In this book the author condemns dieting in all forms and talks about the harm dieting does. As she talks about weight, she proposes that those who want to lose weight learn to think about themselves differently. She sets up guidelines about eating that aren't hardfast rules or calorie counting structures. The guidelines are: 1. Eat what you really, really want (even if it's a brownie with ice cream!) 2. Eat only when you are hungry (a real tummy-rumbling hungry) 3. Eat until you are satisfied (not full!). She calls it 0-5 eating-- most of us eat 3-10. If we consistently eat to a 10, we'll gain weight while eating at a 7, we will maintain our weight without losing. 0-5 eating is where the weight just melts off.
Exercise is not mandatory although truly loving yourself will include some type of physical movement- even if it's just dancing around the house for fifteen minutes to your favorite tunes.
What you eat is definitely not guided by rules- it really is eating what you are truly hungry for but she does emphasize not grabbing the chip bag just because your hungry. Eat what you're mind is set on and wait until you can have it or you won't be satisfied.
She also includes a few more guidelines that are important but not as crucial as the first three- like eating consciously- sitting down at the table to eat, no eating or watching TV and eating without thinking, etc. She also asks readers to go through some introspection-- thinking about WHY they are eating... bored? to be social? emotional? angry? (I personally often overeat when I feel poor-- food is my comfort for not having other needs fulfilled due to lack of $$) There are some pages where you ask yourself harder questions-- like things in your past that you may still be beating yourself up over. (I have had plenty of those issues!)
But I digress...
It occurred to me a while back that life in general is like dieting vs. 'Thin Within.' The more you try to regulate yourself and set up a regiment, the more difficult it is. Religion serves this purpose for many-- an organization that gives distinct (or even indistinct) rules about behavior, a "Guide for Living" so to speak. But the more you try to contain your life in a box, the harder it actually is to stay in the guidelines... you crave or just do things that don't fit with "the diet".
However, when you free yourself from those rules, you find that you do have the strength and the ability to make life good and satisfying. You conscientiously live your life the same way you eat-- loving yourself for who you are and being grateful for what life has to offer. Taking each moment as it comes, doing what is right and savoring whatever is before you that you can relish (and it is important to include in your life things that you can truly get lip-smackingly enthusiastic over as often as possible). Don't overdue it. Use the same 0-5 mentality-- don't do something just because it's there (alcohol/drinking might be good example of this) and don't overdue it- use moderation. When you blow it (and we all do and will!), you put down the fork and try again at that moment, not tomorrow (and to be honest, that has always been a sticking point with me!).