Wednesday, 3 October 2012

The body whisperer meditation

The title of this post is a bit embarrassing. It makes me feel like I should be wearing feathers in my hair and spending my nights listening to reed flute music while I dance in the woods. But bear with me. I have tried this out and it's quite a winner.

You don't always need a lake for meditation.
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I am currently making my way through Martha Beck's 4-Day Win book. In general I am not a fan of weight loss or self-help books, but as I was about to throw this out of my bookshelf (I got it as a gift somewhere) I opened a page and it intrigued me. It looks at the psychological aspects of weight loss and why we struggle to lose weight healthily and permanently.
I promise I'm not getting paid for this.
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But I'm not here to write a book review or make a sales pitch (although, Martha, if you're out there, I am open to receiving royalties). The reason I am writing this post is to report one of the best tools I have found so far. It's called the "body whisperer meditation". 

Martha proposes that forcing our bodies to diet is similar to "breaking" a horse. Breaking a horse involves suppressing its animal instincts and virtually abusing it until it is "broken" into submission. We try to do just that with the way we treat our bodies, and then, when our bodies counteract in panic (you know, driving around looking for pizza at 11 at night), we hate them. "If you are locked in angry resistance to your own body, if you hate it, if you've ever starved it or forced it to work through exhaustion, you've tried to 'break' an aspect of yourself that reacts very much like a wild horse".

This will be the last time I ever reference a horse in this blog.
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She suggests we instead mimic the peaceful approach of the horse whisperers: treating our bodies with kindness and speaking our bodies' language. This way we will be able to work with our bodies and not fight a (losing) battle against them. If you haven't rolled your eyes at what sounds like arty-farty mumbo-jumbo and logged out already, this is where the tool comes in.

It's called the "Body Whisperer Meditation", and although I have only tried it twice, I promise it made a difference to how hungry I was feeling and my usual 4PM Sally Williams Nougat craving.

I promise I'm not getting paid for this either.
[Image source:]

Choose a place where you know there will be no interruptions or distractions for at least 10 minutes. Make sure it's a place where you can be psychologically and physically comfortable - it can be a seat in the garden, walking on the side of the road, or just lying in your bed. Breathe deeply. Breathe evenly. Every time you exhale, repeat one of the following lines, either in your head or out loud if you don't mind getting funny looks. 

  • Everything is okay
  • I don't have to do one single thing for the next 10 minutes
  • I can handle this moment and I don't have to handle anything else
  • My body has suffered a lot. It deserves understanding, not cruelty
  • Struggling not to be the person I am right now is pointless and useless
  • If I never changed a thing, the world would keep revolving
  • It's alright to rest

Please just don't fall asleep.
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Now listen to your body. It'll show you that it's responding with signs like deep, regular breathing, muscle relaxation, sleepiness, and a sense of emotional quiet. Keep repeating for the full 10 minutes.

That's it! Brilliant for times when you feel out of control of any aspect of your life, from food to the growing pile of dirty dishes. Give it a bash and let me know what you think.

1 comment:

  1. I love your sense of humour (clot ... man evaporated) and love your true sense of honesty.
    I love you, in fact!
    I am so proud of you Darling.
    You just go from strength to strength.
    Now I just have to read that honesty bit with food again .....
    It may apply to me too!


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