dele’s holiday is
imminent. Though she
dreams about exchanging
the steamy heat of Hong
Kong for the beautiful Italian
Riviera, a huge cloud is hanging
over her halcyon images of summer:
Adele hates her body. She detests
her protruding stomach and her face
distorts in disgust at her enormous
thighs. She longs to join her young
daughter in the pool, but the thought
of wearing a swimming costume is
horrifying. Even the anticipation
of having to wear shorter sleeves,
exposing her flabby arms, makes
summer feel daunting.
Adele’s New Year’s resolution
to lose weight fizzled out in late
January. Subsequent diets have
gone the same way and she sits
before me, dejected and miserable,
acutely aware that, once again, her
holiday is destined to bring as much
pain as pleasure. She ruminates on
her options. She could crash diet,
temporarily exulting in the rapid
weight loss. But, as an experienced
dieter, she knows the hunger, fatigue
and ultimate disappointment that
such an approach will inevitably
bring. Denial is another option,
perhaps more satisfying in the
short-term. If she pretends not to
care about the shape of her body,
she can smother her unhappiness
with copious quantities of gelato,
postponing her focus on weight until
her holiday is over.
The alternative option that I
put to her meets with incredulity
and no small amount of irritation:
Adele, since there is little healthy
weight loss that can be achieved in
the short-term before your holiday,
perhaps the most positive thing you
can do for yourself
right now
is to try
to accept yourself.”
But I hate my body!
Einstein, among other smart folks,
defined insanity as doing the same
thing over and over again and
expecting different results. If that’s
true, then when it comes to weight loss,
there’s a great deal of madness going
on. How many times have you dieted
prior to your holiday, only to regain
all the weight you lost – and more – by
the time your holiday ended? How
many hours have you spent focusing
on the areas of your body that you
hate? Has any of this deprivation and
self-abuse worked? Has it made you
slimmer and more content with your
body, or have you ended up at the
same place, time and again?
So, how about considering another
option? Perhaps you could open
yourself up to the possibility of being
OK with your body. I’m not suggesting
you accept your current body forever,
just right now. And here’s why:
Your thighs are too big, your bust is too small, your hair is too frizzy …
What if this summer you learned to accept yourself, instead of focusing on all
the bits you dislike? asks
Dr Nicolette Ray
Summer 2013