Summer School: Respect yourself

The final chapter in The Slow Down Diet, “The Metabolic Power of the Sacred,” was meaty and thought-provoking. Sacred, in this case, doesn’t mean religion, per se. Rather, it refers to eight “sacred qualities”: Love, truth, courage, commitment, compassion, forgiveness, faith and surrender.
Two overarching ideas jumped out at me from this chapter:
  1. Our bodies and health are sacred, and we should treat them as such.
  2. Food is sacred, and we should treat it as such.
When you treat your body as “bad” and in need of punishment, whether because you weigh more than you would like or your health is not as good as it could be, those negative feelings don’t do you or your metabolism any favors. Instead, look as excess body weight or health problems as signs that something is imbalanced in your life, and be thankful that your body has given you this important clue so that you can make the changes you need to properly care for yourself.
When you treat certain foods (like sugar) as “bad,” it can be hard to resist their power, and you end up feeling like you are bad when you don’t resist. Instead, treat food, especially irresistible foods, as sacred. These sacred foods deserve respect, not mindless overuse. Use these foods sparingly, and eat them with attention, reverence and true enjoyment. When eating healthy foods, be thankful for all the good things they do for you and your body.
The chapter also discussed the use of ritual in daily life. I think this is a lovely concept, whether you are religious or spiritual in other ways. When we create rituals out of preparing and cooking meals, setting a nice table (even if we are dining alone), fixing a cup of tea or coffee, exercising and bathing/grooming, we honor ourselves, our bodies and our health. Kind of an expansion on the “your body is a temple” idea.
Ironically, when I was looking at the chapter titles in this book, I was least enthused about the last two chapters, but they turned out to be the two chapters that gave me the most to work with.