A Matter Of Perspective…

Did I really say that??

I’d been going through the filing cabinets, updating and sorting records, when I came across a file of “keepsakes.” In it was a copy of our community newspaper – The Newcastle News – from February 2007. As a local “fitness expert,” the reporter had interviewed me for a story he was working on about New Years Resolutions – specifically weight-loss and fitness resolutions.

“The keys to long-term success with respect to fitness are psychological and emotional rather than physical,” said Carmela Ramaglia, owner of Power Within Pilates.

“There is no great mystery about how to lose weight or be fit,” she said. “Anyone can tell you, eat healthy foods and exercise. The mystery is the emotional or psychological resistance a person has to doing this. And the resistance is unique to each individual,” she added. “So, learn from your past failures and do some soul searching to figure out what the real resistance is. And work to overcome it.”

Oh what a difference a few years can make. It would be three more years before I wrote Happy Calories Don’t Count (neither does unhappy exercise) – the book that helped me synthesize and heal over 25 years of personal drama and research regarding body, weight and wellness issues. And it would take another four years of being the “Happy Calories Happy Exercise® Girl” – engaging with media, community groups and private clients – to fine tune the principles and teachings of this new paradigm.

And the biggest lessons that I’ve learned thus far are: 1) This is an art, not a science – and 2) Everything is a matter of perspective.

Take, for example, my interview comments from above. Reading them from the experience and perspective I have now, it is clear to me that I was still struggling to reconcile my unquestioned belief in the “diet and exercise” model with the (at best) inconsistent results or (at worst) lack of results I – and my clients – experienced with this approach.

My faith laid in “diet and exercise.” So if I – or my clients – weren’t experiencing results from diet and exercise, the “mystery” was some unknown “emotional or psychological resistance” we had to following our given program.

Thankfully, I can look back at that person I was with compassion and gratitude. It is really hard to break out of the “diet and exercise” mindset. And because I understand it so well, it helps me navigate conversations with others who still approach weight-loss and wellness from this perspective. And when I can help them see with a new perspective, wonderful insights into healing their pain and drama can emerge.

Furthermore, looking at my interview comments from a Happy Calories Happy Exercise® perspective, I actually succeeded at following my own advice! I did some serious soul searching, figured out what the real resistance was and worked to overcome it.

The real resistance was that the “diet and exercise” model inherently demands that we disconnect from our body – to override its authentic impulses and ignore its innate wisdom. The real resistance is that the “diet and exercise” model seeks to limit and control our experience and expression of Life in our physical form. The real resistance is that we intuitively and instinctively know this.

The work to overcome this resistance is a little more challenging. It’s challenging because everything in our culture – from major media marketing weight-loss products to conversations with friends and family – perpetuate the “diet and exercise” mindset.

And it’s challenging to walk the road less traveled. It can be filled with self-doubt, fear and uncertainty. But walking this road also has its rewards. It provides a freedom and peace around food and exercise that is sublime. It provides tangible results with less effort and drama. It provides health and wellness that is sustainable. And in the end, it makes all the difference.