Does Mental Health = Being Thin?

Does Mental Health = Being Thin?

​Many of my clients are struggling with their weight and issues around body/food.

I have been noticing a trend, albeit a false one. If someone learns about the principles of innate health and therefore, begins to experience their mental well-being more of the time, the logical conclusion is that they will eventually become thin.

At least that’s the unspoken (and sometimes spoken) expectation.

Although I do believe that when people are experiencing a sense of security and resilience more of the time, their behavioral choices tend to reflect that state of mind, who said that the behavioral choices that change will be around food?

True, if I continue to live in self judgement, self loathing, constantly trying to control my food, thinking about my body and food all the time, then I am innocently compromising my ability to experience my G-d given gift of health.

But who said I am supposed to be thin? Who said I can only be happy if I am thin? Who said mental well-being = thin?

We all have the ability to make connections in our thinking that don’t exist, but for in our minds.

Just as mental, emotional and psychological well-being are an indication of where we are, not who we are, so too, the shape of our body is more about where we are, not who we are.

I am not implying that there may not be health reasons to want to lose weight, but what state of mind will trustingly guide us toward making lasting change? An insightful one.

Just as we are not our thinking, we are not our body. So who are we? We are a tzelem Elokim (a piece of the Divine). When our focus and respect is on that, a sense of health and security bubbles up, leaving room for insight.

If we saw that living in the thinking/feeling of “being thin will make me happy” creates more distress than our actual size, would we be willing to look past it? Because the truth is, our happiness/unhappiness can’t come from a “thing” (ie: my size), it can only come from thought in the moment.

Are we willing to allow the Divine system (which is meant to run our lives in the most optimum way) do the job or do we still live in the illusion that we could do a better one?

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By Aviva Barnett, MSW

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