Yesterday in Wal-Mart, I picked up a magazine and skimmed an article about Ellen. If you’ve seen her lately, you have to have noticed something different about her, a glow that exudes health and confidence. She’s always been an attractive woman, but now she seems especially so. “What is it?” I’ve been asking myself.

Last night I discovered her “secret” as I hurriedly read through the article; it was in Shape in case anyone wants the full version. This is what I gleaned:  she looks radiant and healthy because of choices she made regarding diet and exercise. I don’t remember the exercise part, but I do recall the diet part. In her earlier years, Ellen ate lots of red meat, French fries, and fried food galore. She didn’t feel that great, but she didn’t attribute her lack of energy and blahs to her food consumption.  She’d gain and lose, gain and lose, and then gain and lose some more.

Then one day, Ellen realized that being healthy isn’t about depriving yourself of things you enjoy. It’s about rewarding yourself with things that are good for you. For example, she no longer eats fried food, but rather than looking at it as a deprivation, she looks at it as eliminating something totally not good for her. She’s amazed, maybe even appalled, at the foods she ingested “back in the day,” and now she eats lots of fruits and vegetables and stays away from dairy products and red meat. She views it as a way of nurturing herself, of treating herself well.

I loved the article (at least the part of it that I read) because I, like Ellen, feel something between despair and compassion when I hear women lamenting the fact that they’re “so fat” and that they need to go on a diet. It sounds negative, like they’re going to deprive themselves…and indeed they are. According to Ellen, that doesn’t work. You have to make a commitment to a total lifestyle change. You have to make a commitment to a healthier you, one with energy and confidence. That doesn’t happen with deprivation and self-denial; that happens with loving yourself and making a commitment to health.

So much for the cinnamon buns! Where are those strawberries?

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