From the beginning of our existence as human beings, we have needed to employ both approaches to solving our problems, and neither was considered to be superior to the other. The logic based Apollonian process, has always been crucial to our survival. It allows us to function effectively in the world by controlling our environment, creating tools, organizing society and planning for the future. As important as this forward looking and logical approach may be, it does not answer or address all the conditions we experience as human beings. An Apollonian thought processes and is meant for interaction with an external reality. It can’t help us cope with loss, express our love or find meaning in life itself. For these issues, we turned to the Dionysian approach.
Myth, religion, philosophy and tradition, all spring from this way of looking at the world. Practices that help us find our way in an often overwhelmingly confusing world.There will, therefore, always be problems unsolved by approaches completely reliant on hard scientific facts, especially those that are of a personal and intimate nature to begin with. Our global problem of obesity is a prime example. Seen by many administrators, governing officials and experts in the field, as a problem remedied by the logical application of diet and exercise, this way has obviously failed. And continues to fail. If anything, this plan of attack has had the opposite effect, as obesity rates keep climbing over the years. It isn’t surprising if you consider what we eat and what we do, (diet and exercise), falls squarely into the realm of our emotions- not our analytical thought processes. In almost twenty years of working with people to help them lose weight, what I learned is that weight loss is all about self control. One of the hardest and most difficult mountains for any of us to climb. To accomplish this Herculean task, people don’t need facts- they need patience, inspiration, understanding and support. Weight loss is about intimately changing our lives and leaving behind the person that we once were to become someone new. Like any new life coming into the world, this rebirth is a delicate and very often painful process where you have to deal with many complex and emotional issues.
THE CHANGE REQUIRED TO LOSE WEIGHT IS A MAJOR EMOTIONAL UNDERTAKING
As difficult as it sounds, this is still an oversimplification of the challenges each of us face with our own inner demons and obstacles to changing our lives. When I started as a personal trainer, I learned everything I could about the human body, diet and nutrition, and I firmly believed I had all the knowledge that I needed to help people lose weight and keep it off. I had no idea whatsoever, how much more it entailed! Helping my clients lose weight meant having a nonjudgmental and always listening ear. It meant being a constant source of support and it meant always doing your best to inspire and helping them go forward one day at a time. Early on, I thought one diet, with some slight modifications, would fit everyone and boy, was I wrong! I had no inkling that I would spend hours, days and months going back and forth with my clients to create new eating plans that not only would help them lose weight, but also that would fit into their lives. I learned that food forms a narrative in our lives, establishes order, influences our emotions, creates and sealing bonds and can’t just be changed to fit a one-size-fits-all mold. It calls for small steps, and a deep respect for the way people look at their foods, if there is any hope of helping them change. Meeting people where they are, walking with them along paths of self-discovery has little to do with science, but without objective facts, we wouldn’t have all the tools we need to make weight loss a reality.
One of the consequences of living in a logic dominated environment is the illusion that we, ourselves, are primarily logical beings. An overweight personal is a choice example of how paradoxical our behavior can be. But even closer to home, each of us, at some point in our lives, has left logic far behind when we get involved in questionable relationships. Leaving us asking ourselves what in the world we were thinking in the first place! We are indeed emotional beings. So in the end, we need balanced approaches if we strive to do such difficult tasks like as losing weight and changing our lives. Apollonian roads have their uses, but what we also need today are sources of inspiration, compassion and understanding.