Want to Explore the Gabriel Method Together?
Jon Gabriel spells out an approach to health and a step-by-step program, which I find pretty compelling and exciting. Many of his points share in the principles we are learning about in the DIFO group, such as:
· Diets are bad for you
· Satisfy your various hungers
· Eat more fresh foods
· Get quality protein in your diet
· Get enough omega 3 fatty acids
· Find pleasurable ways to move
· Your emotional, physical and spiritual needs all matter
However, unlike many size-positive anti-diet authors, Gabriel believes that he has found ways to reset the set point that determines how fat or thin your body wants to be. His thesis is that an ancient part of our body understands survival in just two ways: if there is famine or cold the body will find ways to make you fatter. If it trusts that nourishment is plentiful it will want to make you thinner, especially if it thinks that you have to occasionally run away from a tiger.
According to Gabriel, all physical, mental and social stressors in your environment are perceived by this ancient part of the body through one of these two filters. Chronic stressors, physical hunger, nutritional deprivation, stored emotional trauma, chronic exhaustion and a feeling of scarcity of all sorts are perceived as famine or cold, so the hormones and mechanisms that make you fatter spring into action.
On the other hand, a sense of abundance and ease is associated by the body with an environment where food is plentiful. If possible, short intense bursts of exercise also give the body a message that it’s in an environment where it occasionally needs to run away from a tiger. In response the body activates the mechanisms to make us thinner and faster. The Gabriel method works on a nutritional, emotional and other levels to convince the body that it is living in just such an environment.
If Gabriel is right in his assertion that he has discovered a mechanism for shifting the set point, I find that pretty exciting news. Improving our lives and embracing ourselves just as we are is surely the most important step, but for some of us it would be welcome news to learn that the body is capable of resetting its weight down as well as up. (That is something most health-at-any-size advocates say can’t be done.) In any case Gabriel’s program is bound to improve health and wellbeing, regardless of any weight shift.
There is just one downside, which is that the program and the community Jon Gabriel has organized around it is very centered on weight loss. Even though he constantly repeats that being fat is not your fault, the emphasis on weight loss itself is toxic to some of us.
However, I have been thinking for a long time that his program is very easily adaptable to a health-at-any-size model. What if we simply implement his advice for making the body healthier and create the room for it to lose weight if it needs to, but keep our focus on health instead of weight loss? For example, Gabriel’s visualization exercises of the body as healthy and thin could easily be reworked to be healthy and strong, fast, whole – or whatever images you want to use. Then why not let the body interpret that message however it needs to? To me this would be like the best advice of the health-at-any-size movement, but taken one step further.
I have been trying to do this exploration alone, but it’s harder to do in isolation. Doing it with a peer group is much easier and more likely to generate success. So, that’s what I’m looking for – a few people who are committed to a size-positive vision and want to support each other in exploring the Gabriel Method together.
Interested? Write to me at email@example.com if you are.