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  • Amina Aitsi-Selmi

Lessons from binge watching Dietland and a PhD on obesity: the dangers of making it happen

On the path of change and personal transformation, it can be hard to find balance: should you push or should you wait? Developing your intuitive discernment around this is part of the process.

Last weekend, I started watching Dietland and didn’t stop. It’s a story of self-acceptance and the painful journey it might involve represented through an obese young woman’s life.

To summarise, she’s determined to look thin and will do anything to make it happen. We meet her when she’s reached the point of undergoing gastric surgery and body reshaping and is going everything to make it happen but blind to the full picture. Along the way, she becomes involved with women’s empowerment groups (one pacifist and one violent) and her reality is shattered. She takes the socially conditioned lenses off starts to see herself in a different way…

I don’t want to spoil it so essentially the idea is that once she expands her level of awareness and sees the full picture, (painfully) realising how she’s been hating herself because she internalised messages of disgust and rejection from other people, her options expand. She also contacts a basic anger that gives her clarity, boundaries and balance and is eventually able to take action from a more courageous place and make choices that are more aligned with her deeper values…


There’s only so much you can explore in an Amazon Prime series but it reminded me of my PhD thesis on obesity in women in low- and middle-income countries.

The statistics showed a clear pattern at population level (across multiple countries): as countries get richer, the prevalence of obesity in women increases.

From a psychological point of view, you’d expect this to happen because cultural norms in these countries are still rooted in a past of food scarcity. So flooding the food environment with cheap calories inevitably leads to a rise in obesity levels, particularly among the wealthy. Their objective is survival and energy conservation – they’re also making it happen but blind to the full picture.

Interestingly, women with education were protected against this effect…The hypothesis here is that education gives an additional level of awareness and expands the behavioural options available to these women, so they could make different choices aligned with deeper values.


So regardless of the outcome, making things happen without a sensitivity to the bigger picture - the interdependent web of relationships and environmental forces we’re embedded – can lead us onto the wrong path for us.

It can be painful waking up to the full reality you’re part of. You might go through some dark places and that’s OK. (-> See below for a past Wise Wednesdays video on the transformational process and signs you’re in the dark cave of change)

You can make things happen but if you’re not connected to your deeper self, you’ll get things that you don’t really want.

As Stephen Covey put it: “If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster”.

By all means make things happen, but do it whilst being in tune to your deeper thoughts and feelings and the bigger set of environmental forces around you.

Take a step back. Pay attention. Notice what your wise inner-voice is telling you. It will always get you to the right place for you.

Have a good week,


Coming up soon:

The Circle: Small group coaching and meaningful Conversations on Careers, Life and Freedom

This month’s theme: Imposter syndrome - what it is, what to do about it and toxic work cultures

We'll dive into this at The Circle

Key facts and concepts
 * Transformational coaching tools
 * Q&A/coaching time
 * Networking with kindred spirits
 * Possibly an event app so you can connect with people after…
 You can join either the online or in person version depending on your location and availability:

1) Online webinar version (60 minutes): 15th of August at 6pm (Free). - register for the webinar to receive the zoom link and further details here:

2) In person version at Harley Street (2 hours): 23rd of August at 6.30pm. Get your ticket here:

*The event will be limited to 8 people to keep the small group feeling so, please, sign up as soon as possible if you’re interested.

****************** Event summary:

Do you ever wonder whether you're doing well enough in your job and compare yourself to others unfavourably?

Building on themes from previous circles we'll dive into imposter syndrome and use coaching tools to address the root causes.

Join this Leaders Circle at the sumptuous Harley Street to grow in self-awareness and develop strategies for a healthy relationship to performance at work.

You'll learn about: * what imposter is and the mechanism at its core
 * the role that organisations have in the imposter syndrome epidemic
 * develop tailor-made strategies that work for your specific situation

This is an interactive event in which you gain as much as you give. We'll practise the non-violent communication framework to create a safe, supportive space that facilitates powerful inner-transformation. The framework will be explained a the start of the event.

You’ll also find out how other service-driven, high achievers like you have overcome the challenges you’re facing to develop their career and impact.

There’ll be an opportunity to be coached by me on an individual situation.

At the end, there’ll be a chance to talk about how Transformational Coaching can help you fulfil your highest potential with confidence, joy and ease.

* Email me if you have any questions

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