We rarely assign specific topics to our writers at Tonic. Instead we put forward general themes and let the columnists choose which, if any, they want their articles to track. In February the themes are pretty obvious because of Valentine’s day: love, sex, heart health, etc. So, it’s always interesting to me to see where, within those parameters, our writers gravitate. Current trends emerge when writers covering disparate topics converge on similar ideas.
This month both our yoga feature writer Sari Nisker-Fox (p.16) and our natural nutrition columnist Claire Le Gresley (p. 33) chose to write about “self-love”. Now my initial (prurient and misguided) reaction was “what does masturbation have to do with yoga or eating well?” Of course neither were writing about that kind of “self love” but rather taking care of, or prioritizing oneself.
My second reaction was to question whether “self love” was nothing more than narcissistic bafflegab. What does it mean to put yourself first or be more accepting of yourself in the context of health and wellness goals? The whole notion is the exact opposite of how I motivate and conduct myself. Without guilt and self-loathing I don’t think I could get out of bed in the morning, let alone publish a monthly magazine, or produce a weekly talk show and an annual yoga event.
As a practical matter how does one put oneself first, while at the same time put in the hard work that is (for example) losing weight? If I didn’t weigh myself regularly (a self love no-no) during the year I lost 52 lbs., would there have been no weight loss whatsoever? I put that question to Claire on the talk show recently.
Her answer made sense. Using weight loss as the example, we can all agree that diets more often than not fail. Many of those who don’t succeed find themselves upset with the lack of success and for some that may result in more weight gain -creating a cycle of escalating failure. Self love isn’t about accepting the status quo, but rather supporting an internal process towards achieving goals, ie making sure that you get enough sleep and that you’re de-stressing, rather than focussing on the number showing on your scale. I need benchmarks to spur on my success. But that’s me. And if tracking the external criteria is counter-productive for you, then I suppose self love might be your ticket to better health…maybe we just need a better name for it.
This issue of Tonic features some other approaches to better health that might not be on your radar. Camara Chambers discusses the health benefits of volunteering (on the Feb 3 episode of THE TONIC). Joel Thuna advocates for activated charcoal on the Feb 17 episode of THE TONIC). And if you’re considering losing some weight, Rod MacDonald has four body hacks to consider ( on the Feb 3 episode of THE TONIC). As always, if you have a better name for “self love” or you want to discuss anything else in this note, this issue of Tonic or something I said that got on your nerves on THE TONIC Talk Show, please feel free to contact me.