Ultimately we want to change to a healthier lifestyle because we don’t feel good about ourselves. You can eat all the right things, change your diet, exercise regularly and eliminate as much stress and fear as you can from your life but if you don’t do this one particular mental shift, you could be throwing it all away. Causing you to repeat the same patterns of weight gain and weight loss. It’s not wrong to go about changing your lifestyle this way. This mental shift approach may sound just down right crazy. But before I continue, ask yourself, have any of those processes that you’ve tried all of these years really worked for you? Were you actually able to change your lifestyle and stick to it without cheating or falling off the wagon? Let’s take a look at a new approach and begin to build a relationship with our physical body, to be able to listen to and understand its needs.
I heard this approach about 5 years ago. I was 30 pounds overweight, had health issues and quite honestly, depressed. At the time, this approach sounded silly. I was willing to try anything because at the time I didn’t realize how low I actually felt. My barometer to feeling good was ignored by me. Setting my new points of feeling good lower and lower. Then I covering it up with bad food, alcohol, current news and terrible reality t.v. shows. I was forced to look that I was in a pretty bad spot in my life.
But what did I have to lose? I was feeling pretty desperate. The approach – “Don’t focus on your current circumstances. If you’re 30 pounds over weight, then visualize the way you want to see yourself. Most importantly appreciate and love your body.” I remember the day I heard this, because later that day when I got home, I stripped down and looked in the mirror. I couldn’t even look at myself without being disgusted or finding something to criticize. I had talked so badly about myself for so long that I didn’t even like myself. I truly felt unlovable. I didn’t even believe that I had one good thing to say about me and I didn’t know how I was going to feel self-love and visualize myself as a size 6? I was way too focused on my current circumstances. This was not going to be an easy strategy that I could think or plan my way out of. I wanted to look and feel good but was tired of doing so in such superficial ways.
Over the next few days, I looked at old pictures of myself when I was at my target size and started really basic by finding ways to appreciate and my body. My arms are strong and can lift weight up over my head. My legs get me from one place to another. My stomach is where I digest food to keep me alive. I could at least start there. If I’m not happy with this vehicle that I travel around on Earth with, how can I expect it to work for me?
Once I caught a glimpse of self appreciation and who I wanted to be, I really started to experience a new connection with myself. I’m going to be honest; this did not happen overnight for me. I had abused myself with thoughts and bad food for so long that it took time before I truly found a way to care for myself. I learned one of the best examples to really connect with my body was through yoga and becoming aware of how my body moves in unison with my breath. I watched myself in the mirror as I held a pose, empowering me while building up my strength, stamina, mobility and flexibility. Like strength training, it’s a wonderful way to compare and track your own self progress daily. It felt so great when I was consistent and saw my results. My motivation grew stronger! The game of losing weight is no longer superficial to “look good” for others and all competition and comparisons with others seemed to fall by the way side. I compete with myself daily, weekly or even monthly and that feels terrific when I see the progress. This body is my very own housing and does things that I never thought it could do. Getting out and being active releases all those limitations I thought I had. When I released those types of limitations on the yoga mat, I could release them in all areas of my life.
When I’m feeling tired or sluggish, I now know this is a major disconnect between my soul and my body. I now talk to my body and even my cells kindly, say loving things. (See Dr. Masaru Emoto’s water experiment.) If you really sit and think about how amazing your body is, you will never complain again about your turkey arms when you wave or partake in conversations with other women fighting over who has the biggest thighs or more back fat. These conversations will begin to seem so trivial and dull.
Not that there is anything wrong with trying a few programs to see what works best for you. But stop chasing that fad diet and stop with the 21-day challenges. Start with this mental shift because setting a strong foundation for self-love will guarantee self-respect and discipline. Embody and become that healthy person you wish to be and you will see the magic! That “healthy” person is inside of you waiting to be loved and dying to be heard and live again.