It is no secret that obesity is a huge health problem in this country. Beyond that, many people who are not heavy enough to qualify on the charts as “clinically obese” are walking through life with more pounds on them than supports good health.
Many people have stressful jobs, drink lots of coffee, eat poor quality take-out and processed packaged foods, don’t exercise, and then drink too much wine or beer on weekends to relieve stress.
While they may not yet have health issues as a result of all these “everybody does it” behaviors, others who live and work at their sides are troubled by chronic infections, severe back pain, skin issues, chronic fatigue syndrome, or any one of the hundreds of lifestyle-caused illnesses that plague our nation today.
Years ago now, when I got sick and tired of being sick and tired, and knew that some things had to change, it was some key mindset shifts that opened the doors for me to healthier, happier living.
Consider a few ways that changing my thinking made a big difference for me in my quest for better health and happiness.
7 Mindset Shifts
1. It’s Not the Genetics.
My mother and both grandmothers were both short (5’2”) rather round women. I remember my grandmothers as always being elderly round women, but my mother as one who started out slight and petite, but who put on a lot of weight in her mid-40s. How easy it was for me, then, to tell myself that weight gain in my case was due to my genetics.
The relatively young science of epigenetics shows that genes do not control us. Rather, our behaviors affect our genes. Various studies with identical twins have shown that factors and habits lead to different amounts of weight gain, independent of genetic background. Even if you are genetically predisposed to carry extra fat, you can take action like exercising, eating well, getting adequate rest, and having fulfilling work and friendships. These all have a positive influence on the expression of your genes.
2. Weight is Just a Symptom
Some people have limiting beliefs about themselves. They often feel unworthy, disconnected, empty inside, or just not good enough. Food can become the comfort that temporarily shuts down unwelcome feelings, thereby eliminating the need to confront the feelings and stressors in life.
It’s the willingness to dig deep to find the underlying cause of the distress and address it head-on that’s needed here. A little self-love can go a long way to making better food choices and improved general self-care. Once difficult emotions are dealt with, short-term comfort foods will cease to have their power and better life-choices will be more invitational and rewarding.
3. Healthy Living is Important.
Excess weight and poor health can become catalysts to self-discovery and improvement, and ultimately put you on the road to healthier eating and other activities. I have been a faithful exerciser for years. Lately, yoga and meditation have strengthened my mindset considerably.
4. Raise the Standards
When I am at a healthy weight, feel fit, and like what I am wearing, it is easy to feel good about myself and comfortable in my own skin.
There is some truth to the idea that your body is a direct reflection of your standards. Choosing to feel good and vibrant and energetic is a way to love yourself. Exercising regularly and eating well, then, aren’t about willpower. They are evidence of higher standards.
5. Enjoy the Journey
A pleasant journey will provide better, longer lasting results. Punishing yourself with starvation diets and torturous exercise in the hope of achieving the body you are happy with is simply not sustainable. If you want to have the body you live, begin by appreciating the body you already have.
Daily decisions to love yourself and be happy for this day will lead to greater and greater happiness. Joy and freedom spring from an accumulation of moment to moment choices along the way.
6. Listen to Your Own Motivation Within
Sustainable changes for the long-term come from deep within – not from unrealistically trying to be someone on TV or Instagram. Motivations that spring from aspiration and emotions that are true to you, like wanting to live your life to the fullest, to feel truly free, and to express yourself openly and spontaneously will serve you well. Self-acceptance about where you are in the present moment and determination to become more loving toward yourself has to be the centerpiece of a weight loss program that will take you long into your future.
7. Invite Someone to Accompany You.
This is the most obvious of shameless plugs, no doubt, but I would love to be that person who travels the journey with you as a supportive guide – as a health coach. All efforts to lose weight and otherwise gain a more fulfilling lifestyle can benefit from the knowledge, training, and wisdom of a certified health coach. To learn more about how we might work together click here. And to see what others have said about their health coaching experience, click here
Also, enjoy these related blog posts