By Ann Musico
So often people contact me for help losing weight and that is their sole focus. I understand that being overweight impacts a person’s life in so many ways and they naturally tend to see losing that weight as the “answer” to their problem. However, in reality, those extra pounds they carry are simply a symptom – the fruit if you will. Unless they address the root of the problem, the reason they became overweight to begin with, they will never have long term success in reaching and maintaining a healthy weight.
Three of the most overlooked roots are stress, shame and self-image. We are bombarded with stress daily from multiple sources. Physically from injury, illness; environmentally in our foods, water, air; in our thoughts, relationships and emotions as well as in our spirits. Stress is a toxin! Unless it is acknowledged, addressed and resolved in some way, it will cause us to sabotage our best efforts.
Shame keeps us constantly aware of our shortcomings, controlling our lives by keeping us in that negative loop. It tells us this is what we’ve done and who we are and will always be – and that is a lie. One teacher I heard expressed it beautifully – we must become aware of separating our “who” from our “do.” We are human beings, not human “doings.”
A strong sense of self-worth is one of the most important ingredients to a successful life in all areas, including vibrant health. It makes perfect sense that if you don’t feel you’re worthy, you won’t make a consistent effort to take good care of yourself. Self-image powerfully drives your decisions.
So what can you do? Here are three simple things:
First something as simple as taking five quiet minutes for yourself can short-circuit stress. Stop periodically, breathe slowly and deeply and practice gratitude. Studies show even a small action changes your view of yourself and when you feel better, you will be more likely to repeat it.
Then intentionally become aware of your thoughts, which affect your health as powerfully as food, exercise and water. It takes 6-10 seconds for a thought to take root and release chemicals into your body. Keep thinking that thought for 7-10 days and you believe it is truth – whether it is or not! The thought is intensified when you combine it with emotion! Keep a list of your self-talk and then take steps to replace the negative with truth.
Last, something as simple as increasing the amount of clean water you drink improves your ability to process emotions. Spirit, soul and body are all interconnected so you must address all three.
Here’s my takeaway: You are already a success regardless of the number on the scale. Success is the sum of small efforts repeated daily, so with each baby step in the right direction you are building success, not trying to achieve it.
– Ann Musico is a holistic health coach who helps women, at every age, to exemplify lives of vibrant health and wholeness – spirit, soul and body. Her mission is to show women how to adopt a healthy lifestyle in a way that is simple and achievable, empowering them to take responsibility for their own health in order to be a positive influence on their families. You can visit her website at threedimensionalvitality.com There are numerous free resources and you can learn more about her book, Today’s the Day Seven Week Fitness Plan, products and coaching.