Years of experience have led me to understand why intense training or very strict diets don’t work for most people when they want to lose weight. Programs that aren’t reasonable and nourishing can throw your bodies out of homeostasis and damage them.
A loving, caring, conscious approach that works on achieving balance and shaping the way you think about yourself and fitness will result in permanent, positive changes. If you want to make long-term changes, you need to know what got you where you are.
Every single day, you make choices in your life. Every choice you make comes with consequences, short- and long-term. Are you thinking about how your choices will benefit your life short- or long-term? And how do you make those choices? You make them depending on the following:
- How you relate to yourself
- How you relate to others and the world around you
Everything that happened to you in your past shaped the way you think about yourself, the way you relate to yourself and others and where you place yourself in the world. All those will influence the decisions you make in your life. Unless you change your perceptions, you’ll become stuck with the same life experiences.
Choices we made in the past helped us to survive, but they need to shift in our present because they don’t serve us anymore. They only block us in creating positive changes in our lives. After understanding what part of your perception has to shift, you can change your inner core, and you can make your choices from a different perspective.
The only way to get here is by paying attention and slowing down
If your life is too busy and you won’t take time to stop, you’ll never get a chance to see what needs to change. Slow down and put the time into finding out what keeps you unhealthy, unhappy, and out of shape. Pause, create a space to look at your choices from a new perspective, without being judgmental, and learn about them and know why they haven’t served you well.
To find out what is the most out of balance in your life right now, use the list below as a starting point.
- Do you sleep enough? When you don’t sleep enough, your body does not have enough time to repair and restore balance. It affects the way your body functions, it affects your hormones. When you’re exhausted, any attempt you try to eat healthy or exercise can overwhelm you. If you know that you don’t sleep enough, start here before you move on to try to make any other changes.
People who get six hours of sleep per night are 23 percent more likely to be overweight. Get less than four hours of sleep per night and the increased likelihood of being overweight climbs to a staggering 73 percent. That is due in part to the fact that people who get more sleep produce less of a hormone called ghrelin—the ‘hunger hormone,’ which increases our appetite. The sleep-deprived group also had lower levels of the hormone leptin, the ‘satiety hormone,’ which lowers our appetite. In other words, cutting back on sleep is a fantastic way to gain weight. — Arianna Huffington, The Sleep Revolution
- Do you take time to nourish your soul with recreational activities, hobbies? Do you spend time with friends? Believe it or not, it makes a difference. Taking time to recharge is just as important as sleeping. It helps you to feel inspired, keeps your mind and perceptions fresh, gives color to your life and restores and nourishes your body, mind, and soul. Do you have enough downtime? What do you do to recharge your soul?
- Do you eat healthy? Do you exercise? Following a healthy diet and exercising are basic and well-known ingredients for weight loss. It’s important to remember that if your life is already extremely stressed, tense, and anxious, choosing fitness activities that help you to regain your balance are very important. It’s also important to follow a healthy, balanced diet instead of a program that makes you feel deprived. Remember your goal is to find balance not to create more imbalance in your body. The results are sustained energy throughout the day, a strong physical body, the ability to handle stress and a clear mind, to name just a few.
- How well you handle stress? Learning to handle a fast-paced life is necessary today. When you feel stressed, your perceptions change. You can become rigid and your mental state will be fear/anxiety-driven. Having a rigid approach to life keeps you away from positive changes and growth. A rigid mind is an anxious mind, and you can’t experience life openly and joyfully this way. Learning to calm your mind is important today because of uncertainty and information overload. Recognizing, understanding, and learning how to change your mental state will highly benefit your life. Learn relaxation, breathing techniques or meditating to support you with this.
- How do you relate to yourself? Starting a workout program from lack of esteem or self-hatred is not going to benefit you long-term. I hear a lot of people who use self-hatred as their motivation. I don’t agree with it at all. How do you treat something you hate and reject? Do you care for your body when you hate it? No, you’re going to punish yourself, and with that you’ll sabotage your outcome. You don’t have to hate yourself for wanting to change. You just have to know that you’re not at your best in this moment, and that there’s so much more within you. You deserve to have a healthy body; you deserve to feel strong and have a joyful life. There’s a huge difference in the attitude and the energy you project when you think this way. You don’t start taking care of yourself because you’re not good enough; you do it because you’re not willing to settle for anything less than your best.
- How do you handle your emotions and feelings? You’re a human being, and emotions and feelings are a part of your life. Learning how to live with them instead of avoiding them or allowing them to take over your life can help you in your weight loss. Having a balanced emotional state- becoming emotionally fit- is important in making the right choices.
Instead of rushing into a weight loss program, slow down and take your time, evaluate what is most out of balance in your life and start working on that. Exercising and eating healthy right isn’t necessarily the first option. You might have to sleep more or need more downtime to recharge and lower your stress. When those are in balance, it’s much easier to make changes in your diet, and you’ll have more energy to exercise. Make little changes gradually.
Don’t just change your behavior, change your mindset, so all the changes you make will come to you automatically and will come to you without any effort. Weight loss is really about shaping your perceptions to serve your health, healthy weight, and wellbeing. Shifting them and having more balance in your life will automatically help you attain a healthy, fit physique.
A good approach to weight loss is a positive and life-changing experience! Good luck on your weight loss journey and on your self-discovery!