I keep a pad and pen under my nightstand; every morning when I wake up and get out of bed, I write down five things that I am grateful for. It is the way I kickstart my day. The first one I write is always this: I am so happy and grateful for my good health. I used to think that if I practiced good nutrition and diet, got plenty of exercise that included flexibility, endurance, and strength training, and sufficient rest and sleep—I was living the healthy lifestyle. What I didn’t realize is that was only one of three parts that make up a healthy lifestyle.
I am living a healthy lifestyle if I am mentally strong meaning if I have the emotional intelligence to handle challenging emotions in a productive way, possess confidence, and have the ability to embrace change and failure with a positive attitude. I didn’t realize that this was only the second part that makes up a truly healthy lifestyle.
Having those two components was great but to bring real harmony and balance to my life, I needed to include my spirit. What I realized was the more I wanted to reach my full potential, the more I realized that a healthy lifestyle encompasses the synergy between body, mind, and spirit. While being physically healthy and mentally tough is key, nurturing personal growth–the spirit is essential to cultivating a healthy lifestyle.
This last component is important because if one does the work on the inside, what is not working right on the outside will soon fall away. In my experience, those who just can’t get a handle on their weight or the self-talk that is driving them crazy in relation to it–is because of what is going on inside of them. There are self-sabotaging behaviors, limiting beliefs, or paradigms that hold them back from experiencing the essence of their spirit.
For example, Avery has tried for many years to lose weight without lasting success. There is something holding her back from making a breakthrough. She can’t understand why she is so successful in other areas of her life but just can’t manage to get some semblance of control over her weight. As a result, she gets down on herself—mentally beats herself up, gives up, and continues to dive into the refrigerator. What she doesn’t realize is that it is not her fault that she can’t lose the weight. That’s right. She needs to give herself a break. She just doesn’t consciously know what is holding her back; otherwise, she would be doing something to change it, right? Her added pounds are a just a symptom of something much deeper.
Before I go further, coaching is not analyzing or rehashing deep-seated habits or patterns of behavior—that is for therapy or counseling. What a coach does is help the client discover exactly what limiting belief or paradigm is holding the person back and then help to make a plan to break through it. Once uncovering what that is, it isn’t necessary to bring up or regurgitate painful memories and so on. We now know what it is and we go from there moving forward. What we want to do is change the mindset or thought pattern from the destructive, negative thinking or belief and replace it with a new, positive one.
How can Avery do that? First, she had to understand that the habit, pattern, or belief that is holding her back is in the subconscious mind and why she hasn’t changed it. It is simply below the surface. How it got there is for another blog post. Avery came from a negative home environment and wasn’t exposed to a good foundation full of nurturing and love. It was detrimental to her well-being as she grew up. Her needs were not met emotionally, physically, and mentally. As a result, she felt she would feel some semblance of comfort and security when she filled the hole within– with food.
Avery has to learn to understand what situations trigger the behavior, create an awareness of when it is about to happen, and then replace the empty feeling or pattern with a new feeling and thought. For example, when she is in a situation where starts to feel “empty” or “unloved” that is the trigger. She needs to be aware of what triggers the feeling or thought pattern. She then needs to take those feelings/thoughts and change her mindset immediately. She needs to replace the thoughts of craving food to a positive affirmation which is directly opposite.
For example, when the trigger presents itself, Avery could say something like this: “I am so happy and grateful now that I have the strength to overcome comfort eating because gaining love and respect for myself begins with me.”
She needs to repeat this over and over and over. She needs to make copies of the affirmation and put it on the refrigerator, on the mirror in the bathroom, on the dashboard of her car, in her wallet, in her pocket, and on her forehead. (no, just kidding) Eventually, if she repeats this every time the trigger presents itself, eventually she will begin to believe it; and as a result, she will begin to change the neural pathways to the brain. The old thoughts and feelings got there through repetition and through repetition they can be changed. She will begin to believe this affirmation. She will find herself on the road to managing a healthy lifestyle. She will be in harmony with her spirit. It is not easy and it takes discipline, concentration, and an act of will.
The Time Is Now.