Healthy Beginnings

Embrace your ‘why’ – consider these 3 things before beginning a new diet

Making health a priority is an act of self-love.

The new year has come and gone, taking with it many of our weight loss resolutions.

If you set out to make big changes, only to wind up disappointed, just know you are not alone.

The number of Americans on a “diet” is staggering, yet the results are non-existent or temporary. So before you try the latest fad, here are three things to consider.

  1. It’s not about motivation:

The moment we decide to make a change is the most committed we will ever be. We may throw out the junk food, only to replace it all a week later; or rush to gym and buy a membership, only to return once we finally admit it’s time to cancel.

The problem with motivation is that it ebbs and flows — none of us can be 100 percent motivated all of the time. In those moments of perceived weakness, desire trumps motivation.

My need to sleep in might be greater than my goal of working out; my need to self-sooth with food can easily surpass my goal of eating clean.

So how do we ever become successful? If you want lasting change, you need to be very clear on your “WHY.” Why do you want to make this change? How will it improve your life and benefit those around you?

Your WHY comes from a loving and compassionate place, a deep desire to live your most authentic and meaningful life.

  1. What we resist persists:

Fighting against our weight, eating habits, body image, etc., keeps us stuck in the same unhappy place. Lasting changes are way more likely to happen when we are kind to ourselves.

Fear and shame are the two most common triggers for emotional eating, so stay committed to being mindful and compassionate throughout the process. Making health a priority is an act of self-love, not another opportunity to beat you up.

When we focus on what we can’t have, we increase our desire for it. And that’s the fundamental problem with diets. Most are restrictive and concentrate on what we are not allowed to eat, rather than telling us what we should.

It’s the basic law of attraction: focus on what you do want rather than what you don’t. Go from “I don’t eat that” to “I only eat clean foods that fuel my body.” And remember, it’s not what you do once in a while that matters, but what you do all the time.

  1. I’ll be happy when:

We do this really messed up thing where we tell ourselves we will be happy once “xyz” happens, and we miss the joy that is available to us right now in this moment.

The real goal should be to stop telling ourselves we can’t be happy unless we lose weight or have the perfect diet, and to love ourselves exactly as we are. Sometimes it might seem impossible, but if you really think about it, the only thing stopping you from loving yourself exactly as you are is the story in your mind.

Research has shown us time and time again that our thoughts are more powerful than we could ever imagine. Like Wayne Dyer says, “What you think about, you bring about.”

If we constantly tell ourselves the story, “I’ll never lose weight,” then that will become our reality. When we believe negative stories about our bodies, or ourselves, no amount of weight loss will ease that pain.

Examine the origins of your negative self-talk as it relates to weight. Maybe it was a parent, an ex, or the mean kid on the playground who told you that you needed to be different or look a certain way.

I encourage you to examine this belief and use Byron Katie’s four questions, which dissolve negative thought patterns. Ask yourself, “Is this really true? How do I know with absolute certainty it’s true? Where did this belief come from? Who would I be without this belief?”

Visualize yourself at optimum health (whatever that looks like) and allow yourself to feel what it would be like to reach that goal. It’s not about a number on the scale, but the feeling you want to create.

Set daily intentions, take a non-judgmental look at where we go astray, and most importantly, remember your WHY.

Jo Harvey Weatherford is the Director of Fitness at Freestyle Martial Arts and Fitness in Northwest Reno, located at 9590 S. McCarran Blvd. in Reno. Check out fsfitness.net for class times and try a free class.