More and more people are realising that diets don’t work and aren’t sustainable long term, and I think that’s great! People are recognising that to sustain long term health and a weight that is natural for their body it must be through lifestyle changes, not a pill, potion or trendy diet. This generally means gravitating towards eating whole foods, making meals from scratch, and choosing to eat out at healthier restaurants as opposed to fast food chains. It also usually includes incorporating some form of exercise into their daily routines.
While I agree that a lifestyle including healthy foods and regular exercise is vital to our health and longevity, there seems to be a piece of the puzzle that a lot of people forget about, or deem less important. Yet to me this piece of the puzzle is crucial!
This puzzle piece is called radical self-care.
Radical self-care doesn’t mean going to the spa every Saturday morning for a massage or having an Epsom salt bath every night with floating candles and rose petals (although how lovely would that be?!). While massages, long baths, pedicures and the like are certainly acts of self-care, for most people it’s unrealistic to do those things on a daily or weekly basis.
Self-care is not always a physically tangible activity. When I think of self-care, I think about the thoughts we meditate on, the influences we feed on, and the way we think and feel about ourselves. The core beliefs we carry about the world, life, and most importantly ourselves are what either empowers or limits our progress in growing each day.
If we constantly meditate on the negative (meaning the thoughts we are repeating over and over in our minds each day) then that will be our reality. If we tell ourselves that we’re stuck and always fail, then we will be stuck and we will always fail. If we feed on gossip, worry about issues that don’t pertain to us and covet everyone else’s “highlight reel” on social media it’s like trying to survive on crumbs. If we tell ourselves that we aren’t enough, that we’re unworthy, or that our body is the wrong shape and size we are only hating on ourselves and promoting a physiological stress response in our body; the optimal state for disease, imbalances in the body and weight gain.
On the other hand, if we meditate on the positive, tell ourselves that we are capable and enough just as we are and feed off the things that encourage and empower us, it will allow us to thrive. If we speak to ourselves the way we’d want our daughters to speak to themselves, or speak to ourselves how we would speak to our best friend, it promotes a physiological relaxation response in our body; the optimal state for digestion, assimilation of nutrients and calorie burning.
If we’re eating the healthiest, freshest and most organic food available and exercising regularly, what good is it if we’re still unhappy and with ourselves? Not to mention that the stress we feed our bodies when we neglect radical self-care as described above only creates disease and imbalances in our physical body that no amount of nutrition or exercise can fix.
So while lifestyle changes are vital for weight loss and long term health and longevity, we cannot underestimate the power our thoughts and self-beliefs have to impact our bodies. Perhaps a final thought to leave you with is that our bodies and minds are not separate; they are one and the same, working together synergistically.