Don’t Start A Diet - Start A Lifestyle
by Jeanne Rhodes
Changing to a healthy lifestyle does not have to be like climbing Mount Everest! It’s much more about practicing choices that allow us to receive what we desire. Some of us deny our own heart’s desire and put everyone else’s first. It is written, “Love your neighbor AS yourself,” not “Love your neighbor INSTEAD of yourself.”
If your deepest desire is losing weight to become slim and healthy, a focus on love and respect will assure the lifestyle changes you need to make.
For example, a client of mine wanted to lose one hundred pounds. And yet all I heard him talk about was, “I have to eat lettuce and celery sticks; I have to cut back on the amount of food I eat; I have to, I have to, I have to.” His statements revealed a great deal of fear and resentment. In reality we don’t “HAVE TO” do anything other than live and die. There’s an inner part of us that always wants to say no to any “have to” statements. So, he ate punitive diet food and went hungry during the week. But when the weekend came he would pig out on all the chips, fries, cakes, and burgers he could possibly hold. He played this little game with himself over and over again, becoming more and more fearful and more and more depressed.
I suggested that he support his dreams more lovingly. Instead of having to give up fatty foods, wouldn’t he love to have the experience of eating foods that tasted good, made him feel good and eat enough that he wasn’t hungry all the time? Could he focus on loving the things that made him thrive and look good? We worked together to find as many ways as possible to love and support himself and his dream.
His eating habits began to change but the exercise was another story. He knew exercise was necessary but he was back to the “I have to” mode of thinking. So, I asked him to forget the word exercise and think about what he would like to do that would involve moving his body. As it happens, he had been a champion collegiate tennis player during his college years and he had a real passion for the game. He could no longer play because of his weight. So, together we set up a beginning point of five minutes twice a day for him to begin practicing some very easy tennis skills. In a very short period of time, he was able to increase his time at tennis and began feeling very encouraged about his progress.
Gradually his focus on self loathing and punitive, restrictive food choices gave way to a more loving focus as he began choosing strawberries over cheesecake, tea over hot chocolate, and fish instead of 14 oz. steaks. He focused on how good these foods made him feel and look as well as how good he felt as his tennis skills gradually returned and little by little his lifestyle changes become choices instead of “have to’s.”
Needless to say, he reached his desired goal and is a much happier, healthier individual. He is quite a recreational athlete these days not only with his tennis and running but he has become quite an excellent skier also!
Choosing to work with love takes a look at how much you want to succeed. When you work with love, the process becomes easier, more graceful, and more energized. Choosing to work with love recognizes your spiritual worth and it acknowledges that for every success you have in the world you become an example to others of their self-worth. Choosing to support your dream with love is the most attractive principle you can exercise!
Rhodes, B.A., M.A., is a Nutritionist, Wellness Lifestyle Strategist, Author, and Director of Rhodes Preventive Health Institute in Hagerstown.