Gail who has been struggling to loose weight for 10 years decided to give Life Coaching a try to help her feel better about herself and to discover new ways to loose those stubborn 25 pounds. Gail had read an article that described how losing weight and finding one’s purpose were connected. Now Gail was intrigued and eager to drop those extra pounds and find more purpose and passion in her life.
Gail spend a lot of time and energy focusing on her weight, on finding the next diet or exercise program that promised rapid results. Like most woman, she found talking about her body made her feel very emotional. Western culture places so much pressure on woman to look good and to keep their youthful appearance instead of honoring the passage of time and the wisdom and soul-beauty that is only earned through living life.
During her first Coaching session, Gail said that she felt so much pressure to lose weight and to fit into a smaller dress size. She felt disappointed with the ways in which her body had changed and no longer looked the way it did in her 20’s and early 30’s. Now in her late 40’s Gail felt like she was on a constant roller coaster ride trying new diets and weight loss pills, hoping to find a solution to a problem that was not going away.
During coaching sessions we discussed how focusing on diet and exercise is important when losing weight but in order to let go of excess pounds and to keep the weight off long-term, it is important to look at what’s going on inside, to delve into the unconscious mind and to become aware of what may be blocking her ability to lose weight. The root of the problem needed to be addressed on a physical, as well as emotional, mental and spiritual level.
Weight loss and self worth are connected and only once Gail understood the connection between her emotions and her weight gain did she begin to notice the surplus weight falling off.
Gail wanted to share her 5 easy steps to weigh less and stress less
1. Realize that when you feel stressed and anxious your cravings for certain foods will increase. Whenever I felt stressed I would reach for sugary foods such as donuts and cookies. I began to notice that I was eating a lot of foods that were high in fat and sugar. I became a more mindful eater and kept a journal tracking how my negative emotions where influencing my inability to lose weight. I was just adding more weight and more stress to my life.
2. Learn the value of self-compassion. Dr. Kristin Neff has done some remarkable research on the power of self-compassion, self-kindness and genuine love for self. She offers a short test on her website that can help you get deliberate about your self-compassion. This short test measures the elements of self-compassion (self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness) and the things that get in the way (self-judgment, isolation, over identification). The self-compassion test and other great resources are available on Dr Neff’s website: www.self-compassion.org
3. Discover your passion. Over the course of my life coaching session with Bridget it became very clear to me that my purpose and weight loss were connected. Feeling lost and empty I filled myself up with food. With some weekly assignments as part of the coaching I started to notice where my passion was, my purpose started to become clearer and the void I had been filling up with sugary foods, is now filled with actions and activities that fuel my soul and bring a greater sense of peace, clarity and satisfaction to my day. Begin to notice what brings joy to your soul and brings a smile to your face!
4. Interestingly enough weight loss is not so much about diets, pills or exercise. It is more about achieving a shift on an energetic level. Weight loss occurred for me when:
- I understood my beliefs and values, and how I could create meaning in my life.
- I empowered myself by acting on what I believed was right; I began to express myself freely, and appreciated myself more.
- Resolved and healed the pain of situations and people that had hurt me
- I started making new choices about the way to relate to people in the NOW so that my relationships bring me joy.
5. As you heal and create a life that is based upon your highest values and beliefs, it is important that you become aware of the people, places and things that may be draining your vital life force energy. I had to look long and hard at what was draining me. I made a note of anything that was draining me. This might be a person that you need to spend less time with or an activity that you need to cut down on. This is about getting clear on what gives you energy/power and what drains your energy and your power. I realized that I was not making enough time during the day to take care of my inner emotions; instead I was so focused on my family and friends and trying to fix their lives. I started to pull my energy back towards myself and focus on what was really important to me, I made time to exercise, to meditate, to cook and prepare healthy meals and snacks. I also carved out time each day to write in my journal as I believe that writing was a great help for me in losing weight and having a safe place to release negative and uncomfortable emotions.
Putting an active self-care routine into place is imperative. It is important that you ensure you don’t burn out or feel overwhelmed. A self-care routine can help you stay on purpose! Know your level of self-compassion (you will discover this by doing Dr Neff’s test.) The kinder and more forgiving you are with yourself, the easier it becomes to make new choices and create a life that supports you. In Gail’s words “My world is expanding as my thighs and butt are shrinking!”