What exactly is the Mind-Body connection?
In my opinion, your thoughts determine how you treat yourself. If you have a negative self image you don’t take care of yourself, but a positive one can mean just the opposite. Some say it’s the power of positive thinking or mind over matter, but these proverbs are way too simplistic. I think a positive self image and feeling of self worth are essential to meeting personal health and fitness goals. A negative or defeatist attitude combined with short-term thinking leads to a vicious cycle of self abuse. It often takes the form of yo-yo dieting to meet a goal intended to please others or linked to some one-time event which will soon pass. Until you’re doing this for yourself with no other agenda than to feel and look better, success will only be temporary. Somehow for that one moment in time you will look and feel good about yourself. However, once the wedding is over, people usually go back to their old ways of poor eating habits (emotional eating), limited to no exercise, inadequate rest and little hydration. Thus the cycle of self-hate continues.
What will trigger permanent change?
Well it has to come from within you and no one else. I’ve met so many people who have struggled with weight their entire lives and see no end in sight. This constant battle is a losing proposition. They think it’s all about denying yourself and doing without. By denying oneself the stage is being set to do the exact opposite of what you “think” you should do. This is about recognizing what is good for you and makes you feel better in mind and body.
Many families suffer from weight problems passed down from grandfather to father to son and so on. The excuse is often used that it’s “in the genes” or “that’s just who we are in this family.” It’s as if there’s some outside force controlling them which tells them what to eat and when or not to exercise. If people are raised in an environment where they don’t take care of themselves and the concept of self-care is unheard of, then it’s no wonder that obesity is a global problem. This leads to all sorts of health problems including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and respiratory conditions. By losing the extra weight and keeping it off, the effects of some of these ailments can actually be reversed. However, it won’t happen through self-control or will power. This can only happen through changes in behavior. It’s about not doing what you’ve always done before. It’s about changing lifelong habits which can be done by starting with small steps. Many people have made the conscious decision to transform their bodies by adopting a healthier lifestyle. There are so many positive examples of people who have lost large amounts of weight starting with a few small changes in their daily routine. This builds self-confidence which in turn shows others that it can be done and as they say, seeing is believing. If you can envision it then it can be done. Otherwise, it’s not front and center in your mind and tends to be put off or avoided at all costs.
I believe that the mind-body connection is real and that one’s mood or outlook on life does have an impact on one’s health and wellness. This sense that life is worth living and that everyone is of value and has something positive to contribute is fundamental to this change. Once you believe you can and stop thinking you can’t then a whole new world of possibilities opens up. It’s about taking some small steps and having faith in yourself. It’s not about completing a marathon on day one or even two of the journey. Let’s get real..no one should expect results that quickly. It’s about setting realistic and achievable goals that are within one’s reach. Even if you can only walk for 5 or 10 minutes before being out of breath, it’s a start and it’s alright. The key to success is consistency. The slow and steady approach has worked for me. At first I exercised one or two days a week then every other day and finally every day. It’s a healthy habit that I really enjoy. It’s about making positive changes for a lifetime. The mind-body connection has also made me keenly aware of the signals my body is sending me. In other words when to push and when to take a step back.
Ultimately, a holistic approach is needed that feeds both mind and body in a healthy way. I’ve found that a combination of healthy (pure) food, regular exercise, adequate rest, hydration and stress reduction are all keys to unlock the door to a bright future. Once you embrace the idea that the mind-body connection and this new found knowledge is applied in a positive way, you’re on your way to a better you.
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