Love Yourself and Lose Weight
We all know the secrets to successful weight loss. Eat fewer calories than your body expends on a daily basis. There are only a few ways to do this. Eat less. Exercise more. You can go on a strict diet, counting every calorie, depriving yourself of food, and making yourself miserable. You could try extreme exercise, getting up early, working out hard, making your body sweat and ache with all the new activity. Before you begin torturing yourself with deprivation or crazy workouts, I would like to suggest that weight loss doesn't begin with knowledge, but with wisdom.
Weight loss doesn't begin with your body, it begins with your brain.
For years, many of us have yo-yoed, not just with weight, but how we feel about ourselves. One day we love the way we look, we feel great, and our esteem is buoyed. The next day, we feel like a beached whale, unable to move, hating ourselves for lack of control. It's hard to say, when you get up in the morning, which person will greet you: the confident, happy person who can resist temptation, who works out, and who smiles throughout the day, or the unhappy, overweight grouch who lacks self control and eats every doughnut, piece of candy and fried food within a twenty mile radius.
Who you wake up with determines how you will spend the rest of your day, and who you wake up with depends a lot on who you went to bed with. How you spend the evening, before retiring has a lot to do with the quality of your sleep and you general outlook the following day. If you spend the evening before bed relaxing quietly with a book, meditating and calming your mind, chances are you will sleep peacefully and awaken feeling refreshed. On the other hand, if you spend the hours before bed trolling the internet and staying up later than you planned, you might find your sleep interrupted with bad dreams, and an unsettled mind.
When you wake up feeling rested and peaceful, the day begins brighter and you usually feel more confident as you head into life. If you didn't sleep well and are as tired when you wake up as you were when you went to bed, then you may have a harder go of it.
Don't despair, however. A bad night's sleep doesn't have to mean your day and your outlook will be terrible. Before getting out of bed each morning, take a moment to pause and reflect on the beauty of your life. Even if you are running late, you still have time to take a few deep breaths, express gratitude for your life, and bring your mind to a peaceful place.
Don't underestimate the importance of prayer or meditation for self-acceptance. When we spend time in the evening meditating or praying, it calms the mind, relaxes the body and prepares us for rest. In the morning, a few minutes of mindful breathing, praying, meditating and stretching prepares the mind and the body for the day at hand, and helps center us and give us the confidence we need to face the day.
It's time to stop the cycle of hating/loving ourselves, and take a kinder approach, to self acceptance and to weight loss.
Begin by accepting yourself exactly where you are. This does not mean giving up and being fat forever. Today, you are what you are. Hating yourself, or the image you have of your body will not change it today. Just for today, love yourself exactly where you are.
You are a perfectly designed and created being. There is nothing to dislike about who and what you are. The first step is to love yourself today, without regard to your physical form. You are exactly what you are right now. Hating yourself or hating your body only sets you up for failure, unhappiness and disappointment.
Take a deep breath and close your eyes. Focus on your breathing. Appreciate the fact that you can breathe. As you bring awareness into your body, notice what feels good in your body, and what needs special attention. Whether the pain and discomfort are physical or emotional, it is okay to notice them, acknowledge them, feel them and then release them.
Tightness in your chest? Bring your attention there. Why is your chest hurting? Did you do a hard cardiovascular workout? Or is your heart aching from an emotional hurt that you have yet to process? Stay with it, feel it and let it be okay. Your stomach aches? Is it because of something you ate or because of something you said?
With your eyes closed, bring awareness and compassion to each part of your body. Breathe deeply, relax any tension you have, and allow yourself to feel what is going on inside.
Often times, our weight is directly related to unmet emotional needs. When we begin paying attention to what is going on within our physical body and emotional body, when we acknowledge that we are safe and whole, then we can begin to release the stress that causes to gain weight.
Loving and accepting yourself
As you begin loving yourself, think of things you can do to appreciate your body today. Instead of saying to yourself, "I hate my big butt", you could say, "Thank you, legs for being strong and carrying me around all day."
Rub your feet, and thank them for bearing the load. Brush your hair and thank it for growing. As you wash your body in the shower, thank it for getting you through this day. Appreciate your body for what it is, and how it serves you.
An ancient Ayurveda technique called self massage can help you learn to love and accept yourself. According to the Chopra Center, the practice of anointing oneself with oil is similar to being saturated with love. It gives a feeling of warmth, safety and being loved. In addition, it balances the doshas, increases longevity, and enhances your general well being.
Self massage takes about 15-20 minutes. Begin by warming almond oil, sesame oil, coconut oil or any other oil you like. You can warm it in a mug, and this will be about the right amount of oil for your massage.
Begin at the crown of your head, and work outward with circular strokes. Spend a few minutes massaging your scalp. Then move on to your face, brow, cheeks, ears and neck. Make sure to work in upward circles, and don't forget to massage the ears and lobes. They are important.
When you massage your limbs, always work toward the heart, and use long strokes. At the joints, such as the elbows and knees, pay special attention with circular strokes.
Massage the abdomen and chest in broad, clockwise, circular motions. On the abdomen, follow the path of the large intestine; moving up on the right side of the abdomen, then across, then down on the left side.
Finish your massage by concentrating on your feet. They are important nerve centers for the entire body. After your massage, allow the oil to soak into your skin for 15-20 minutes. Then enjoy a warm bath or shower to rinse the oil from the skin. Gently blot your body with a towel, rather than vigorously rubbing it, when you are finished.
This practice will help you nourish yourself physically and mentally.
Nourish yourself with massage
As you begin to change your mindset and love yourself, you will want to take better care of your body. You will realize that a few minutes of movement today is better than the no movement of yesterday. Your body will thank you as you begin to take care of it, and as you improve your relationship with your body, you will have a more positive outlook in general.
You don't have to get crazy with the exercise and diet, but as you begin to take care of yourself, respect yourself and acknowledge your emotions, your body will relax and release the fear that causes weight to cling to your frame. When you realize on a deep level that you are safe and loved, your body will begin to release the protective covering of weight.
Loving yourself means doing things that are good for you. I love myself enough to eat oatmeal for breakfast. A doughnut would surely taste better, but I love myself. I know the sugar will give me a headache. The oil in the doughnut will stick to my teeth and tongue, and be a reminder all morning of the poor choice I made. The grease will sit like a lump in my stomach. This doesn't mean I will never eat a doughnut. I will be more careful in my food choices. I love myself enough to make wise food choices most of the time, and to not beat myself up when I choose to eat something not as healthy. Poor food choices don't define who I am. In the moment, it was a choice I made. I can enjoy a candy bar or a piece of cake, and then move on. I don't need to dwell on a single mistake.
When I go out with my girlfriends, I would like to drink a rum and coke. So I do. I know that if I have more than that, I will have a headache, I won't sleep well, and I will beat myself up tomorrow. So I enjoy one drink, I enjoy my friends, and I love myself. I try not to wake up tomorrow hating myself for what I've done. Or, I realize that what I enjoy is spending time with my friends, and I don't need to drink alcohol in order to have fun. I can choose to forgo drinking alcohol and still have a wonderful time. Life is about making good choices and accepting the decisions we make.
So what if you overindulge? You cannot change what you have already done. What you can do is love yourself today. Take care of yourself today. Just get through today, loving the body that you live in now. Don't beat yourself up about yesterday, you cannot erase it. Do not fret about tomorrow, it isn't here yet. Today, love yourself enough to take care of yourself.
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