Today is the day we dig a little deeper. We are going to look past the superficial, and get right to the point. I invite you to ask yourself a few questions. What do you want to accomplish in your life? Where do you want to be in 5 years? What do you want your family and friends to remember you for? What is life’s purpose? And how does weight loss fit into this series of deep and meaningful questions? This post is going to explore these questions and then look at the relationship between our spiritual health and weight loss… how spiritual health can aid in our weight loss and how weight loss can improve our spiritual health.
Many people have accomplished great things, left great legacies, and lived amazing lives regardless of their weight or physical fitness. Some people are completely unaffected by being overweight and don’t think twice about it. Being at a healthy weight doesn’t magically make everything else in your life perfect. However, if losing weight is something that is constantly hanging over your head, if being overweight is something that causes you to have a lack of confidence and undervalue your skills and abilities, or if being overweight causes you unhappiness that filters into other areas of your life, then you need to lose weight in order to live the best life you possibly can. That best version of our lives is rooted in our spiritual health.
Because our lives ultimately stem from our spiritual health, we are going to explore some of the deeper questions that were posed in the first paragraph. Now, for me, I have a strong faith in God, and I know that when I answer these questions, the answers will look vastly different than how you answer yours regardless of if we share a similar religion or belief. This is because each of us has a drastically different life path and unique set of abilities and aspirations. However, all of us can ask ourselves these questions and think deeply about our life and where we want to take it. I ask most of these questions on my initial questionnaire with clients. It is mostly to help them really dig deep and find what their motivation behind losing weight is. It is also to prompt them to answer some questions they may not have ever answered, may not have answered for awhile, or may have an answer to, but feel very unaligned with. Whether or not you have asked yourself these questions before, I invite you today to dig deep and really examine your life and where you are going.
What do you want to accomplish in your life? Have you thought about this one before? It may not be one thing that you focus on. It can be a career, a relationship (parenting, caregiver for an ailing loved one, etc), a volunteer position, or a number of other positions and roles that may be what you feel called to accomplish. For me, I feel I have a calling to accomplish a few different things in my life: be the best mom, wife, sister, daughter, daughter-in-law, granddaughter, aunt, niece, and friend I possibly can be to those in my life. I also feel the calling to pursue building Wholee Healthy into a company. Furthermore, and most importantly, I feel the calling to spread God’s love to everyone I encounter in life. Now, some of these are pretty vague and some more pointed; however, I also know that my life is not going to play out exactly how I expect. There are numerous circumstances and events that are out of my control. However, having the grounding and direction of a few roles and tasks you want to accomplish in life is important so that you have a goal, a path, and an inspiration.
Where do you want to be in 5 years? For some of us, this might be graduating college and getting a job, for others, living a retired, healthy life. Wherever you are in life, it is always a good idea to have more pointed goals for at least the next few years. By forming these shorter term goals and having a shorter timeline for which you have to accomplish them, you will have more direct tasks you can accomplish and more motivation to drive you towards your goals.
In 5 years, I would love to have two healthy and happy kids, a thriving business, a church I love being actively involved in, be at a healthy weight, and get in plenty of recreational hikes and activities to take up my free time. Again, the health of my family, the ability for me to have another child, and the success of my business will all by out of my control to a degree. However, having these goals helps me to see what steps I can take next to get myself to this “ideal future”. I have the ability to work towards a business, become actively involved in my church, hike, be active, maintain a healthy weight with my food/exercise choices, and choose to find joy and happiness with my family regardless of our circumstances. These are things that I can actively work towards and they give me direction for my daily life.
What do you want your family and friends to remember you for? Let’s say it’s your 90th birthday party. You are surrounded by your loved ones and they are all sharing stories, words of wisdom you passed on to them, and touching moments they shared with you. What do you want to be the underlying theme of all of these recollections? Are you creating these kinds of memories with people in your life right now?
Personally, I have my good days and my bad days. The days that I feel like I’ve failed my family and those that I feel like I’ve got it together. But, it’s the consistency that counts. You’ll have your days and your moments of hardship, but bouncing back and making the most consistent behaviors the right ones is what matters. I want my family and friends to remember me as a woman that made others feel good, that loved without judgement, helped without question, offered sound advice, and had a firm faith in God that showed through in how I spoke, acted, and chose to spend my time. And I want them to feel that my passion for life and positivity was contagious. I want to be an inspiration.
I see it this way: I am economically in roughly the richest 10% of the world with my possessions and incomes, I have a college education, I have no physical ailments, I have a loving family, and I have skills and abilities to offer the world. Even when I feel worthless, have a bad day, or have a setback, I still am sitting in a much better situation than so many in life. I feel it is my duty to utilize the skills, standing, and circumstances that I have been given to brighten the lives of others, to make a difference in their lives, and to spread love and positivity as best I can.
What is life’s purpose? I believe that this question is so deep that I am splitting into two separate sections: 1) What happens to us when our lives on earth end? And 2) Why are we here?
1) What happens to us when our lives on earth end? Honestly, we won’t know for certain until we die. There is no way that we will 100% know the answer to these questions. If you do not have faith, religion, or a belief in God, the answers to these questions may leave you hopeless or even depressed. Others who do not have faith may be at ease with not knowing, they may view it as just a part of life.
For me, I cannot imagine living a life where every time I walk out my front door, I could die in a car accident and that would be it for me forever. We are too intricate of a species in too complex of a world for that to be the end. My faith in God gives me a firm confidence in my answers to these questions, but I have never seen heaven and I didn’t personally witness Jesus’ death and resurrection. That is why it is called faith… being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. I believe that I will go to heaven. I believe I am on this earth to show love to others, to build my character, and to do as much good as possible to make this world a better place before moving on. I love Rick Warren’s take that life on earth is just a dress rehearsal for eternity in heaven. I am at peace with my purpose, my future, and my life. If this sounds like something you’d like to hear more about, let’s discuss it further. Just email me email@example.com .
No matter your beliefs, finding your purpose, feeling at peace with it, and working to honor that purpose every day are key components to living a full life! Which brings us to:
2) Why are we here? This has a few ties to what we want to be remembered for, but there is so much more to it as well. Some believe that we are here by accident; the stars just happened to align. Others believe in Karma, some draw their morals and values from their own experiences and feelings. I truly like to believe we are here for a purpose, a specific reason. Rick Warren and Erik Rees collaborated to write a book called S.H.A.P.E., which I highly recommend. Rick Warren’s podcasts for this very interesting as well! (I found them on Spotify, and they are in video form on YouTube as well) S.H.A.P.E. stands for Spiritual Gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality, and Experiences. It is an excellent guide to finding how your can maximize your skills and talents in your work and life in general. This is a quote from the book by Tom Paterson that I really enjoy:
“The fascinating thing to me is that literally everything God makes is unique- every human, animal, flower, tree, and every blade of grass. He didn’t clone anything. Even identical twins possess their own individual uniqueness. That ought to tell us that our individuality is a sacred trust- and what we do with it is our gift to God… To live without discovering our uniqueness is to not really live. I think God is heartbroken when his children miss out on the potential he has placed inside of them.”’
This is an amazing view on life! But, no matter your views, I think we all can agree that utilizing our unique skills and abilities bring feelings of joy, fulfillment, and peace.
How do you discover these gifts? Ask your loved ones, read or listen to S.H.A.P.E., take online surveys, list things that make you feel energized and excited! These are the skills, abilities, and passions you have as a unique individual. Use them! Also, consider writing a mission statement for your life that you can revisit often to give you guidance and re-energize your passions.
Where does weight loss fit into this series of deep questions? It is hard to accomplish great things, be a great person to those surrounding you, and live out your purpose to its fullest if you have a dark cloud constantly hanging over your head. This is what weight loss is to many of us. It is a barrier that is keeping us from pursuing and experiencing life as deeply as we can. Now, it is definitely not the only barrier that stands in our way. I’m not saying that life once you are at a healthy weight magically becomes all you want it to be and more. However, the discipline you learn in weight loss can be applied to other areas of your life, the feeling of accomplishment will give you confidence to take on other challenges you face, and the elimination of a major stressor in your life will leave you free to pursue new things and live a happier, fuller life. Being successful in one area of life will greatly increase the likelihood that you will also be successful in other areas. If weight loss is an issue that you have been struggling with for years, start by losing weight, and see how that success ripples into every corner of your life.
Not only can weight loss affect your spiritual health and purpose, but your spiritual health can also be a tool you can use in your weight loss process. If you have religion of any kind, most teach that taking care of your physical body is important. Being at a healthy weight, putting food into your body for energy and health, and exercising to help your body work at its peak ability are all ways that you can honor and care for the physical body you have been given. If you aren’t at a healthy weight now, that doesn’t mean you should feel guilty or shameful, but rather take this as another motivator to get your body in the best physical health you can.
In addition to this motivation to take care of yourself, you can also utilize your faith as a means to keep yourself in check and get support throughout your weight loss journey. My prayer to God throughout my weight loss process and even now as I maintain my current weight is to moderate what I eat, keep my physical body healthy so I can exercise, and stay at a healthy weight to honor the body I’ve been given, be a good role model to my daughter, and live a life free of all of the issues that come with being overweight (moodiness, lack of confidence, a multitude of physical health issues including a shorter life span, etc). God wants you to succeed. He is on your side! However, he has given us free will, so it is up to you to make the choice to change.
Whether or not you have a religion or faith, focus again on your answers to the questions I have posed. These answers are your motivation and your “why” for losing weight. Keep these things in mind as you start out your weight loss journey and throughout the whole process. Put them on signs, in your phone as reminders each morning, in your prayers to start each day, on a sticky note in your purse… memorize them, keep them close, make them a part of your inner message, and cement them on your heart. I have noted this in other dimensions as well, but having motivation that is deep and meaningful to you is one of the most important aspects to losing weight and keeping it off.
In summary, ask yourself these important questions. Answer them wholeheartedly. And let these answers be your “why”. If God is in your life, put your trust in Him to help you stay on track. No matter your beliefs, believe this: you can lose weight.
Challenges: If you are currently doing Challenge Your Mind with me for the month of October, I’d love to hear what you’re doing and how it’s going! I can play “Happy Birthday” on the guitar… a little painful, but I’m getting there!
Next Up: How being a Lifelong Learner Improves Your Physical Health and A Holistic Approach to Weight Loss: Improve Your Body, Improve Your Brain
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Also, feel free to email me with suggestions for future challenges, post ideas, questions, or anything else you’d like to chat about: firstname.lastname@example.org
“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”
― Mahatma Gandhi