Nourish a Grateful Attitude
By Diane Petrella, MSW
If you’re like most dieters, you probably don’t like your body so much. You probably are frustrated and angry with being overweight. But do you realize that criticizing yourself undermines your efforts? Shake that trend with an attitude of gratitude and lose the weight with ease.
How Gratitude Works
Releasing weight requires a calm, peace-filled body. Your body is a living, breathing organism and every cell responds to your thoughts. Various chemicals are released in your body based on how you think and feel. Some of these chemicals enhance a sense of calm and peacefulness while others heighten states of tension and anger.
Your cells understand the message of gratitude. Think of each cell as a tiny representation of your entire body. A lack of gratitude blocks weight loss progress because your body does not respond well when criticized. When you feel thankful, your cells share that joy and transmit chemicals to reinforce that feeling. Being grateful for your body inspires you to eat food more consciously, to value the importance of exercise and to be more self-loving.
You may think that before you can appreciate your body you need to be fit and healthy first. You may think that thin people love their bodies because they are thin. But it’s the other way around. They love and appreciate their bodies first and that appreciation helps them to stay fit and healthy.
Think of it this way. What if you did something positive for someone and at the same time angrily told them “I hate you and I hate doing this for you?” Most likely they’d feel pretty confused and awful. Whatever kindness you did for them would have no meaning. Well, it’s the same with your body. The more you try to eat well, exercise and “do the right things” while telling your body how much you hate it, loathe it and can’t stand to look at it, the more confused your body becomes. What’s a body to do with that message?! Most likely it responds like a confused, angry child and resists giving you what you want. You remain stuck and frustrated that your body isn’t releasing the weight you want to release. But, honestly, can you blame it?
To stop that cycle, be grateful for all your body does for you. Then go a step further and say “Thank you” to your body. Thank your legs for taking you where you want to go, your arms for helping you hold things, your heart for beating, your lungs for breathing, your stomach for digesting your food. Consciously thanking and appreciating your body helps you feel calm and peaceful. Releasing weight from a calm and peaceful body produces better and faster results than trying to release weight from a body that feels criticized.
Practice this simple exercise to become a grateful friend to your body:
- Every day take a few moments and thank your body for all it does for you. Thank your legs, your arms, your heart, your stomach, etc.
- You can either speak silently to yourself, out loud, or write it down on paper. Do what feels most comfortable.
- While you can do this at any time of day it’s most powerful when practiced right before getting out of bed in the morning or right before falling asleep at night.
The November Thanksgiving holiday here in the United States reminds us to give thanks for our blessings. One special blessing is the very body we have been given that carries us through our life journey. Take time this month to give thanks to your body for all it does for you. Your body will appreciate you and you will appreciate the results.
What do you appreciate about your body?
Diane Petrella, MSW is a psychotherapist and life coach. She offers her clients a spiritual approach to weight loss and helps them develop a loving, respectful relationship with their bodies. Receive a free copy of Diane’s Seven Easy & Effortless Weight Loss Secrets by signing up for her monthly e-newsletter, Living Lightly, for spiritual insights and tips to release weight with confidence and love. To contact Diane directly visit her website at www.dianepetrella.com
- Read more about the scientific basis of how gratitude works in Thanks!: How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier by Robert Emmons, a professor at the University of California, Davis and one of the leading scholars in the positive psychology movement.