We have all said it. “I’ll be happy when… I lose 10 more pounds … when I fit into those pants … when my body looks like ____ …”. WHEN someday comes are we truly happy? Especially when that WHEN revolves solely around our physical selves? Life never seems to magically fall into place when we reach a goal that focuses on a physical outcome to improve our mental state. There’s nothing wrong with aspiring to be a more healthy you, but setting the benchmarks may put us in a place of WHEN. If we never get there, or even if we do, we may think of something else we need to “truly be happy”.
This unhappiness and cycle of “WHEN” stomps on our path to success when it comes to our goals. We use negative reinforcements and punish ourselves instead of celebrating the amazing beings we are. It’s little wonder that diets fail and we fall into relapse and cycles. Instead of thinking of “going on a diet” as being a negative, we need to begin to look at what we can add to our lives. Our view of dieting tends to be reductive and we’re usually missing something in our life when we decide it’s time for a diet. That could be personal time, eating healthy meals, squeezing in a workout, for example. Why punish yourself by taking away when you really need to add a missing ingredient? Re-focus your energy to find time to nourish ourselves. A diet that ADDS happiness. The end result being gratitude and appreciation for all the good we are.
There are plenty of practitioners and researchers who think this mindset is the missing piece in our lives and our health. There’s an entire field of psychology devoted to finding our happy and being resilient. If we apply the approaches of positive psychology and the research on happiness to our eating and mood, we can ditch the feelings of being unmotivated, feeling hopeless and helpless. A diet of happiness is about boosting your positive energy, your motivation, acknowledging gratitude and being inspired as you work on your goals. And move on to achieving our goals – including goals focused on weight loss – but also those focused on living a great life. A full life. A life that is indulgent in happiness (it’s okay to indulge here!).
My preferred approach to dieting is to include more. That “more” is happiness and mindfulness. If you want to read on the approach, specifically when it comes to food, I recommend these three gems: The How of Happiness, Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life and Mindless Eating. And if you want to know more about adding versus subtracting when it comes to your goals, join the WELL Explains series tomorrow. We’ll be talking about sugar, Sugar!
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