Forgive Yourself and Lose Weight.

Love-Yourself-FirstToday’s guest post is by Davey Wavey’s good friend and spiritual weight release coach, Diane Petrella. Diane is also one of the contributors to The Davey Wavey Weight Loss Program.

Your relationship with your body is one of the most important relationships that you’ll ever have. And I’m going to share the number-one thing you can do to honor that relationship and create permanent, lasting results.

Forgive yourself.

Yes… this might sound simple, but if you’re like so many on a weight-loss journey, you can be relentless when it comes to self-criticism and contempt for yourself and your body. When you let go of the guilt and shame about how you look or how you’ve treated your body, you enter a world of love and positivity that helps you create the healthy body you want and deserve.

A self-forgiving state of mind helps you more easily release negative judgments of yourself. You’re then less likely to act on those feelings by hurting yourself and your body. You’ll naturally want to take better care of your body. You see, when you learn to love yourself unconditionally and forgive yourself more readily, you’re likely to eat healthier foods, give your body the movement it needs, and talk to yourself with greater compassion.

On the other hand, when your body is filled with the poisonous energies of self-contempt (and I know you have experienced times like this), you’re more likely to turn to food for comfort or self-punishment. The negative feelings can quickly lead to a very old and familiar sense of being out of control or a victim.

As you begin to develop the habit of self-forgiveness you will notice significant changes in your physical health and in your ability to no longer rely on food for comfort. And when you feel that love for yourself and your body, you might, for example, be less likely to skip Zumba class in order to head right home after work and watch TV.

So, how do you forgive yourself?

It takes patience and persistence. Here are three heart-based exercises to help you open to the healing power of self-forgiveness, love yourself more and bring peace to your mind.

1. Be Willing to Forgive Yourself

Self-forgiveness starts with a willingness to release guilt, shame and self-hatred. Open the space for this healing energy to enter your mind and body by setting the intention to do so.

Simply say to yourself right now: “I want to forgive myself.”

Additionally, write these words down on paper several times:

“I want to forgive myself. I want to love myself fully and treat myself with loving kindness.”

This may seem like a very simple process. It is. Don’t equate simple with ineffective. A sincere and deliberate intention to stop berating yourself, and to forgive yourself when you do, helps you take charge of your life, feel less like a victim, and stop the cycle of emotional eating.

2. Wrap Negative Thoughts in Love

We all fall into old patterns. So the next time you slip back into less than healthy eating or exercise habits and berate yourself with unkind words, turn to your heart for comfort.

For example, instead of dwelling on those negative thoughts and feelings, remind yourself you can stop. Take a deep breath. Then, focus your attention on your heart and at the same time think of a beautiful memory or someone you love. I learned this exercise from the Institute of HeartMath and it helps you feel calm very quickly. Then, say this affirmation to yourself or out loud while keeping your attention on your heart:

“I release these thoughts and feelings (or shame and guilt, etc.) into the arms of Love and I open to loving and forgiving myself.”

Directing your attention to your heart infuses your words with calming, heart-based energy. It is as if you are wrapping your self-contempt in a blanket of love.

3. Connect to Your Heart, Literally

Become quiet. Place your hand on your heart. Feel your heart beat. Now, while keeping your hand on your heart, say to yourself:

“I totally and completely love and accept myself with all my problems and all my limitations.”

Feel into this process. Repeat several times daily.

This exercise helps you connect with the loving energy of your heart. Your heart doesn’t judge you for overeating or for talking harshly to yourself. It simply keeps beating on. Feel that beautiful, consistent heartbeat and know that you are loved by the pure energy within it.

Practice the above steps faithfully and you’ll begin to create a lightness of spirit within you.

Be patient and have faith. Over time you’ll notice that the love you give to yourself on the inside will be reflected in the ways you care for yourself and look and feel on the outside.

Will you practice self-forgiveness?

14 Healthy Tips – Not About Food Or Exercise.

Today’s guest post is by Davey Wavey’s good friend and spiritual weight release coach, Diane Petrella. Diane is also one of the contributors to The Davey Wavey Weight Loss Program.

bigstock-young-handsome-man-doing-yoga-28364720Happy New Year! Instead of making challenging resolutions (like losing those last 10 pounds or getting up for the gym every morning at 5:30 a.m.), I recommend starting the new year with a re-commitment to your overall health and fitness.

In honor of 2014, here are 14 of my favorite ways to recommit—that have nothing to do with eating and working out. Because while good nutrition and exercise are important, equally important are coping with stress to curb emotional eating, staying mentally focused on what you want to achieve, becoming spiritually grounded to trust yourself, and last but definitely not least, using the power of your mind to follow through.

1. Choose a theme for the year.

A theme (such as patience, forgiveness, courage, etc.) guides your growth and progress through the coming year. It becomes the lens through which you make choices. 

For example, if your theme for 2014 is self-compassion, think how you will bring self-compassion to your weight loss journey every day. If your theme is health-first, how does that affect your daily habits. See what I mean?

2. Ground yourself.

Breathing is one of the most powerful ways to manage stress and emotional eating triggers. Here’s an easy and effective technique called “Four-Step Breathing”:

Slowly take in a deep breath as you silently count to four.
Hold the breath for four counts.
Slowly release the breath as you silently count to four.
Hold again for four counts. 
Repeat several times.

3. Choose your words wisely.

Eliminate the following from your vocabulary: Try, should, can’t. These disempowering words add struggle to your weight-loss journey and weaken your confidence. For example:

Change: “I’ll try to take a walk today” to “I will (or, I won’t) take a walk today.”
Change: “I should eat a salad” to “It’s good for me to eat a salad.”
Change: “I can’t exercise this week” to “I choose not to exercise this week.”

In the long run, being positive and honest with yourself keeps you strong.

4. Use the power of your imagination.

Success is first created in the mind. Take five minutes every day to visualize what it looks and feels like to release the next five pounds. Or imagine yourself reaching your goal weight. Especially important is capturing the feeling associated with what you’re visualizing. This inner work ensures the outer work of your actions take hold.

5. Create your reality.

Don’t listen to those who say weight loss is “hard” and difficult.” Remember, the quality of your thoughts create the quality of your journey, so if you believe it will be hard, it will be.

 Choose to believe this instead:

“I reach my weight loss goals with ease and grace.”

Similarly, move from thinking you’re someone who “struggles” to lose weight, to believing you’re someone who is becoming thinner and fit. This simple mind shift makes a big difference.

6. Plant your intentions everywhere.

When setting passwords for sites or accounts you frequently access, choose words or phrases that inspire you and reflect goals you want to reach. For example:

Iluvmybody
Iweigh__lbs (insert desired weight)
Iamhealthy

You type these every day, right? So, instead of the same old password, each time you write these you affirm your intention to release weight and live a healthy lifestyle.

7. Stop complaining.

It can be tempting, but don’t join others in negative conversations about how “hard” it is to lose weight, how “bad” your body looks, or how “awful” it is to get older. These conversations poison your mind and body, shake your confidence and will become your reality unless you do not to participate in such talk.

8. Choose whether you “release” or “lose” weight.

I like to say “release” weight rather than “lose” weight—and people often ask me why. Practice this exercise to find out:

Get quiet. Close your eyes. Say to yourself a few times:
“I want to lose weight.” Notice the sensations in your body.
Clear that thought and then say to yourself,
“I want to release weight.”
Again, notice what that feels like. Open your eyes.

What did you notice? Many people feel a sense of lightness with “release” and some tension with “lose.” What did you experience?

9. Start a success journal.

Keep a notebook by your bed. Before going to sleep, write your answers to this question:

“What steps did I take today to care for my mind, body and spirit?

For example:

“I parked away from the store entrance to walk farther.”
“I didn’t beat myself up for overeating at lunch.”
“I took ‘Me’ time to read an inspirational book.”

Writing in your success journal trains your mind and brain to scan your experiences and find the healthy choices you’re making. Your attention shifts away from looking only at what’s “not working” to notice what’s going well. Your memory becomes imprinted with images of taking good care of yourself, inspiring you to keep moving forward.

10. Affirm good health.

Within your body and soul you already possess perfect health, unwavering strength, and profound wisdom. Affirmations help you to believe this on a deep level. Repeat these affirmations daily to call forth what’s already there:

“I am healthy. I am strong. I am wise.”

11. Embrace what feels hard.

Sometimes the most important thing to do feels like the hardest thing to do, especially when releasing weight. For example:

When you’re upset with yourself for overeating, speak to yourself with compassion.
When you feel demoralized about the time it’s taking to release weight, be patient.
When you feel shame toward your body, send it love.

Hard doesn’t mean impossible. It starts with a willingness to do what feels hard until it becomes easy.

12. Make it easy.

If you’ve learned to “reward” yourself for “good behavior,” or give yourself a treat for doing something challenging, this may feel counter-intuitive, but…

Start to take your accomplishments in stride. For example, after eating healthfully for a few days or exercising after work, respond as if this were a common occurrence. Say to yourself, “that felt so good” or “that was easy.” In this way you’re creating an inner vision of new habits being something you do naturally and easily rather some extra-special feat. Over time this outlook helps you weave new behaviors into your life as the normal course of events.

13. Ask your body what it needs.

Take some time today—every day—to get quiet, go within and ask your body what it needs from you. For example, close your eyes and draw your attention inward. Take a few breaths to settle yourself. Then, ask your body:

“What do you need today so you will feel loved and well-cared for?”

Listen and follow through with what you hear. Take that relaxing bath. Get up and go for that walk. Guidance that emerges from your body wisdom is more important than any information you’ll find elsewhere.

14. Think into the future.

Ask yourself:  “How do I want to feel one hour (or one day) from now?”

This powerful question helps you anticipate the results of your choices, guiding you to choose wisely. For example, before entering a food-challenging situation, imagine how you want to feel as you drive home. Taking a moment to close your eyes and visualize your desired result, and the feeling attached to that result, energetically aligns your mind and body to help you make choices that move you in that direction.

So, no matter how you feel right now and no matter what happened with your weight over the holidays, use one or all of these mind-power tips to recommit to your weight-loss journey. What is important is this present moment and the choices you make today. As Abraham Lincoln said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” Here’s to creating a healthier you in 2014!

Be Grateful (Not Hateful) To Your Body!

Today’s guest post is by Davey Wavey’s good friend and spiritual weight release coach, Diane Petrella. Diane is also one of the contributors to The Davey Wavey Weight Loss Program.

gratefulIf you’re like most people struggling with their weight, you probably don’t like your body so much. You hate looking in the mirror. Getting dressed makes you frustrated and angry. And your thoughts toward your body are anything but loving.

You know how lousy those thoughts make you feel, but do you realize that criticizing yourself actually undermines your weight loss efforts, too?

Try replacing even a bit of that self-criticism with an attitude of gratitude and start losing the weight with ease.

Here’s How It Works:

In order to release weight your body needs to be calm and peace-filled. And your body is a living, breathing organism whose every cell responds to your thoughts. Based on how you think and feel, your body releases various chemicals. Some of these chemicals enhance a sense of calm and peacefulness while others heighten states of tension and anger. (Plus we all know how quickly those particular emotions can derail a healthy eating plan.)

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 feel that joy and transmit chemicals to reinforce that feeling. Think about that warm feeling you get when you receive a thank you card…  Or when someone takes the time to appreciate something you did for them. Your cells understand the message of gratitude, too.

When you’re expressing gratitude for your body you naturally eat more consciously, honor your exercise time and generally act more loving toward your self.

Start Now, Start Small

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.

It’s actually the other way around. People who release weight successfully and permanently learned to love and appreciate their bodies first and it’s that appreciation that helps them to stay fit and healthy.

It sounds challenging—especially if you have years of self-criticism (and extra weight) under your belt. 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. So you remain stuck and frustrated that your body isn’t releasing the weight you want to release. But, honestly, can you blame it?

Got Gratitude? Great—Now Go Deeper

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. And calm and peaceful bodies release weight more readily than bodies that are criticized and loathed.

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 any time, it’s a powerful way to begin and end your day when practiced right before getting out of bed in the morning or right before falling asleep at night.

As the holiday season approaches, we’re reminded to give thanks for the blessings in our life. And one special, but often taken for granted, blessing is the very body we have been given to carry us through our life journey. Take time this month, and always, to give thanks to your body, your beautiful partner in life, for all it does for you.

Your body will appreciate you—and you will appreciate the results.

Lose Weight With A Success Journal!

Product photographyToday’s guest post is by Davey Wavey’s good friend and spiritual weight release coach, Diane Petrella. Diane is also one of the contributors to The Davey Wavey Weight Loss Program.

Do you ever get discouraged about your weight loss progress? Do you worry your efforts aren’t good enough? If you lose sight of the steps you’re actually taking, this simple and powerful tool can help bolster your confidence. Keep track of your progress with a success journal so you remain committed and positive when self-doubt gets in the way.

What is a Success Journal?

A success journal is a daily recording of all the steps you’ve taken to treat yourself with love and respect. Permanent weight loss isn’t just about the food you eat. It’s about how you treat yourself on all levels. Recording these positive steps helps you stay connected with your overall progress. You simply take a moment to reflect as you answer this question:

“What did I do today to take good care of my mind, body and spirit?

For example:

“I took the stairs instead of the elevator at work. I’m happy I did that.”
“I ate way too many cookies after lunch but I didn’t beat myself up. I let it go.”
“I took “me” time and read passages from an inspirational book. It relaxed me.”

Every positive step you take brings you closer to reaching your goal weight. Recording even seemingly small steps, like parking away from the store entrance so you walk farther, helps you appreciate all your efforts and validates your progress. Ultimately, those small steps become new habits and create permanent lifestyle change.

A Success Journal Improves your Mindset

Positive psychology research emphasizes the value of acknowledging steps you take toward reaching a goal. When you routinely make a point of noticing, and appreciating, the positive changes you’re making, you begin to re-program your mind. Your attention shifts away from looking only at what’s “not working” to more easily notice what’s going well.

You see what you look for. If you doubt you’ll reach your weight loss goal, you’ll find evidence that you’re not making progress. You may undervalue the positive steps you’re actually making. Recording daily successes helps you notice those steps.

Keeping a success journal isn’t just a “feel good” exercise, although it will help you feel good. It works because you train your mind and brain to scan your experiences and find the healthy choices you’re making. Your memory becomes imprinted with images of taking good care of yourself. This gives you strength.

Here are three ways using a success journal can support your weight loss journey:

1. Build Confidence

When you record your successes, you honor their importance and you honor you. It’s great to hear positive feedback from others, but the greatest confidence builder is being your own best cheerleader. Keeping a success journal helps you do that.

2. Feel Inspired

Recording your successes keeps you emotionally connected to them. As you write each entry in your success journal, take a moment to praise yourself. This is important because the good feelings you have about your actions inspire you to keep moving forward.

3. Stay on Track

If you feel discouraged, a success journal can lift your spirits. For instance, reading past entries reminds you of all your successes and what you’re capable of. This helps you renew your commitment to living a healthy lifestyle. Or, simply writing an affirmation such as, “I am patient and gentle with myself as I release weight with confidence and love” may be all you need to soothe your spirit and get back on track after a difficult day.

Begin Today

Buy a beautiful notebook. Set aside a few moments each day to record at least three positive steps you took to nourish your mind, body and spirit. If this feels daunting, remember this includes even those small but important things you tend to overlook. Did you walk past the candy bowl at the office? Did you take a walk after work? Write it down. You can write in your success journal any time of day, but doing it right before bedtime helps you go to sleep in a positive frame of mind.

Recording your successes builds your self-worth and strengthens your determination. Your improved mindset supports you to keep moving forward as you release weight with pride and confidence.

Break Up With Your Trigger Foods!

Today’s guest post is by Davey Wavey’s good friend and spiritual weight release coach, Diane Petrella. Diane is also one of the contributors to The Davey Wavey Weight Loss Program.

Trigger-Foods-Hooked-on-certain-foodsDo cakes, ice cream, or chips hold power over you? Once you start eating them, is it hard to stop? Do attempts to enjoy just a single bite result in guilt-ridden overeating episodes?

It may be time to say good-bye to this love-hate relationship.

Get Very Honest with Yourself

When you enjoy the foods you want in moderation, you don’t need to set limits because you do so automatically. If you feel guilty even when you eat balanced amounts of certain foods, it’s possible to release self-judgment and enjoy what you want. But if you find you can’t eat certain foods in moderation no matter what you do, then maybe it’s time to try a different approach and just say, “No.”

“But I deserve to eat what I want!

Of course you do. But when you emotionally struggle with a certain food, it’s not about the food at all. Deep inside there’s a part of you that doesn’t yet feel deserving to give to yourself in a healthy way. It’s not the food you deserve; what you deserve is your own love.

“But I don’t want to deny myself!”

Well…why not? When you deny yourself something that hurts you, you ultimately give yourself inner peace and good health. Don’t give food that power over you, when the power you need to find is within you.

Some say the more we can’t have something, the more we want it. But that’s only true if you believe that to be true. You can choose to believe that not having what hurts you, frees you.

If you attempt to mindfully eat a trigger food before you’ve learned to fill yourself up with your own strength, you may be setting yourself up to fail. But try it. If it works for you, go forward in moderation. If it doesn’t and you cannot stop overeating that particular food, remember that it’s not your fault and it has nothing to do with will power. You’re trying to tame something that has power over you and that’s not easy.

But it is possible.

Set Clear Food Boundaries

Compulsive behaviors sometimes need black and white parameters until you develop the inner resources and fortitude to manage the gray. For example, to admit you’re powerless over a certain food, as an alcoholic is powerless over liquor, or a compulsive shopper is powerless over a credit card, is to embrace your own power. To feel grounded, the alcoholic stays away from bars, the compulsive shopper cuts up their credit cards, and the person who cannot limit chocolate cake, stays away from it. Setting a super-clear boundary provides a helpful structure. When you stop grappling with a force larger than yourself, you discover your own strength.

Eventually, the alcoholic can safely enter a bar without drinking, the compulsive shopper can hit the mall without overspending, and you can enjoy a piece of cake without over-eating.

This is because when you keep trigger foods out of your home, stop ordering them at restaurants and avoid them at parties, you release the grip they hold on you. Your struggle ends when you stop trying to manage these foods and take charge by deciding, “Enough.”

Be aware that you may experience resistance at first. But it likely isn’t about the food. Chances are you’re resisting experiencing feelings the food helped you avoid. When this happens, find ways to soothe yourself–writing in a journal, talking with a friend, or listening to calming music.

If you’re ready to release the grip trigger foods hold over you, reflect on this affirmation:

“I love myself and my body too much to give my power over to that food.”

What matters most is your emotional and physical health. When you mindfully choose yourself over food, you let go of the struggle and rest peacefully in your own strength.

Your thoughts?

Will you break up with your trigger foods?

How Your Subconscious Mind Sabotages Weight Loss.

C2CAA889-979E-BACC-B8467A9CA1C4FA51_1

Today’s guest post is by Davey Wavey’s good friend and spiritual weight release coach, Diane Petrella. Diane is also one of the contributors to The Davey Wavey Weight Loss Program.

Early in our lives we’re “programmed” with certain beliefs that shape us. For example, if you were praised and supported as a child, you most likely developed a sense of confidence. But if you were repeatedly ridiculed, especially about your weight, deep down you may feel unworthy. This belief may erode your confidence even as you strive to do all the right things to lose weight.

When there is something you desire, but can’t seem to make happen—like losing those last 20 pounds, for example—chances are your subconscious, hidden beliefs are blocking you. Your conscious mind is like the tip of an iceberg. It’s visible and obvious. From this place your desire is clear: “I want to lose weight.”

Your subconscious mind, however, is the mass of ice below, hidden beneath the surface.  It carries beliefs rooted in your past and is much more powerful than the small tip above. To permanently lose weight, your conscious and subconscious minds must agree. For example, if your subconscious mind says, “I’m a failure,” your journey may feel hard. But if your subconscious mind says, “I’m worthy and capable of reaching my weight loss goal,” you most likely will.

Meet Alice

Overweight since childhood, Alice wanted to lose 50 pounds. She believed her weight was the reason she couldn’t meet another man after her divorce. She and her ex-husband were childhood sweethearts and now that she was older, she believed no one would want to date her.

Whenever Alice attempted to improve her lifestyle habits to lose weight, she stopped eating healthfully. This pattern continued for several months, even as she earnestly wanted to become thinner. Because she understood the power of her beliefs, she examined what kept getting in her way. Alice discovered contradictory beliefs that sabotaged her progress.

On one level, Alice wanted to lose weight. But on a deeper level, she feared men wouldn’t want to date her even when she was thinner. She often said, “Who would want someone like me?” Staying overweight paradoxically offered Alice both hope and protection—hope that “someday” she’d meet a man when she was thinner but also protection from being rejected by men when she was thinner.

What a double bind!

Alice’s Strategy

Alice reached her goal weight, and while she hasn’t yet begun dating, the confidence and self-assurance she feels makes that less of a priority.  Here are the steps Alice took to release negative and contradictory beliefs that held her back:

Positive Affirmations
Alice strengthened her self-talk by frequently repeating these affirmations to herself: “I am loveable,” “I am worthy,” “I am beautiful.”

Thought Stopping
Whenever Alice became afraid or thought she was unworthy of being loved, she deliberately stopped herself. She took several deep breaths to calm her body and then said to herself, “This thought is not a fact. It’s just a belief I’ve had for a long time. I choose to let it go.”

Visualization
Every day Alice used visualization to imagine herself five pounds lighter. Once she reached that goal, she’d imagine herself five more pounds lighter, and so on. Visualizing small steps helped Alice slowly adjust to changes in her body and feel less afraid of reaching her goal weight.

Emotional Freedom Technique
Alice used an energy psychology technique called EFT or Tapping to help eliminate her limiting belief of “I’m not worthy.” Considered a cousin to acupuncture, EFT is a process of using your fingertips to tap on certain energy meridian pathways on your body. EFT has been shown to be very effective with helping to eliminate limiting beliefs as well as anxiety, fears, and other psychological blocks.

Support
Besides counseling, Alice routinely interacted on Calorie Count’s on-line forums and sought additional support through Overeaters Anonymous. These resources helped her feel less isolated and offered her much needed encouragement.

It’s not your fault if you’re having a hard time losing weight if you don’t even know what hidden obstacles are blocking you. But if you want to reach your goal, it’s up to you to find out. As Alice did, learn to identify limiting beliefs and remove the emotional obstacles that keep you stuck. Doing so will not only help you release weight with greater ease, your results most likely will be permanent.

The “Beach Body” Alternative!

Today’s guest post is by Davey Wavey’s good friend and spiritual weight release coach, Diane Petrella. Diane is also one of the contributors to The Davey Wavey Weight Loss Program.

beach-body-04-mike-sorrentinoOver the past few months you’ve probably seen articles urging you to scramble and get “beach body ready” for summer. While this may appeal to the desire to comfortably wear bathing suits, shorts, and sleeveless clothes, it misses the mark.

Fitness is for all season long, not just for summer. Wearing fewer clothes in hot weather can feel intimidating enough to those who already lack confidence with their bodies.

I have an alternative.

Instead of fretting about having the perfect “beach body”, how about making friends with your body all year long? Here are five promises to make to your body this summer… and to keep forever:

1. I promise to speak to you kindly.
(No self-criticism.)

Negative thoughts create stress in your body. Loving thoughts heal. When you catch yourself saying you look “awful” or you “hate” your body, simply notice without judgment, and say to that thought, “OK, here you are again.” Take a deep breath. Exhale that negative energy. Then say to your body, “I’m sorry for talking to you this way”. Forgive yourself and move on. Stay determined. Changing habits of thought take time. By creating a space of love and forgiveness, the cycle of negativity eventually stops.

2.  I promise to accept you the way you are and hold you with pride.
(Head held high; shoulders back.)

Accepting your body doesn’t mean you settle for being at a weight you’re uncomfortable with. It means you support your body and pledge to take good care of it. One way to show your support is to hold good posture and carry your body with self-respect. If you feel insecure about your body, this may feel unnatural at first. That’s OK. Practice anyway because research shows that when you straighten your posture, you also improve your mood. Add a smile to your face and the feel good hormones in your body come alive. Your body does a lot for you. Acknowledge its gifts by carrying it with dignity and respect.

3. I promise to nourish my body with healthy food and movement.
(And not so healthy food in moderation.)

You already know the importance of healthy nutrition and exercise, right? But sometimes your fear mind may try to sabotage you by ruminating on foods you’re “not supposed to eat.” And while you know you “should” exercise, you may struggle to follow though. Here’s a tip to help transform healthy behaviors into a daily habit. After doing something that typically feels challenging, say to yourself, “That was easy.” For example, say this after eating a wholesome meal and enjoying dessert in moderation or after taking a morning walk before work.  Saying “that was easy” helps encourage new habits because your brain links to “easy”, creating a positive association to something that previously felt difficult.

4. I promise to attend to our soul.
(Activities that calm my mind and bring joy to my heart.)

It’s vital to your health and well-being that you nurture yourself with soul enriching activities that relax your body, rest your mind, and fill your heart with joy. This peaceful state activates healing energies in your body to relieve stress and helps liberate you from relying on food for emotional comfort. Commit to daily “me” time to do those things that bring you inner peace. For example, read an inspiring book, work a craft project, meditate, pray, walk in nature, write in a journal, etc. Discover what makes your heart sing and your whole body will respond with loving appreciation.

5. I promise to go within and ask you what you need.
(Together we’re a blessed team.)

While it’s important to educate yourself from sources that you trust, only you and your body know what’s best for you. Learn to listen to your intuition and body wisdom so you can access this powerful guidance. Every morning take a few moments to be silent and go within. Ask your body, “What do you need from me today so you will feel loved and well-cared for?” Then, honor what you hear and let the whispers of your body light your way.

As you disregard the “beach body” mentality, you’ll discover what matters most about this beautiful partnership with your body. And to help you keep your five promises, be sure to make this important promise to yourself:

“I promise to forgive myself for the times I stumble. I’m human and I’m doing the best I can.”

Will you make these promises to your body?

A Dark Secret Behind Weight Loss.

sad-alone-boyToday’s guest post is by Davey Wavey’s good friend and spiritual weight release coach, Diane Petrella. Diane is also one of the contributors to The Davey Wavey Weight Loss Program.

Were you sexually abused as a child or teen? Do you struggle to lose weight as an adult? If this applies to you, you’re not alone. Sexual abuse is a hidden secret behind weight loss difficulty for many people. While rarely discussed, without this information even the most well-intentioned weight loss advice falls short. But once you understand the deep connection between sexual abuse and carrying extra weight, you’re no longer held back by experiences from your past. Releasing weight can begin to feel more manageable and feeling confident about your body becomes possible.

Studies show that one in four women and one in six men have experienced some form of sexual molestation before the age of eighteen. Depending on the level of the trauma experienced, it’s not unusual for a child victim to later struggle with addictions, poor body image, eating disorders and obesity.

Barbara’s Story

Obese most of her life, Barbara worked with a dietician to help her lose weight for good. She learned about eating healthfully and mindfully, began an exercise program, and took steps to improve her lifestyle. Whenever she made progress, however, her motivation waned. Rather than feel excited about weighing less, she felt a vague discomfort. Anxiety set in. She felt vulnerable and used food to cope. Realizing emotional issues blocked her client’s progress, Barbara’s dietician referred her for counseling.

In our first session, I learned that Barbara’s grandfather sexually abused her for years during her childhood and adolescence. Her weight gain, as well as turning to food when depressed and lonely, began during that time. It became clear that exercise and nutritional guidance alone were no match for the monstrous weight of underlying fear, anger, and shame that Barbara held deep inside.

A Confusing Paradox

Barbara wanted to be thinner but the frightened child inside her didn’t. While Barbara was afraid she’d never lose weight, her subconscious mind was afraid she would.

Let me explain. On a subconscious level excess weight offers emotional protection from unwanted sexual advances. For example, Barbara wanted a thinner body but felt safe in a large one. She often said, “When I get thinner, men notice me and you know what that means.” She associated being thin with being sexually vulnerable even though, on a conscious level, she desperately wanted to lose weight. Once Barbara understood how the sexual abuse trauma she experienced influenced her weight loss attempts, she felt liberated. She then embarked on a journey that not only helped her come to terms with what happened to her as a child, she began to love her body for the first time in her life.

The subconscious fear of unwanted sexual advances is but one aspect of how childhood sexual abuse creates obstacles to successful weight loss in adulthood. Other issues include compulsive overeating to cope with overwhelming feelings and memories, shame about being abused which exacerbates shame about being overweight, and feeling disconnected from one’s body.

Here are five strategies that helped Barbara begin her new path. Perhaps they will help you, too:

  1. Safety First: It’s essential that your home and work environments feel safe. Before embarking on your weight loss journey, seek help to resolve or leave any physically or emotionally abusive relationships. You can’t help your “inner child” feel safe if you’re not safe.
  2. Visualize Small Steps: As you release weight, subtle insecurities may develop, especially in summer months when wearing fewer clothes. Underlying fears about being thin may make it hard to even imagine yourself at your ideal weight. That’s OK. Use visualization to see yourself three to five pounds lighter, then three to five pounds lighter after that. Develop safety in your imagination first to help you feel safe in your body later.
  3. Take Yoga Classes: Because your body was the object of abuse, experiencing body image issues or feelings of disconnection from your body, is common. Yoga is a gentle and powerful way to help you feel more connected with your body. Over time, as you develop confidence with your body, underlying fears about releasing weight begin to lessen and distorted images about your body begin to improve.
  4. Nurture Your Soul: Trauma leaves behind so much internal chaos, that it’s often hard to trust your intuition. Spend time each day, even ten minutes, to do something calming that soothes and grounds you. Whether you listen to soft music, read inspirational articles, or write in a journal, create a daily habit of reflective “me” time to quiet your mind and nurture your soul. This helps you hear the whispers of your own authentic voice guiding you along your journey.
  5. Get Support: Don’t travel this road alone. Seek out support from a trusted friend or relative. Talk to a professional who can assist you in ways your friends cannot. To find a psychotherapist in your local area, use this therapist finder tool at Psychology Today.

It’s not easy to have a history of sexual abuse and be struggling with weight loss at the same time… but healing does happen. Other people, including Barbara, have overcome these issues and also reached their weight loss goals. With the right approach and support, you will, too.

How to Lose Weight with Forgiveness.

Today’s guest post is by Davey Wavey’s good friend and spiritual weight release coach, Diane Petrella. Diane is also one of the contributors to The Davey Wavey Weight Loss Program.

Forgive-yourselfIf you’ve struggled with your weight for a very long time, the solution probably lies not in finding the right diet or exercise. Been there, done that, right? Unless medical concerns affect your weight, chances are you’re using food to quell your feelings. If you can relate to this, have faith. Nourish your mind and body with a diet of forgiveness and release your pain along with the pounds.

Free Yourself

While seemingly unrelated on the surface, a lack of forgiveness for self and others is sometimes related to emotional eating and to achieving permanent weight loss. Here’s why:

When you’re struggling with energy draining emotions of guilt, shame, anger and resentment, it’s important to acknowledge these feelings and find ways to safely experience and release them. The problem comes from never letting them go and using food to cope. When they build up for a long time, they stay stored in your body. As you carry the weight of heavy feelings in your heart, you carry the weight of excess pounds on your body.

Forgiveness calms your emotions, releases anger from your mind and body, and transforms resentment into acceptance. You literally lighten your mind and body with a calming energy that sets you free. For example, when you forgive yourself for overeating, overeating claims less power over you. This helps you stop the cycle because self-forgiveness eliminates guilt and shame that perpetuate emotional eating. When you forgive others, you emotionally free yourself from them and their behavior. You no longer feel triggered because you stop ruminating about what hurt you.

Meet Charlene

Charlene struggled with emotional eating for many years. It intensified during her difficult divorce and she gained weight in the process. Filled with anger and resentment, contact with her ex-husband often prompted an impulsive urge to overeat. She felt guilty after binging and blamed him for her behavior, often saying, “He makes me so mad I can’t help myself!”

Charlene initially recoiled at my suggestion to forgive her ex-husband. While she knew there was a connection between reacting to her ex-husband and overeating, she wanted tools to stop her behavior. While coping strategies helped, they only addressed what was happening on the surface. Opening her heart to forgiveness helped Charlene on a deeper level and offered a lasting solution.

While Charlene still feels triggered at times, food no longer holds the power it once did. “I didn’t speak with my ex-husband directly, but after I forgave him in my heart, I felt free. I then realized I needed to forgive others from my past.  When I was a child, food was the only way I knew how to deal with anger and sadness. Now that I see the freedom in forgiveness, I want to be a more forgiving person and stop hurting myself with food. Living a healthy lifestyle is easier now. And I’m finally losing weight in the process.”

How to Forgive

Forgiveness doesn’t always come easily, especially in a society often intent on revenge. It may feel hard at first and it takes time, but you can become a more forgiving person simply by being willing to be so. It takes commitment and persistence. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you excuse others’ bad behavior or that you stop taking responsibility for your own. Forgiveness is about your state of mind and heart. It’s a gift to others, but mostly, it’s the gift of inner peace to yourself.

Here’s a simple release and forgiveness affirmation to help with emotional eating.

When you’re upset with someone and you feel the urge to eat, pause for a few moments, breathe and say to yourself or write down, “I release these feelings (or, this anger, resentment, etc.) and choose to no longer hold onto this pain. I release this for my highest good as I forgive _____(specific person) or, all involved in this situation, and allow the healing power of forgiveness to soothe my heart.” Even if it doesn’t seem to make a difference right away, you’re creating space between the urge to eat and eating. Adding forgiveness to this space helps liberate you to make a different choice.

Accepting Your Body = Weight Loss?

Today’s guest post is by Davey Wavey’s good friend and spiritual weight release coach, Diane Petrella. Diane is also one of the contributors to The Davey Wavey Weight Loss Program.

iambeautiful_kindovermatterDo you know how to make your weight loss journey easier?

Accept your body the way it is.

When you criticize and rebel against your body, you remain stuck. Losing weight feels draining and frustrating. When you accept your body the way it is, you paradoxically free yourself to release weight more easily.

Honor Your Body

Acceptance means honoring your body just the way it is right now, with no judgment. This concept may seem confusing at first. You may believe that accepting your body and current weight means you don’t want to be thinner. Perhaps you reject this idea and think, “I don’t want to accept my body – that‘s why I want to lose weight!” But it’s just the opposite. Accepting your body as it is today helps you become thinner in a more loving and easier way.

End the Battle

Remember this: What you resist persists. When you berate yourself for being overweight or feel embarrassed about your dress size, you battle with yourself. This stops you from making progress. Your thoughts and attention remain negatively focused on where you are, rather than eagerly anticipating where you want to go. Think of this car analogy. Losing weight while continuing to be upset with your body is like keeping your foot on both the gas and brake pedal. You’re not going anywhere. Release the brake and your attachment to self-punishing thinking and you move freely to your destination.

Whatever you focus your attention on grows. So when you condemn yourself and your body, your condemnation grows. This poisonous mind-set often results in self-sabotaging behaviors. For example, disappointment for not yet being a dress size smaller potentially leads to emotional eating. When you accept your body no matter what, you still may feel disappointment but with acceptance you quickly regain momentum.

Keep a Positive Mind-Set

What you weigh now is irrelevant. It carries no power over you unless you give it negative attention. Action follows thought. If you feel discouraged about being overweight, chances are your actions reflect thoughts of defeat rather than thoughts of success. When you steadfastly keep your attention on becoming thinner and accept your body the way it is, your thoughts remain positive. You keep moving forward.

Take Charge

Even if you understand the importance of acceptance, you may wonder, “But how do I get there?” It begins with making a conscious decision to take charge of your self-talk. Catch yourself when you’re critical of your body. Tell yourself to stop speaking that way. Each time critical thoughts enter your mind, apologize to your body (would you want someone to talk to you this way?) and shift to something positive, like the image of someone you love or a beautiful memory. Persistently do this as often as necessary. Practice makes permanent.

Here’s a fun and powerful exercise to help you get started:

Write a love letter to your body.

Give yourself quiet, reflective time in a comfortable space. While relaxed, write a loving letter of acceptance to your body. For example, tell your body you’re committed to take very good care of it. Thank your body for all the ways it serves you. Apologize to your body for times you may have neglected, abused or criticized it. If you love your body, say so. If it’s hard to love and accept your body right now, that’s OK. Tell your body you want to love and accept it. Your intention is very powerful and opens a pathway to inspire you to treat your body more lovingly. Write freely and from your heart. In closing, let your body know you’re doing the best you can to honor its needs.

On an energy level, your relationship with your body is as real as any relationship you have with a person. Writing a letter to your body helps you strengthen this relationship so you feel more connected with, and more accepting of, your body. The more you accept your body just the way it is today, the easier it is to release weight with greater confidence and self-love.