Canadians are already bracing themselves for the season of office parties, family dinners and turkey overload. It’s okay to indulge over the holidays, but is weight gain and the ensuing feelings of guilt, frustration and falling self-esteem inevitable?
We can promise ourselves not to over-indulge in Christmas goodies, to regularly go for walks to see the Christmas lights, or to join the gym in January, but changes in what we eat and how we live our lives are not easy. So how can we make our New Year’s health resolution now?
The health industry may do research on how to motivate people to make these changes and conclude that specific outward goals and actions are needed. However, rather than continuing to look towards external stimuli to change behavior, an internal change – in our thinking – may offer a glimpse into how to maintain health and achieve permanent results.
I’m not suggesting that we ignore wise lifestyle choices. But a focus on the ‘outer self’ can lead to constant stress and disappointment.
I am suggesting, rather, that we consciously look at the ‘inner self’ – i.e. how we shape ourselves within our thought.
This worked for a young woman I know. After years of struggling with her weight, she realized that what she had to shed was not pounds, but negative aspects of her personality – anger, judgment, and impatience. She understood from her own reading of the Bible that, to change these negative traits – which she often unleashed on others – she needed re-identify herself as loving and patient.
The Bible points out that identity is more than what the physical senses recognize. It indicates that the real identity of each individual is a reflection of Divine goodness and love. She found a better definition for herself than one focused only on biology when she read that “identity is the reflection of Spirit, the reflection in multifarious forms of the living Principle, Love.”
She thought more about what it meant to be Love’s reflection.
She lost the weight and easily adopted a more balanced lifestyle; but more important to her was the shift in her thinking as the negative personality traits dropped away and she became a more loving and patient person.
Healthy behavior, gained through a change of thought, may not be the kind of evidence readily acceptable to most medical fields. But a challenge the health field faces today is finding successful ways to work with patients who are suffering from illnesses related to being overweight.
Perhaps physicians, dieticians and social welfare organizations might ask this question: Can fundamental change in behavior ever happen – and be sustained – without a change in thought, first?
Identifying ourselves from a purely physical – and therefore limited – point of view may frustrate even the best of lifestyle-change intentions. Identifying ourselves from an unlimited perspective, with qualities and strengths stemming from the one infinite Creator, opens the door to more permanent, healthy changes.
This article was published in several Metroland online site, such as Durham Region