I am beyond pleased to offer you the following excerpt from my new book Missing Peace: Eleven Secrets to Restore Inner Harmony with Your Food, Body, and Health. Please enjoy Missing Peace #10: Live with the End in Mind.
First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.Epictetus
When I ask my clients and audiences why they feel it’s so difficult to change their current lifestyle habits, I usually get answers like “It’s too time consuming” or “I miss my favorite foods.” While these are legitimate, supporting reasons for falling off track, they are not at the core of why we really fail to sustain healthy change.
The real reason we fail is because we continue to make choices as the version of ourselves we are trying to change, the one offering contrast, with high cholesterol and fifty extra pounds to lose. We act as the one who, in the past, chased after good health by seeking it outside of ourselves, in the next diet or exercise program. We aren’t living and making choices as if we already are the picture of perfect health.
In order to change this, we must first change how we see ourselves. In fact, how you treat your body, including what you feed it and whether you exercise or not, is directly related to how you see your body.
If you see your body as fat, unhealthy, gross, or broken, that is exactly how you will treat it. On the other hand, if you see it as a healthy temple, a five-star resort, you will treat it as such.
When I’m approached by someone seeking to lose weight, and they say, “I am so fat and out of shape. I need to lose fifty pounds,” it’s no wonder they haven’t lost any weight or have been unable to maintain a weight loss. They see their body as fat and out of shape, and that’s how they habitually treat it. I can almost guarantee they will never reach their goal; not with that attitude.
Understand that if you remain stuck in what I call “what-is land” and refuse to see yourself as anything but someone who is diabetic, overweight, or whatever your current ailments are, you’ll never be able to make the necessary changes to create this higher vision of yourself—you as a healthy temple, a five-star resort, and so on. You must already see yourself as the temple. You must begin with the desired end in mind and live from that end.
If you always seem to struggle with creating lasting, healthy change, I’d like you to try this exercise:
Look at yourself in the mirror, directly into the eyes staring back at you. What do you see? Who do you see? A tired, worn-out person who is addicted to sugar and processed food? Or a vibrant, healthy individual in love with life, one who makes healthy choices because it makes her feel good? Someone who respects herself and knows she only makes choices to serve her higher self? If you see the former, or any version of the former, that is exactly what you will receive. If, on the other hand, you see that vibrant woman staring back, you will get those results. You become what you think about, so why not think of and see yourself as the product of your desire already manifested?
Today, right this very moment, you are the sum total of all of your past thoughts. So if you aren’t happy with what you’ve been getting, start putting the good stuff in, and make a firm commitment to live from that end. See yourself in the body of your dreams. What does it look and feel like? Once you can see that picture as clear and detailed as your favorite piece of art, it’s time to embody that person and begin making the choices they would make. Even though you may love them, a healthy and vibrant individual would not eat doughnuts for breakfast. It just wouldn’t make sense.
This isn’t a matter of exercising willpower but rather an almost unconscious practice of living with the desired end in mind.
Once you get this down, it’s very important that you believe and feel, with everything you are, that you are already this person. The beauty of this is, the more often you drink the smoothie for breakfast instead of the sugar-laden, overpriced coffee drink with a blueberry muffin on the side, the more your body will crave that smoothie. Remember Missing Peace #4: What You Feed Your Body Most, It Will Crave?
The following is a visualization tool that I’ve developed to help you practice this Missing Peace and live as the end product of your desires.
Sit in a comfortable position, either on the floor on a meditation cushion or in a chair. Maintain a nice tall posture, and close your eyes. Begin breathing normally, paying specific attention to the air as it flows through your nostrils and into your lungs on the inhale, and as it moves out of your lungs and nostrils on the exhale.
Picture a beautiful blue mist, representing the clean, pure air that you breathe. Watch it as it flows in as you take a breath. As you exhale, observe the air as it flows out of your nostrils, only this time, the air is black in color. Inhale pure, clean, healthy thoughts and energy (blue mist), and exhale impurities, stale energy, negative thoughts, and ill-health (black mist).
When thoughts enter your field of awareness, gently acknowledge them and then escort them out of your mind. It helps to imagine these thoughts as if they are sitting on top of beautifully colored leaves in a downward stream. Watch each thought as it is being carried away by the current. Right now, you have no worries. Not a care in the world. You are in a state of infinite possibilities.
As you continue to pay attention to the beautiful blue mist of pure, clean air flowing into your lungs and the black mist as it exits your body, think of an area of your current state of health that you are seeking to change. It could be a food addiction or your blood pressure, body shape, blood sugar, cholesterol, or a specific disease that is currently living in your body. Embrace this situation with love and kindness, and see it in front of you as if it were a separate entity from your physical body. Speak to it. Tell it you appreciate it being part of your life to teach you the lessons that you needed to learn. Express genuine gratitude for it, and then graciously request that it leave your body, your temple. While still focusing on your breath, watch as the condition or situation exits your body, being escorted by the black mist.
Feel into your new body, the temple that now lacks the past condition. See a beautiful sunrise as it makes its appearance in your cells and shines new healing light upon every tissue, vessel, and organ. Feel what it feels like to own this new body, the energy, freedom, and vibrancy you now possess. Continue breathing and focusing on how your body feels in its new skin. As you admire this amazing creation, visualize yourself making a clean, healthy choice at your next meal. Feel the energy as the food you eat begins to break down and flow through your bloodstream, infusing every cell with life, love, and energy, knowing that you were responsible for nourishing your temple with pure goodness.
I can’t emphasize enough the importance of living as the end product of your desire and making choices from this place, as this person. Understand that you are this person. Believe and feel yourself inhabiting this new you. Feel the energy as it courses through your veins. Take a good look in the mirror, and see the new you. The beauty of this visualization meditation is that it allows you to create any picture of yourself that you desire. There are no rules.