Weight loss is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions, and generally, after committing to it on January 1st, one of two scenarios occurs. Either your focus starts to lag a few weeks or months in, or, no matter how strong you go at first, you hit a plateau that leaves you feeling frustrated. Either way, you find yourself wondering “How can I finally lose this weight?”
There are lots of answers to this question, and I believe it is different for each person. Proper diet and exercise are of course necessary, as well as good sleep, adequate water intake, a stress management plan, and the desire and ability to maintain consistent habits. But also, there is gratitude. A simple “thank you” can go a long way.
But gratitude for what? Everything! First, gratitude for your body. Yes, you want to lose weight, be stronger, thinner, fitter, healthier, etc. But you have to be grateful for and love your body first. If you don’t, then what is your motivation to take care of it? Your body digests those nutritious foods you will eat, and will allow you to burn calories and build muscle during workouts. It’s a useful practice to thank your body as you are eating and when you are exercising. It really is an amazing thing that it is doing for you!
Research demonstrates the power of gratitude in improving overall mental and emotional health. Gratitude makes you feel happy! David Steindl-Rast said “Happiness is not what makes us grateful. It is gratefulness that makes us Happy.” When it comes to weight loss, happy people have an easier time maintaining the consistent habits necessary to take it off and keep it off.
So how can you practice gratitude? Start small, writing down five things every day that you feel grateful for. It can be as simple as the air you breathe, the fact that you got to work and home safely, the avocado you are eating and all of the nutrition it’s providing you. No matter what it is, acknowledge it, write it down, and feel it. Yes, really feel the gratitude, breathe it in. It makes life worth living.
Is gratitude the end-all, be-all for weight loss? Probably not for most people, but it can definitely help every person to live a more joyful life. So why, not? Just say “thank you.”