“Mindset and attitude are like the filter you put on your glasses as you go through life.” with Becca Clegg and Dr. Marina Kostina

We have the ability to decide the meaning that we give any situation in our life, and trust me, the meaning that we ascribe to any situation creates the way we feel about the situation, which then creates our attitude towards our life. Mindset and attitude are like the filter you put on your glasses […]

We have the ability to decide the meaning that we give any situation in our life, and trust me, the meaning that we ascribe to any situation creates the way we feel about the situation, which then creates our attitude towards our life. Mindset and attitude are like the filter you put on your glasses as you go through life. It can make things look bright and clear, or cloudy and dreary. It is the difference between feeling victimized by life, and feeling as though you are a co-creator of your life. In choosing your mindset, you choose to embrace your capacity to be empowered, and that makes all the difference.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Becca Clegg, Certified Eating Disorder Specialist and Supervisor, Author, Psychotherapist and Speaker. Becca is the Clinical Director of Authentic Living; a private practice specializing in the treatment of women in recovery from eating disorders & body image issues in Atlanta, GA. Becca also writes and presents nationally, educating families, clients and clinicians on the treatment of eating disorders and her book, Ending The Diet Mindset: Reclaim a Balanced and Healthy Relationship With Food and Body Image, aims to help women stop their obsession with weight loss and body image and reclaim a relationship with food and body that is balanced and sustainable.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I’ve been pondering the meaning of things since I can remember remembering. I am what many people refer to as “highly sensitive”. I feel the world around me before my brain even has a chance to decide what it is thinking.

As a child, all these strong feelings with little understanding and no rule book to guide me led to feeling anxious. By the time I was 11, I began to develop dangerous and maladaptive coping strategies that involved obsessive dieting and rigid behaviors with food. This led to an eating disorder.

Luckily for me, this is not where the story ends. This is actually where it begins. I was extremely fortunate, as I had the support and love of a wise tribe around me. My path of reconnection and recovery led me back to a deeper connection with myself and has truly been one of the most meaningful experiences of my life thus far. I knew early on that when I was fully recovered, I wanted to make meaning of my experience by helping others who were struggling with similar issues.

What does it mean for you to live “on purpose”? Can you explain? How can one achieve that?

Living “on purpose”, for me, means choosing the meaning that you give any given situation. We cannot always choose what happens to us as we navigate our lives, but we can choose how we view what happens. This is choosing your mindset.

We have the ability to decide the meaning that we give any situation in our life, and trust me, the meaning that we ascribe to any situation creates the way we feel about the situation, which then creates our attitude towards our life. Mindset and attitude are like the filter you put on your glasses as you go through life. It can make things look bright and clear, or cloudy and dreary. It is the difference between feeling victimized by life, and feeling as though you are a co-creator of your life. In choosing your mindset, you choose to embrace your capacity to be empowered, and that makes all the difference.

Do you have an example or story in your own life of how your pain helped to guide you to finding your life’s purpose?

My career path has been directly influenced by a painful experience, my own journey of dealing with and healing my own eating disorder. I am grateful to say I am fully recovered, but the process of moving beyond an eating disorder and into full recovery is full of twists and turns, many of which are painful to manage.

I believe that because I have directly experienced living through an eating disorder, it gives me insight into how to help others who are struggling with their own eating issues. While every person’s journey is unique, the experience of my own recovery has afforded me, if nothing else, the empathy to be able to sit with people who are struggling with their own eating disorders today. I knew early on in my own recovery process that when I was well, I wanted to make meaning of my experience and use it to help others who were struggling with their own pain. I was probably about 18 when this became a passion of mine, and here I am at 42 having just written a book that I hope will help women everywhere who are struggling with their relationship with food and body image.

The United States is currently rated at #18 in the World Happiness Report. Can you share a few reasons why you think the ranking is so low?

I think my vantage point as a therapist gives me insight into how our culture affects the happiness of our people. What I see every day is the effects of our cultural obsession on “doing” over “being”.

Our culture is very focused on external success and reward. We emphasize the outcome of our behavior over the experience of the behavior itself almost a hundred percent of the time. So, for example, if someone is learning to play an instrument, we determine our “success” as whether or not we play a song correctly, or well, instead of focusing on a more subjective measure of “success”, such as whether or not playing the instrument brought you joy, happiness, peace, or made you content in any way. We are so busy trying to accomplish, accumulate and advance that we have forgotten how to simply “be” with our self, and receive the happiness that life is giving us in each given moment.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

Well, I definitely like to believe that I have been able to help the people I have worked with as a therapist over the past 15 years. I built my private practice specifically to be able to offer the type of care and intervention that I felt was necessary for true recovery. Last year, when I published my first book, I did so with the intention of bringing the wisdom I’ve learned to a broader audience, one that might not be able to access therapy or perhaps is hesitant to seek help. I could not have done this had I not worked so hard to create a thriving business that supported me when I was writing and publishing.

What are your 6 strategies to help you face your day with exuberance, “Joie De Vivre” and a “ravenous thirst for life”? Can you please give a story or example for each?

1. Practice Gratitude:

Gratitude is the inner-critic’s kryptonite. Gratitude destroys the power of the inner-critic the minute gratitude enters your mind. You cannot focus on being grateful for something and also be worrying or listening to the inner critic at the same time.

It is like turning on a light when you enter a dark room — the minute you flip the switch, there is no more darkness. I try to keep my eyes closed as I awake and embrace that small moment before I enter into my day. I simply say “thank you for allowing me to wake up and bringing me back to my life” and in doing so set the tone for being grateful for whatever unfolds, no matter what that might be.

2. “Worry” About Good Things:

We all have the capacity to focus on and worry about all the things that could go wrong in any given day. We’ve all been there and know how awful that feels. But have you ever stopped to think that if worrying about what can go wrong is possible, then worrying about what can go right must also be possible too?

When I wake up, I try to remember to tell myself, “Today, countless amazing things are possible”.

I play a game with myself where I am trying to count at least three wonderful surprises that each day is going to bring me. I promise, if you are watching, you will find them.

Yesterday, my husband won $500 on a scratch off lottery ticket. He never could have predicted that would happen when he woke up, but never the less, it came to pass yesterday. Some days, my wins are more simple, like the kindness of a stranger, or the opportunity to help someone I wasn’t expecting. Big or small, however, if you train your mind to be “worrying” about the good that will happen, each day can begin with the excited anticipation that we used to feel when we were kids waking up on our birthdays or a holiday when someone was going to give us a surprise present.

3. Dance and Sing:

I learned this trick pretty recently, and it has been making a huge impact on what kind of energy and mood I start my day with. At a retreat a few years back, we studied the impact of movement and vibration on mood. When we move, (i.e. dancing in this case), we increase our energy. Our bodies awaken, and as a result, our moods tend to up-regulate.

In addition to dancing, singing out loud creates a vibrational experience similar to chanting, and the energy necessary to belt a high chord, along with the deep breathing required to do so, all serves to awaken the body and mind as well. In the mornings, I have a play list that I play while I get ready and I sing and dance my way into a better feeling start to my day.

4. Prioritize Your Sleep:

I learned early on in my life that sleep was the foundation for everything else. Your mindset, your attitude, your physical and emotional wellbeing all rests on the foundation of good sleep.

My friends will attest that I make a point of going to bed pretty early, even leaving social events and making plans around making sure I am getting to sleep at a decent hour, because I value my sleep above all else.

5. Be Intentional With Mindset:

No matter how much work I do around mindset and self-care, I too am human. Some days are better than others, and I am in no way impervious to negative thinking and dread around things that are difficult in life.

If I notice I wake up with these types of thoughts, I pay extra attention to my inner self-talk and the stories I am telling myself about why and how “things” are not going to go well. Thanks to years of practicing this type of awareness, I am now in the habit of automatically reframing these thoughts and seeking a more balanced perspective.

A thought such as “I have a ten hour work day ahead of me and that is going to be exhausting” gets reframed as “I am lucky to have a busy practice, which is something I have worked hard to create and at the end of the day, I will get all the rest I need and my bed is going to feel amazing”. I’m not Polly Anna, but I do try to seek the middle ground, as there is always a pro and a con to most things.

6. Wake Up Early:

I find that if I wake up early, I am able to embrace the quiet, empty space that only the early morning seems to provide. Those moments before it is light outside, before the traffic starts and the hustle and bustle of city life (I live in an urban environment) are some of my most productive and clarity producing moments of the day. I look forward to the early morning hours, and notice that other people who seem to be focused on living a life of purpose all seem to say the same thing about waking up early in the morning. There must be something to it!

Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources that most inspired you to live with a thirst for life?

The work of Dr. Wayne Dyer was fundamental to my growth as a human and as a young therapist. His insight and wisdom helped guide me in so many ways as I developed my own mindsets and has informed the way I look at the world. “Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life” was one of my very favorite books by Wayne Dyer.

I use the app, InsightTimer, to meditate and practice mindfulness. It has great, diverse content, and allows you to try a variety of different types of meditation and mindfulness exercises, so you are always learning.

I also love the work of Brene Brown and Elizabeth Gilbert. Both women have a way of looking at the world through a lens of balance that invites me to remember my own humanity in all things I do. If ever I fall prey to perfectionism or criticism, any of their books instantly help me realign with a more balanced perspective. I follow their social media feeds as a way of staying current with them, and believe me, the wisdom both writers can convey through something as seemingly simple as an Instagram post is nothing short of awesome.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” that relates to having a Joie De Vivre? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“When the map and the road no longer meet, be careful which one you follow” — Anonymous

I first found this quote in a small and unassuming book entitled, “Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart: Thirty True Things You Need to Know Now”. It has stayed with me in a profound way ever since I came across it. In essence, it is a reminder for me embrace what is happening in the moment, rather than clinging to my idea of what ‘should’ be happening. I find this is how I can be fully present in my life, and truly be awake for moments and experiences of Joie De Vivre. If I can be determined to “bloom where I am planted” and make the most of where I am and what is in front of me, then I am able to meet life on life’s terms, and avoid the suffering that is inevitable in resisting what is.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

I am, yes. I am developing an online program that will act as a ‘deeper dive’ opportunity for those who have read my book and want to learn more about creating a balanced and healthy relationship with food and body image. I am hoping that this resource will provide the help and support to those who want to continue their own journey of wellness and recovery on their own time, outside of therapy or treatment, and also be an adjunct resource for those who might not be able to access a higher level of treatment. My long-term goal is to use the technology available to us to help bring resources to a broader scope of people.

My business partner and I are also developing groups and online training programs for other therapists. We are teaching therapists how to develop and grow successful practices so that they can go out into the world and help countless others. I truly believe that in teaching other therapists and healers how to create thriving businesses, I am helping to empower the healers of tomorrow, and that feels like a bigger long-term strategy than simply focusing on my own work.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I have spent most of my career working with women on women’s issues. Because of this, helping to empower women holds a special place in my heart. I would want to create a movement in which women came together to help tear down the cultural tendency to criticize and compete with each other. When we as women come together and embrace our capacity to nurture and support and collaborate, we have the opportunity to create exponential growth for one another.

We are not in competition with one another, and yet, sadly, this is what we see happening in our culture. Be it our beauty standards, that are unhealthy and lacking in diversity, or the “mean girl” tendencies that seem to develop in adolescence, we as women seem to unconsciously divide ourselves when this is in opposition to how we can be most empowered. I would create a movement of “stronger together” where women can shift from being afraid to seeing the power of connection and community.

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...


Grit, The Most Overlooked Ingredient of Success: “Employ Compassion and Patience” With Becca Clegg, Certified Eating Disorder Specialist and Supervisor and Phil Laboon

by Phil La Duke

Becca Clegg: “Practice the Golden Rule”

by Ben Ari

6 Most Common Mindset Traps and How To Avoid Them

by Mindset Mentor | Michelle McClintock

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.