Whatever motivates you to start on a path of self-improvement is great. Whether for the vanity of having a six-pack or the health goal of lowering your cholesterol, losing weight is never just about weight loss. It’s about losing the limited, old self when you make the decision that you don’t want to be “this way” anymore. You don’t like yourself any longer and you know it’s up to you to decide and follow through. There is an awakening when you know there’s no one to blame but yourself, and no one will do it for you.
But instead of feeling guilty or shameful, you take action. Beginning that endeavor will put you on a path of discomfort because everything is unknown and untested by you. And then you are challenged on many levels: intellectually, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Intellectually your understanding of how to eat the right amount and how your body works physiologically may not be what you learned or practiced in the past. No matter what, science is the most objective measure. Emotions will always drive you toward what’s comfortable and what’s pleasurable. Physically you have to change your behavior in how you eat, exercise and rejuvenate on a daily basis. Spiritually you must awaken to the excess in your life. When you overeat and you feel sick to your stomach or over-exercise and feel pain in your joints that can’t be ignored, you realize how you’re abusing yourself.
So you know you need to change. What is the vision of the new you? You need to delve into the qualities: Agile, flexible, strong, slimmer, pain-free, medication-free, with good posture and full of energy and vitality. And other qualities follow from these: When we’re happy and satisfied, the best version of ourselves, we tend to be kind, patient, engaged, curious, aware, positive and generous.
The whole problem—what prevents us from reaching this state—starts with simple overeating. And this is where we begin. Start eating mindfully, for the future you. You are going to face challenges of how much to eat, when to eat, what to eat, and all the traps and old patterns that lie in wait. The new way you’re eating is going to be your lifestyle. This is why cleanses, fasts, crash diets and extreme ways of losing weights aren’t going to help you in the long run.
The new lifestyle you’re envisioning, The Happy Body Lifestyle, is aligned with nature. The simple rule is enough. There are no forbidden foods, so it’s up to you how you lose weight. If you love chocolate, nuts or wine, or you are a meat lover, vegan, or vegetarian, you learn what works for you. The key is self-control. Like modern stoics, you must practice mindful self-regulation daily.
When you engage with bringing the stoic virtues into your lifestyle, you feel content and fulfilled with meaning and purpose. One year will pass, but how you live it is up to you. To support the vision of the new you, we’ve collected in a new book the precepts we use in our practice that clients have found to be very helpful. The Happy Body Virtues: Daily Practices for the Modern Stoic contains a year’s worth of precepts, along with journal space to work with them so they become lived, applied and real. If you want to accelerate your practice of The Happy Body, get a copy and see what challenges lie ahead for the new you: buy now from Amazon