Taking Weight Off Your Shoulders 6/09

June 2009

weightoffsholders

Succeeding in family planning was no accident. It happened because I purposely took that little pill every day. (Don’t tell the Pope.) There was no way I was going to be sloppy about this behavior because the consequences were great. It was important.

If you are struggling with making a change in your behavior, there’s a good chance you haven’t made the change important enough or connected it to what’s important to you. If you’re telling yourself you’re too busy or too tired or too anything, it might just mean you need to dig a little deeper. Perhaps you’ve let your busy-ness become more important than what’s truly important.

Moving past family planning and into family rearing, with the support of my husband I made another important decision. I chose to work part-time over full-time because being with my kids was more important to me than making more money. And I made that decision even before I had children. It was an easy decision, despite the many sacrifices, because family is one of my core values.

Identifying your core values boils down to knowing what’s important to you. Ideally, you act in accordance with your values. Your values become your guiding principles. And when you live this way you have a lot less stress, (which often comes from values conflicts), and a lot more joy and fulfillment.

Let me share a couple of my clients’ stories (their names have been changed) to show you how this works.

In the past, losing weight for my client Laurie was all about focusing on calories in, calories out, like it is for most people. All that has changed since we have been working on Laurie’s life, versus Laurie’s weight. Having identified independence as a core value, Laurie is now making changes from a completely different mindset. Where the real-life threat of diabetes, high blood pressure, fatty liver disease, etc. were never important enough to motivate her to manage her weight, independence is. Laurie lives alone and would like to continue to do so, without having to depend on others to care for her in the future. To Laurie, independence is more important than over-eating. Focusing on independence, versus calories, motivates Laurie to make the necessary changes to lose weight from a much more sustainable and powerful perspective.

Deanna always knew relationships were vitally important to her. Though previous to coaching she had never identified it as a core value. Consequently, when the integrity of a group of key business and personal relationships came into question all at once she was in crisis mode. For Deanna, like many, crisis means emotional eating.

With coaching, Deanna was able to understand the conflict through her values and steer herself through it. She was able to set boundaries to protect and distance herself from the relationships that were having a negative influence. She went from crisis to a position of power, creating both a surge of confidence and a sense of calm.

With this huge weight off her shoulders, Deanna is much better equipped to deal with her physical weight. "I’m realizing the anxiety around food appears when I’m stressed. My emotions can derail my eating. It’s so liberating to know where to invest my time and energy and where I don’t have to invest it. I feel free."

Eating challenges aren’t entirely removed just yet, but it’s so much easier to do the right thing when you’re coming from a place of calm. When the pressure mounts and your hair is on fire, staying focused on your values can take you through the heat. And the heat will be less frequent when you orient your life around your values.

Unplanned pregnancy could be unnecessary stress. And weight on your shoulders could be unnecessary weight.