This post first appeared on Thyroid Truths.
Over the coming months I will be adding to this blog series on “How to Lose Weight while Living with Hypothyroidism”. Before I get into the dietary guidelines, the focused exercises and the key foods, there is a very important step that needs to be addressed for optimal results.
Begin to Learn to Love Yourself
You may look at that above statement and groan, and I’ll admit the “self-love” movement has become such a buzzword over the last few years that its true intention may have gotten lost in the sensation.
But in order to heal, to be our best selves, we need to truly and deeply care for ourselves.
What does it mean to love yourself?
It means to begin to make a commitment to be kind to yourself. To show yourself compassion. To begin to really care for your body like you love it, and feed your body the foods you would feed anyone else that you deeply cared for and loved.
Modern medicine has now accepted the long known Eastern practice of “mind-body medicine”- the idea that thoughts (and our mental state) can affect our physical well-being. If we constantly put ourselves down when we look in the mirror, tell ourselves that we are too big, or not good enough, this can subconsciously begin to affect our physical state. Some of you may be aware of the saying “thoughts become things- choose the good ones!” Not to mention, the added stress we place on ourselves is not beneficial for the thyroid.
So how do we begin to love ourselves? It’s a process. Dr. Habib Sadeghi, co-founder of Be Hive Healing in LA, published an amazing book titled “Within: A Spiritual Awakening to Love and Weight Loss” that offers some great insights and guidance on learning to love ourselves. My dear friend and colleague Dr. Maryska Taylor also focuses a great deal on self-love in her medical practice and she offers up some great blog posts on her website like this one.
If we truly commit to loving our bodies, even as they are today, it is amazing how our actions towards our bodies can change. In fact, research has shown that when patients begin to enhance their feelings of self-worth and increased confidence, weight loss becomes more sustainable.
3 simple steps for begin self-love
1. Make friends with the person in the mirror. Look at your reflection and be nice! If negative or mean thoughts and words run through your head, catch yourself. Would you say those things to your best friend? To your mother or daughter? Start to replace the thoughts with positive ones about your appearance. This can be difficult for some at first, but practice makes perfect!
2. Only eat when you are hungry. Listen to your body, eat slowly and chew your food fully. When you are full, stop eating.
3. Be mindful of what you choose to put in your mouth. Start to actively be aware of your food choices. When preparing a meal or eating out, ask yourself- is this what my body needs? Is this food actually nutritious for my body? Choosing whole foods, that are not packaged and including lots of fruits and vegetables is a good start.
I love choosing to feed my body healthy whole foods. Additionally, I know my body needs at least 8 hours of sleep a night. When I was younger I used to try and stay up later, but I now listen to my body and if I need to go to sleep at 9pm- I do!
What do you do to love yourself? I would love to hear your thoughts below!
Cochrane G. Role for a sense of self-worth in weight-loss treatments: Helping patients develop self-efficacy. Canadian Family Physician. 2008;54(4):543-547.