Gratitude: A Powerful Fat Loss Tool
Gratitude is powerful. Gratitude is the antidote to complaining and bad attitudes. So, why do we only talk about it at Thanksgiving and not year-round?
We're busy, we're cynical and we're overwhelmed. Even our healthy lifestyles can create pressure when we're worrying about eating clean healthy foods and trying to find time to work out, and also worrying that we're not spending enough time with loved ones. All of that is stressful. And when we can't pull it all off every day, we feel bad. We feel disappointed in our lack of superhuman abilities to do it all.
Gratitude makes it easier to do what you need to do.
I always say, "It's hard to make good choices when you feel bad." Going to the gym and eating a salad can feel like a lot work when you're stressed, frustrated, sad or agitated. Doing those same things is effortless when you're feeling good.
Gratitude can be a shortcut to feeling good. You don't have to wait until all things improve, you can be grateful right now.
What's more, gratitude can make it easier to achieve your fat loss goals.
Gratitude can truly be a shortcut for staying positive and happy with one's self, both of which have been shown to aid in the weight loss process. A 2005 Swedish study, showed that participants in a cognitive-therapy treatment program — which encourages positive responses — not only lost more weight than those who didn't, but also kept it off. Additionally, a 2003 study published in the Journal of The American Dietetic Association, found that when using methods to increase their belief in their ability to reach their goals, participants' eating habits improved and so did their weight loss.
Gratitude gives you perspective. I've been known to freak out about how to balance work and family commitments while still sticking to my fitness and workout goals. Gratitude pulls me out of the over-scheduled crazy-making moment and helps me see what's really important. It helps me see which workout and food options are available and be thankful for them — even if they aren't the "perfect kale salad from Whole Foods" and my favorite workout at my favorite gym.
Will simply being grateful help you drop five pounds?
Not overnight, but yes, it will. The key to any successful body change endeavor is consistency. You want the weight loss secret? There it is. Keep doing the right things over and over again, consistently.
The problem is that you get bored or busy. You start skipping workouts and you start making more and more concessions with your nutrition and sleep goals.
Consistency is a battle worth fighting, and an attitude of gratitude is a powerful weapon.
3 tips for getting more gratitude into your life
1. At the end of the day before you go to bed and first thing when you wake up in the morning, jot a few quick items in a "gratitude journal." Simply write down five things you're grateful for. This is truly life changing, and it amazes me how you can still find five things even on the worst days.
2. For many of you, after you write these 5 things in your gratitude journal, you'll feel great for at least 10 minutes. But then the stress of the day might creep in and you may lose your positive feeling. If this is happening to you, set an alarm on your phone or computer for a few different times throughout the day.
When the alarm goes off, you don't even always need to write down five things you are grateful for, but rather just take a few seconds to acknowledge in your mind that you are grateful for these things. This will be a catalyst for positivity! It takes just seconds, but this deliberate practice throughout the day will lower your stress and get you more familiar with the feeling of begin grounded in gratitude. Soon you won't need it as often.
3. And finally, if you're stuck in a moment of stress or frustration, forget the schedule and stop, drop and be grateful. This is a tool you can use anywhere.
Readers — What are you grateful for? Do you feel that gratitude helps you stay fit, grounded and healthy? What other reminders do you use to help you feel grateful and positive? Leave a comment below and let us know.
Dr Brooke Kalanick, ND, MS, LAc is a naturopathic doctor and graduate of Bastyr University - the leader in natural medicine education, research and the training of holistically minded primary care providers. Dr Brooke specializes in PCOS and Hashimoto's hypothyroidism helping these fat loss resistant women feel, look and be better. Her knowledge of both conventional and alternative medicine helps her give patients back the control of their body, their hormones and their life. As a woman and mother who shares these struggles, she helps the women she works with live the adage: between perfect and giving up, there's better.