The Metabolic Power of Gratitude
When it comes to popular weight loss strategies a deliberate practice of gratitude is certainly not at the top of the list. After all, you’ve probably been conditioned to believe there’s not a whole lot to be grateful for anyway, especially when it comes to your body.
But when you’re consumed with how deprived you feel, how much weight you have to lose or how you hate how you look, you’re laser focused on what’s missing and what’s wrong with your life. Such negativity inevitably leads to the discouragement and overwhelm that derail even the best of intentions. The energy of this lack mindset runs deep and affects our behavior as well as our biochemistry.
But here’s the secret. Nothing shifts your energy faster than Gratitude.
When you deliberately notice the countless blessings in your life right in this moment, when you feel sincere appreciation for how right your life is now, even before you’re reached your desired weight, you tap into a whole new power to transform your health and well being.
You step into a powerful receptive mindset.
Gratitude signals the energy of abundance. It is the most powerful antidote to fear, judgment and shame.
From a physiological standpoint, gratitude has been shown to trigger over 1200 different health promoting chemical reactions in the body.
Being grateful relaxes your mind and gives you a broader perspective so you can let go of the perfectionist and all or nothing thinking that sabotages your weight loss goals.
I’ve noticed that when you take in the feeling that your body, that your life, that YOU are enough right in this moment, you somehow feel more fulfilled and less “hungry”.
With practice, cultivating an attitude of gratitude leads to more sustainable states of staying positive and feeling happy with yourself.
Finally, there’s a ton of research that shows that a deliberate gratitude practice improves self-care, helps with sleep, lowers depression, increases vitality and curbs overeating.
In this context, gratitude is so much more than feeling thankful for something. In fact it’s a powerful elevated state of being that gets you out of victim mentality and firmly in the driver seat of your health.
Here’s a helpful definition from Harvard Medical School:
With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives … As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals – whether to other people, nature, or a higher power”
Your’re probably famiiar with tools like gratitude journaling that can really help you start to see things from a more positive perspective.
I started this practice several years ago but it wasn’t until I added the practice of gratitude to my daily meditation and consciously took in the feeling of gratitude in my inner body – felt it in my heart and in every cell in my body – then I begin to see a real shift in my life.
So wherever you are right now, pause, let your eyes close, take a few breaths and maybe start to give thanks for what may seem like the simple things: the home you live in, the food in your belly, the fact that you are alive, you can feel grateful for the 30,000+ breaths you take each day that allow you to feel calm and peace in the present moment.
When I feel grateful, I slow down, I breathe differently, I care for my body differently, I eat differently. My day flows more easily and I feel more in love with life.
As I write this, I’m sipping my warm mug of tea, my dog Houdini is curled up next to me, near the fireplace. Life is still. Simple. Wonderful. By acknowledging and appreciating this moment, I am truly grateful.