Happy, Healthy You – Learn to say NO
I have mentioned in previous blogs the life changing freedom of setting healthy boundaries; which includes being able to say the powerful two letter word, NO. Of course, you can say it very politely. LOL. But no means no. I have personally learned the value of this word. Interestingly, I first had to learn to say yes. Yes to my needs. I’m reticent to mention that I have lived most of my life saying yes to everyone one else without much thought or intent. So much so, that I lost a part of me. It makes sense then that saying yes to myself was not as easy as it sounded. I had to get reacquainted with myself first. I was reminded of that Julia Roberts movie where she didn’t really know if she liked her eggs, scrambled or over easy. For me, it was, do I even like eggs? My primary identity for years was first and foremost as a devoted wife and mother. I wish I would have known then what I know now. I would tell my younger self, if you take the time to listen to your needs (and get them met), it will make you an even better wife, friend and mother. Before I go on, please know I am fully aware there are a some things in life we cannot possibly say no to. Having said that, my intent in writing this blog is to hopefully help someone see the value of how saying no can be in direct relation to achieving their weight loss goals.
It is not as obvious as it sounds. You may be thinking, “I know I have to say no to overindulging in certain foods, duh.” Yes, that is true. But what I am explaining goes way deeper than that. One of my favorite books that made the hugest impact on my life was Fearless Living by Rhonda Britten. She says, “people only walk on you if you allow them to. The power is in your court. If you want to be more assertive, practice saying one key word — “NO.” With some honest soul searching, I realized I was choosing to put myself last. Most people weren’t necessarily wanting to walk all over me, I allowed them to because my self worth was low. Bottom line is, for decades, I was more comfortable being a caretaker for others than for myself. I was helped by her book to be compassionately accountable for this fact. I wasn’t going to get anywhere by playing the victim role. I was choosing to automatically say yes to everyone and every commitment of my time out there. One of the things that helped to make the lasting shift to a healthier life is when I took the time to fiercely guard my time (and calendar) like my life depended on it. Learning to say no was really challenging at first. Determined to make time for me and as my love for myself grew, I began to practice self nurturing behaviors, rather than self destructive ones. Regular meal prep in the kitchen became an act of love for myself. Learning to cook in a healthier manner was a way to nourish my soul, and my body. Same goes with the time I committed to my walks to the park or going to the gym for my favorite Zumba class. I learned how to do what I call extreme mothering for myself, instead of always mothering everyone else. I finally found ways to feed and comfort my soul that didn’t include food.
Reflecting back, one of my biggest life lessons was when my life coach asked me on our first session, what was the biggest thing I wanted to accomplish with her help? Of course I said help me lose 90 pounds. For years previously, I always believed it was about my weight and number on the scale. If I lost X amount of weight, then, I would be happy. Can you relate? I know it sounds cliche, but I truly had to change how I felt about myself on the inside first. (That work is ongoing by the way) Working with her and continuing the work after, I am happy to say the change in how I felt about myself on the inside, ultimately led to reflecting a skinnier person on the outside. In the end, in order to have a happier, healthier you, learn to say NO.
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