The people who live long and happy lives are those who are able to express who they really are. Unfortunately, many of us do not live according to our beliefs, and even worse, we may not even be sure what we do believe in. Being out of touch with our spiritual ideals, values, and emotional needs contributes to an unhealthy psyche, and it is bound to take its toll on our appearance and our health.
This connection has been recognized by many holistic practitioners, including naturopathic physicians Charles and Maxine Cropley, authors of the now-famous book, The Mind Body Connection. In their own practice, the Cropleys noticed that their patients wanted to improve their health and appearance but, despite good intentions, found themselves unable to change to patterns of eating and exercise that would produce desired results. So the Cropleys started looking more closely at what was going on inside their clients’ minds that prevented them from attaining their weight-loss goals. What they ultimately discovered was that people had trouble losing weight because there was a spiritual void in their lives. Charles Cropley says, “What we find is there’s an inner quality missing in people, and the quality is that of motivation. So the question becomes, how can we raise a person’s level of motivation?” Most people, they realized, need to believe in something greater than just the idea of losing weight.
To help their patients get in touch with their spiritual needs, the Cropleys give their patients an “emotional exam.” It begins with questions that help people tune in to different areas of their life that may be unsettling. For instance, people are asked how they feel about their primary relationship—be it with a spouse, sibling, or child—their work, and other areas of their lives, and then are asked to rate those areas on a scale of one to ten that ranges from ease to disease. The uneasy areas of life are usually the ones that trigger hormonal responses that adversely affect health and eating patterns. Once these stressful areas have been identified, patients can begin to work through their issues and understand how they impact their eating habits.
Then there are questions to help people clarify their values and what it is they want out of life. Patients ask themselves: If you had all the time in the world, what would you do? If you had all the money that you wanted, what would you want to do, or have, or be? If you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you attempt? If you were witnessing your own funeral, what would people say about the kind of person you were and about your accomplishments? What would you want to hear at the end of your life that would be so fulfilling that you would say “It’s time for me to go because I’ve done all I wanted”?
By getting in touch with our hearts, we have a much better chance of gaining power over our health and weight. When you become clear about what it is you really want, your health becomes more valuable and you feel inspired to change. The next chapter offers some specific questions to help you get started on this process.
Weight Loss