The new year is upon us along with the resolutions. I heard on the news this morning that instead of the common exercise or weight loss resolution, many are choosing to focus on being a kinder person. With all the tension from the election, no matter who you voted for, the past few months have created a lot of negative energy that continues to linger. What a great way to tackle the negative news fog by lifting spirits through kindness. And the irony in this is that by focusing on kindness, you might actually lose weight.
Kindness and Weight Loss Connection
Many of my clients struggle with negative self-talk like all-or-nothing thinking, reality distortion, or being overly self-critical. This kind of negative energy can derail the best of healthy-eating intentions and lead to emotional eating. This is how it happens: The day starts off wrong with a late start due to a poor night’s sleep so breakfast is missed and no lunch is prepared to bring to work. By lunch time, that person is famished and overcompensates for the missed breakfast by eating some sort of high-carb, high-fat, high-calorie fast food that leads to guilt feelings later on. When that person gets home, the all-or-nothing, reality distorted, self-critical self-talk starts: “Well, I’ve already ruined the day by eating all that junk at lunch, I may as well as eat these cookies and order a pizza for dinner. I’m such a fat failure.” Now, had that person decided to focus on executing a planned act of kindness to others, the positive energy from that could help with a better night’s sleep, brought contentment from bringing joy to another, and prevented excessive negative self-talk. The chain of events instead might go like this: good sleep, more clear-headed in the morning, more efficient use of time, time for breakfast, time to make lunch, fulfill an act of kindness, which leads to kinder self-talk, and so on…. Making lifestyle changes and breaking old unhealthy habits takes lots of mindfulness, kindness to both self and others. The positive chain of events can be self-sustaining by focusing on being a kinder person to others and self.
Being Kind Creates Positive Energy
Barbara Frederickson, a psychologist who has done extensive research on the benefits of positive thinking, has a two-minute test you can take to assess your positivity ratio. Her research has found when people have a 3:1 ratio of positive to negative thoughts they become more resilient to adversity, are able to change their thinking patterns and are able to accomplish more that they could ever imagine. Can you imagine if one good act of kindness changes one’s perspective of food choices? Instead of thinking, “I can’t eat this”, saying “eating more of this is going to help me lose weight!” Changing perspectives can happen by being kinder.
I can think of no better way to being kinder than through doing one daily planned act of kindness. It’s my resolution. I’ve had the pleasure of being able to help out a friend more recently and I love how good it makes me feel. Doing one kind act daily fills me with positive energy, lifts my spirits and carries over to other aspects of my life. Some days it takes a bit more time to come up with an idea or it may take a bit more energy to fulfill, but the payback of witnessing someone’s contentment can really get me out of a rut in my thinking.
One good act of kindness done daily can create a self-perpetuating healthy mindset that can generate the flow of positive energy to fulfill your weight loss goals. At the end of the day, as you are going to bed, think of how you can do an act of kindness tomorrow. Thinking about all those positive possibilities as you prepare for sleep can change your brain patterns, make the world a better place, and even lose weight – one act of kindness at a time.
Barbara writes a biweekly blog to help inform and empower people to live healthy lives. Please “share” her articles and “like” her facebook page to help spread the word