self reflectionOne of the 3 keys I talk about with my clients that is necessary for losing weight and keeping it off over 40 is having a foundation of love, respect and honor for yourself.

Your WHOLE self.

Body, mind and spirit.

And we are not talking about narcissistic self-absorbed self-love. We are talking about deep, abiding respect and genuine caring for the whole being that you are.

If I ask you if you love or loathe yourself, chances are you will deny that you loathe yourself. Loathing is such a strong word, right?

But how many times have you looked in the mirror and groaned and cursed your excess fat?

How many times have you examined the lines in your face, emerging age-spots or graying hair and deep down felt disgust?

Pivoting  from self-loathing to self-love is absolutely key if you want to feel free and light in your body, mind and spirit.

I help women over 40 lose weight, yes. But not  through the traditional way of dieting.

I help women release the heavy thoughts and beliefs that are weighing them down. Self hatred packs on the pounds mentally, emotionally and physically.

Every moment you spend questioning your worth and criticizing yourself is not only a waste of your precious time in this life, but it's working against your desire to release excess weight and keep it off.

Today is the day to start loving yourself.

Here are seven ways to love yourself body, mind and spirit:

1.  Accept that you are good enough just the way you are here and now.

Look in the mirror every day before you get in the shower. Take a pause and stand naked. Choose to accept your flaws realizing that you are where you are because of all you've been through. Weight loss over 40 begins with acceptance of your body and your life as it is in this present moment. You came to be where you are now because you've been through difficulties. Accept that in this moment  you are absolutely more than good enough just the way you are.This inner culture of self acceptance is the spring-board for change.

2. Teach others how to treat you.

You are already teaching other people how to treat you when you allow someone to talk down to you or insult you. When you choose to love, respect and honor yourself, you are choosing to no longer tolerate abuse from others. Women who truly love and honor themselves expect to be treated with respect and honor from others.   They set healthy boundaries and, if these boundaries are crossed they speak up clearly and directly.  When boundaries are repeatedly violated they know when it's time to walk away.

3.  Believe you CAN overcome your challenges and learn from them.

Women who truly love themselves know that big challenges are how we grow, learn and derive meaning from life.   Learn to find humor in your mistakes and look at the curve-balls life throws at you as learning opportunities.  The discomfort you feel when difficult situations arise provide rich soil for new growth. Believe that you do have the where-with-all to learn and go beyond the challenges you are facing.

4. Take full responsibility for your part of conflict or trouble without beating yourself up.

When there is a conflict, a disagreement, a blow up or some other trouble, it's important to scan the situation for your contribution and take responsibility. Own it. But don't grind your teeth and whip yourself with critical words.  Women who truly love themselves are able to quickly recognize where they have erred, admit it openly, apologize sincerely and then let it go - even if the other person is still angry.

5. See your life as school.

Your body, your pain, your joys, your thoughts, your experiences, your relationships... they are all classes in this advanced graduate course called life. To love and honor yourself is to embrace everything about your body and your experiences as rich opportunity to learn. Instead of gnashing your teeth because the numbers on the scale are too high, get CURIOUS. Ask yourself, "What can I learn from this?" Remember that you are a soul, a spirit having a human experience. You are here to learn. Women who love themselves realize this and therefore are gentle with themselves when things go awry.

6. Follow your bliss.

Women who love themselves know that they must find and follow their deepest inner-longings. Spend time listening for the whispers of your heart. You might start by thinking back to what that thing was you most wanted to do and experience when you were young... and find way to DO THAT. When you love yourself, you will know that the inner-longings are important and you will choose to dig in and find way to honor and nurture those desires.

Much of the time the hunger we feel is not physical hunger. Instead of reaching for potato chips or brownies, reach deep within to what it is your spirit hungers for. Feed that and losing weight over the age of 40 becomes much simpler.

7.  Live your life in the present moment.

This moment is the only moment that exists. Eckhart Tolle says, "The past is merely a memory trace. The future is only a vision. All there is is this present moment. Accept the present moment as if you have chosen it."

Women who truly love and honor themselves feel greater joy in accepting where they are and embracing the present moment. They do not wallow in aching for what used to be. They do not twist about in anxious agony about what MIGHT happen. They return to the present and work with what IS.

Hilary Rubin,  spiritual life coach, taught me an exercise I myself have used and I now use with my clients called "the permission statement."

I'd like to share this with you now because as Hilary taught me, most people are still waiting for someone else to come along and give them permission to do things differently. But, the truth is YOU are the only one who can give yourself permission. Try this on for size today... Write this down on a slip of paper and repeat it out loud 7 times. Say it with feeling. Dig into it. Believe it.

Today, I give myself permission to love myself without condition.  I give myself permission to accept myself - my body, my mind, my spirit - just the way I am, and I choose to live my life with gratitude for all the lessons presented to me.

Keep this article open and available to read again and again. Save this permission statement and repeat it daily.  Take a look at the habits and patterns in your life that serve you and  also those that  are holding you back.  By doing these things, you’ll create an inner culture of self-love.  Through this filter of self-love you will begin to make healthier choices which will lead to natural weight loss.