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coping skills faith health prayer theology weight loss

weight loss and mental health

At such a time as this, during a pandemic, political mayhem, economic difficulties, and everything that is going on in our country and in the world, ecological crisis, etc., talking about weight loss feels bit out of place. But it isn’t out of place. You know the airplane safety demonstration where they show you that you should put on your own air mask before putting on the oxygen mask for your child and other people? If you are not of sound mind and healthy body, you can’t contribute your best self for others. I think of life as a marathon. I have to be here for the long haul to accomplish things I’m passionate about. To accomplish meaningful rewarding things that God has given me passion, gifts and talent for, I have to be at my top shape. I also try not to compare myself to others. Everyone has different gifts and purpose. Yes, we work together, but we are not working together as exact same replica of each other, right? So weight loss for me has meant not only losing body fat and going for lower number on the scale. Weight loss for me includes mental health and spiritual health as well. It’s difficult to eat healthy when you are on an emotional roller coaster, and feeling hopeless, sad, or discouraged. And you can’t feel emotionally stable when you are eating and drinking things that makes your mood fluctuate.

So in addition to habits I shared in then previous post, how i lost 50 lb during covid lockdown, there are some more daily habits that help me everyday.

making my bed – I make my bed every morning. If I can accomplish a small task, I feel confidence to accomplish another small task, and another, and another. So every morning, especially before I start writing, I make my bed.

water – I drink water and tea. I drink about a gallon of water everyday and drink tea. I drink coffee also, but only in the mornings. Hydration has been important for weight loss and over all sense of wellbeing. I used to get dizzy spells frequently. After I started drinking plenty of water regularly, I stopped betting dizzy spells. Also, I drink water when I feel hungry, before I eat, but also when I think I’m probably not hungry, but think I want to eat. Thirst can be mistaken for hunger. So before I eat, and when I want to snack outside of my planned eating times, I drink water.

tea – And then there is tea. I drink green tea and turmeric tea, depending on time of day. I drink matcha or regular green tea with almond milk if before early afternoon. and I drink turmeric tea with almond milk if later in the day. I don’t drink tea as part of my routine, but more as a coping mechanism. If I need an emotional boost, like I’m about to tackle a difficult task or I sense I am wanting to eat my emotions away, I drink tea first. I don’t drink hot tea. I don’t like it cold either since now it’s winter. I drink it on the warmer side but not piping hot. It helps me feel warmer, but not burning inside of my mouth! Tea is a huge coping mechanism for me when I want to feel better.

Writing – Believe it or not, I am writing this post as a way of coping! When I write, not only do I feel positive emotions from being creative and productive, but I am also keeping myself busy. And when I am writing my dissertation or sermons, I am writing what I believe is important to write and to share with others. So writing also gives me a sense of purpose.

Journaling – I journal also. Journaling has been an important part of weight loss and getting healthy. When I “fall off track” with my eating habits, if I can learn from my actions, reasons behind and circumstances that led to it, I can make better decisions next time.

Music – Walking would not be the same without listening to music. And podcasts also! I can’t jog listening to podcasts, but I can walk and listen to a podcasts. I learn something as I am getting my steps in, I love that. I also listen to music when I want to block out my environment to focus better, or when I need a boost of energy, or when I want to wind down, etc. I use music to help me to accomplish task at hand. But sometimes not listening to music, the silence is helpful also.

Prayer – Whether I count my breathes or meditate or pray, I do this as part of waking up routine. It centers me, and it helps me to feel intentional about the rest of the day. I don’t want to roll out of bed and react to things happening during the day. I try to set goals and have a rough idea what and when I want to do things to achieve my long term goals.

Setting goals – From weight loss to writing to jogging, I set goals. I don’t despair when I can’t accomplish goals when I want to, but goals give me guideline for when I want to do things to stay on my course. If life is a marathon, then I need a plan, a road map, and set my intentions for specific things.

rewards – When I accomplish goals, I try to enjoy and cherish the moment. I set it aside as a special moment somehow, by recording it in writing so I’ll remember it later when I need an encouragement, and to reward myself in some way, even if it’s texting someone to let them know I accomplished a goal.

gratitude – Lastly, thanks for reading. I am a pastor, chaplain, and theologian by training. Helping others through my experiences and my knowledge gives me great sense of purpose in life. Thanks for letting me share my experience about weight loss, which is also about spiritual well being, and a balanced and healthy life style.

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