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Without awareness, this underlying experience is hard to identify. But if you can pause and explore what underpins your thinking, you can better address the root of the problem rather than its symptoms. Because we are good at lists. Before you laugh, tell me you haven't had at least one of these thoughts. I call this erroneous thought process 'putting our worthiness on hold. ' It took me a while to realize that the truth is, our happiness does not really change whether we are thirty pounds or three pounds away from our goal weight. Our worth does not increase if our house is in perfect order seven days a week and our checking account's fat. What matters is that you are moving in the right direction. While we tend to focus on far-off goals, what actually matters most is the very next step. The small step you take, the one right in front of you, which is both feasible and obtainable. It is also the most important decision you will make. Not the one that appears to be 100 miles away, but the one that is directly at your feet, beckoning you to go in the right direction. ' This kind of self-loving impacts all of the other aspects of self housed within. When we make a nourishing home, all parts of our being want to reside there. No longer are you a human looking. No longer are you a human doing. You are now a human being. A quest for physical perfection distracts us from the true value in our lives--our dreams, our longings, our heart's desire. These deepest secrets we might share only with the person we trust the most, and maybe not even with that person! When we quest for perfection on the outside, it eases some of the confusion we have about what we are here for.

We don't have to look inside at these difficult questions and seek even more complicated answers. Our life's work is viewed as a 'higher calling' or purpose for being alive. And it can help regulate your mood, keep hunger pains at bay, and give you the energy you need. While the amount of calories you eat is important, the type of calories you eat also matters. Your body is good at dealing with whatever you throw down your gullet. The problem is, what you're noshing on may affect your blood sugar. If your body can easily turn something you consume into glucose--the sugar your body uses for energy--then that can lead to an insulin spike. Ever get super hyper from eating something full of sugar? That's this in effect. Then you usually have a crash, when you feel low-energy and sluggish as your blood sugar drops and gets closer to normal. This can lead to overeating, because your brain thinks you're now somehow in desperate need of energy. Insulin spikes like this can cause you to store that extra energy as fat. Going back to step 1, if your automatic negative thought was I'm never going to get accepted anywhere; I'm just not smart enough to go to college, you can practice questioning what is underlying the thought--perhaps a learned belief that you're not good enough and will fail at whatever you do. Keep bringing these thoughts and beliefs into awareness, recognizing and disputing them, and putting forward other explanations that dispute the automatic thoughts and beliefs. As you keep recognizing and disputing the learned, habitual thought, you come to see more clearly that they are simply learned explanations and that they do not serve you. Mindfulness can support us in questioning our automatic negative thoughts by providing the skills to help us stay with the difficult emotions and feelings that arise in connection with the negative thought process. When we bring awareness to our habits of thinking, we can break the cycle that keeps us in negative habit loops. We can then evaluate our experience with discernment--rather than interpreting it through the prism of past events. In our discussions so far we've largely focused on habits that we are fairly aware of and want to change.

For instance, the thought I don't like the fact that I spend so much time on social media when I have more important things to do is readily in our consciousness. We may, however, have other habits that we are not aware of that cause harm to ourselves or others and impact our well-being. When I realized that taking a small, purposeful step was all that mattered, I realized that I was meant to enjoy life in the present. Not when I had achieved a perfect body, not when I had earned a specific title or rank, not when I had it 'put back together' again. I was surprised to enjoy being in the sifter. In it, little by little, the small imperfections sift away until what you are left with is the whole you, filled with good material. I started with the basics. My first step was the small, simple task of dressing myself like I was worthy. I stopped waiting for perfection and started enjoying the process of burning away all that I was not intended to be, to rid myself of these heavy objects I had picked up on my way to becoming what the world told me I should be, what was expected of me. Instead, I focused on my true self, the one God had created me to be. My plan to wait to enjoy my life when I became the 'perfect' version of myself was not only ridiculous but also kept me from taking the important next step. God never meant me to suffer through the metamorphosis; The yogis believe that our presence on earth is not random, but purposeful. We are all warriors on the battlefields of our own lives, engaged in the path of the hero, on a hero's journey. It's intriguing to view life this way. We could decide we're just here to pay our bills and watch TV. The choice is ours. It's almost easier to believe that we're here for no reason. It absolves us of any responsibility. From that vantage point, we have time to waste.

We can destroy our planet, the living beings on it, and our relationships--nothing matters. But if you decide that life is worth something--you are worth something--well then you have no time to lose setting about figuring out why you are here. While it's not the main culprit of adding extra body fat--that's simply from consuming more calories than you need in general--it can still increase it. That's why you should focus on eating food with low glycemic loads: whole grains, fruits, veggies without starch, and legumes. Eat fewer things with high glycemic loads, such as white rice, white bread, potatoes, and other carb-heavy foods. And, of course, those foods with the highest glycemic loads? Sugary foods like soft drinks, candy, and cake? Try not to make them the entirety of your diet. (You may already know that, but, hey, now I'm saying it again. For science. ) As with everything in life, moderation is key. Some of these unexamined habits form part of what has been called our assumptive world--the way we have been acculturated and conditioned to view the world. For O'Connor (2014, 13), 'The assumptive world includes our most basic beliefs--conscious and unconscious--about how the world works, and the particular lenses we see the world through. It's the givens we were born with--our race, our class, our gender, our nationality--and how they bias our point of view. It's much of what we absorbed unconsciously from our parents and our childhood interactions. . . ' If you are a man, you might have developed habits of speaking (for example, being one of the first to speak in a group, speaking longer than most other speakers, being prone to interrupt others, and so on) that you consider are just part of your communication style.

You may not be aware of the harm your habits cause or the way they may have come out of and reinforce gender inequities. If you are a white person, you might believe that racism and inequities based on race are no longer a significant issue, that we now have a level playing field, and that you can be fair and color blind in your treatment of people of all races. that was my choice. And I had been making too many wrong choices. I gave myself permission to embrace and enjoy the process. I decided that step one, the very next step, was to dress now how I wanted to dress at my goal weight. It may sound superficial, but this step was huge for me. It was the beginning of my enjoying tipping over. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with yoga pants. But they did not bring me joy. Nor did many of the things I was doing. As I did the things that brought me joy, I realized I had been putting them off, waiting until I had achieved some level of midlife stardom or achievement. And in light of that, we may find that our physical appearance becomes far less important, and our thoughts and actions increase in worth. And in this way, we take radical responsibility for ourselves--who we are, what we are, what we believe in and stand for. Thich Nha^'t Ha. nh teaches that our only true belongings are our actions. 18 We're led to believe that we own our bank account, our possessions, and even our body. But those things could easily disappear. Even if we attained the physical perfection that we are seeking, it could dissolve slowly, via aging, or swiftly, in a car accident. In the end you will be remembered for how you made people feel and what you did to improve their lives.