Alison Sherwood on Health, Happiness, and Why Diets Don’t Work (E16)

Forget what you think you know about weight loss.


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April 5, 2016

In this week’s episode, I sit down with Alison Sherwood from Soulful Mind & Body. Alison provides health coaching services to women, and our conversation gave great insights into why losing weight is so hard – something I had previously discussed in Episode 9

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Here are some of the pearls of wisdom Alison shared, and highlights from our conversation, but be sure to listen to the full episode.

The weight is usually there for a reason.

Many of us struggle to lose weight: we fight with diets, unsuccessfully use gym memberships, and struggle with our self-confidence. Alison says that often times, the key to losing weight is to realize why you have the weight in the first place. There’s always a reason.

Until we get to the root cause of our weight, we can’t get rid it. Soul-searching and counseling can help you get to the root of your weight issues, and why you’re holding on to weight. (Hint: it’s often to protect yourself from something. What could it be?)

Get in touch with your feminine body.

Alison gives some great, practical advice in our conversation, and her first one seems silly – until you try it!

She says: Name your body. Give her an entity, and respect her for who she is. Feel her feminine force, create an inner connection, and tune into what she wants and needs. Then, you’ll be able to work together as allies to tackle the weight and health issues you’re both facing.

Losing weight is not going to suddenly make you love yourself…

There’s an amazing TED talk by supermodel Cameron Russell about how being skinny and beautiful has no correlations to self-love. Losing that weight you’re holding onto isn’t going to magically cause you to feel better about yourself. In fact, it’s the other way around.

Alison says self-love, self-acceptance, and self-compassion all have to be in place to build a healthy relationship with yourself that’s also sustainable. To start this process, work to accept and appreciate how hard your body has worked to protect you from “the reason” mentioned above.

…so just start by loving yourself.

Yes, it’s easier said than done. But, it’s the only way we can truly achieve a healthier lifestyle.

When we start to love ourselves, we take better care of ourselves. If we don’t take care of ourselves, there’s no way we can take care of anyone else, something that’s a high priority to many women. Loving ourselves as we currently are – not the skinny dream version we wish to be – is the first step.

Create an anchor.

Another practical tip Alison suggests is creating an “anchor.” This is a physical product that reminds you of your ‘real why.’ For most of us, the ‘real why’ is not to be skinnier, but to improve our health, and why we want to be healthier.

Your ‘real why’ is very personal, so your anchor will be equally personal to you. Alison says her clients have used a variety of items, from a piece of jewelry, to a picture, to something on your body.

Eat without distractions.

In the day and age of smartphones, Netflix, and internet everywhere, it can be hard to unplug during meals. Alison says this is one of her most helpful tips for clients – and often the most challenging to apply.

She recommends that you put whatever you’re eating on a plate, chew slowly, breathe, and savor. Tune into when you’re satisfied, but not stuffed. Ask yourself “how do I feel after eating that?” instead of belittling yourself, so you can learn to listen to and trust your body when it receives nutrients.

Every person is unique, not every plan will work for everyone.

This final point is an important takeaway: not only will each person need a unique plan to tackle the health goals they have, it’s okay that you need a unique plan for you. Just because you have tried a diet or fitness regimen or even health coaching in the past that didn’t work doesn’t mean you can’t succeed now.

Alison is providing a complimentary 45-minute session to all listeners of my podcast. Visit her site, Soulful Mind & Body, to contact her and learn more.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks for joining me this week. I’d love to hear your thoughts, please leave an honest review for The Art of Personal Growth podcast on iTunes. Ratings and reviews are super helpful to tailoring the content of the show and I read them all! They also matter in the rankings of the show.

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It's Time for a Better Career Change!

Don't Put Your Happiness on Hold!

Start Now!