When we think about being healthy, we tend to focus on our BMI, our weight, and how our clothes fit. All too often, we forget that our emotional and spiritual health matter, too.
When patients come to me for help with medical problems, I typically dig a little deeper—and usually, after just a couple of questions, their stories come pouring out. Often, they’re overwhelmed, overburdened, or under-supported, and that makes it harder for them to get and stay slender.
Why? Because we aren’t just our physical bodies; we’re also spiritual beings. Our physical, mental, and emotional health are deeply intertwined, and we need to address all three to be truly healthy.
When people first hear about my SLIM products or my SLIM mindset, they don’t fully understand what I’m talking about. They don’t realize that SLIM stands for something deeper than just being skinny. Sure, it feels great to be slender and to look ageless. But you know what feels even better? Achieving all that and being emotionally and spiritually healthy, too—and that’s what I want to talk about today.
What is the SLIM Mindset?
SLIM is an acronym that stands for four crucial elements of a healthy life. I firmly believe that in order for you to achieve optimum health, you need to feel:
S – Safe
L – Loved
I – Important
M – Motivated
If you’re struggling to lose weight or get healthy, it’s vital to develop a SLIM mindset. Here’s how to do it.
When my patients have strong support from their loved ones, I know the sky’s the limit when it comes to their success. That’s because in a safe, supportive environment, it’s possible to grow and change and become the best YOU that you can be.
Conversely, if you’re in an unsafe relationship with someone who treats you badly, fails to share your values, or sabotages your goals, you feel anxious and afraid—and that makes change difficult or even impossible. I’ve worked with dozens of patients who couldn’t lose the weight until they finally left a toxic relationship or learned how to say “no.”
So if you’re in a safe, secure relationship, work on making it even stronger, because it will make you stronger. But if you’re in a bad relationship, get counseling or get out. You need and deserve better.
And here’s another important piece of advice: Just as you expect others to create a safe environment for you, create a safe environment for yourself. Don’t harm your body with unscientific diets or dangerous weight loss pills when you can lose weight safely with a diet like mine. Don’t short yourself on sleep, exercise, stress reduction, or other “musts” for a healthy life. And don’t bully yourself with negative self-talk or unhealthy perfectionism. Remember: the person who’s most responsible for making you feel safe is YOU.
When you surround yourself with people who truly love you, you feel energized and optimistic. These people want the best for you. They want you to be your best and healthiest self, and they will do what they can to help get you there.
So take a minute to think about all the people in your life right now. Are they lifting you up—or are they holding you down? Are they making it easier for you to achieve your dreams, or do they only care about using you for their own ends?
One important piece of advice I give people is to choose their inner circle of friends wisely. I believe in being friendly with just about everyone, but being friends only with people who share my vision. These are the people who encourage me to try harder, pick me up when I’m down, hold me accountable if I try to make excuses, and celebrate with me when I succeed.
If you don’t have people like this in your life, seek them out. They may be your family members, your coworkers, your neighbors, or total strangers whose paths cross yours. When you find these people, keep them close and be grateful for them—and return the favor by making sure you’re the wind beneath their wings, too.
Do you put everyone else first, and think about your own needs last? Then it’s time to realize that you are important too. And that starts with making time for yourself.
Here’s the thing. Every extra favor, errand, or project you undertake subtracts from “you” time. And that’s a huge tradeoff if you already have a full plate.
What’s the solution? I call it “strategizing your yesses.” If you’re overwhelmed and unhealthy because you’re taking care of everyone but yourself, here’s what I want you to do.
First, list everything you do right now for other people, as well as any new commitments you’re thinking of undertaking. Now, ask yourself:
- How much work or money does this entail? Is it really worth that much work or money?
- How much does this impact my family, my own life, and my work?
- In accepting this commitment, am I violating any of my own core values—for instance, my belief that I need to eat well and stay fit?
If a commitment doesn’t make the grade, say no to it. Then immediately say yes to another commitment—to yourself. Use the time you just saved to exercise, read a book, get more sleep, enjoy your hobbies, or simply relax.
At some point, you need to stop trying to be everyone else’s rock and focus on your own needs. That’s not selfish; it’s healthy and smart.
I’m not going to kid you—it’s easy to get derailed when you’re making lifestyle changes. Anything can trip you up, from the leftover doughnuts in the breakroom to a TV show you want to binge-watch when you should hit the gym instead.
What’s the answer? Keep your eyes on the prize. Identify your reasons for changing your life, and keep these motivators front and center in your mind. Short-term pleasures won’t tempt you when you’re focused on long-term goals.
I recommend that you do what I tell my patients to do: Write down your goals, and tape them on your refrigerator or bathroom mirror. For instance:
- “I am losing weight to look beautiful in my wedding dress.”
- I am slimming down so I can reverse my symptoms of metabolic syndrome and avoid developing diabetes.”
- “I am exercising and eating right so I can play games with my kids instead of sitting on the sidelines.”
When you see your goals spelled out in black-and-white every day, you’ll stay strong and committed—and as a result, you’ll be able to walk past that doughnut or turn off that TV and grab your gym bag.
Staying SLIM—for life!
If you want to get slim and healthy, you need to address your physical needs by eating right and exercising. But if you want to stay slim and healthy forever, you also need to meet your emotional and spiritual needs. So cultivate my SLIM mindset, and nourish your mind and spirit as well as your body!
Keep thinking Big and living BOLD!