Our perception on weight management really isn't much different than how we should conceptualize mental health and wellness. Most of us can relate to the trials & tribulations of getting into shape, while many of us even share on social media the gritty details of the process. After all, there is no shame in wanting to be healthy and reduce the medical concerns associated with being overweight. It's actually well received and praised in the public’s eye when we have the courage to get in shape. The public’s message takes a sharp shift when it comes to getting our mind in shape and strengthening our abilities to manage the not so pretty realities of life! Sadly, the mere mention of “mental health” has historically been taboo.
Well, in the very wise words of Oprah when she successfully partnered with Weight Watchers...
IF NOT NOW, WHEN?
When does this paradigm shift change for the masses? When does it change for groups historically in the most need of healing? As we leap into 2018, it's no better time to make new and improved life goals. Take a moment to assess your goals. Does your list incorporate the WHOLE you? Is it heavily skewed on any one domain of your life, such as your career? While it's smart to have career goals, it's even smarter to check your mental wellness to ensure you protect your assets you will or have accumulated through your achievements. Now if that last statement left you confused, please stop and reflect on folks that have illustrated what NOT having emotional and mental wellness DID to their career, family life, and being able to keep their hard earned money due to expensive legal fees!
I'm not into naming names, but I'm sure you can think of a few celebrities, colleagues, family members and friends out in the world demonstrating emotional immaturity and placing their image and prosperity on the rocks. Some have attempted to justify their behaviors in the spirit of “keeping it real”! Well, we've all seen what happens when you're "Keeping It Real, Gone Wrong" thanks to David Chappelle! I’m by no means suggesting you can never recovery after a self inflicted disaster that directly resulted from failure to check your mental health, but I’ll park that discussion for another time when discussing the power of resiliency!
For now, here’s my opinion: Even when you are keeping it 100% take a note from Michelle Obama and do it with grace! Ultimately, to put your best self forward you must work on the WHOLE self! This includes "your stuff" lurking underneath the emotional immaturity, the self-sabotaging behaviors, and other dramas that often trail behind when you fail to give attention to your mental health. Which brings us back to the question at hand...
IF NOT NOW, WHEN?
It's time for your mental wellness to get & stay on that New Year, New You train! Like your other life goals, it's an investment in you! And thankfully there’s a cafeteria of options to find the right therapist for you.
Still struggling on how to create a framework to understand mental health, just adopt these 5 familiar truths commonly used for getting into shape as your guide:
#1 ACKNOWLEDGE your genetic make-up, both blessings and challenges.
- Problem: “My whole family is obese with diabetes, there’s no hope!”
- Solution: Be strategic in your approach & know your areas that will need more attention.
- Mental Health truth: If possible, get the facts about your genealogy and family history. There is no need to judge because as humans we all have strengths and stretches (areas you'll have to work harder at to get the results we want).
#2 MAINTENANCE is mandatory to keeping a healthy weight!
- Problem: "Yo-yo dieting, relapse, falling off" are all phrases used to describe when we fail to sustain the new habits to maintain weight loss.
- Solution: Adopt a lifestyle that supports your new healthy weight!
- Mental Wellness truth: Know when to get help in order to maintain your mental wellness. Be sure to seek it sooner than later, as research shows quicker recovery for those that do.
#3 KNOW how the body manages food, fat, and muscles!
- Problem: "I'm always hungry and engage in cardio for an hour a day, but I can't lose a pound!"
- Solution: Work smarter, not harder. Burn the fat in your sleep once you get the tips from the experts!
- Mental Health truth: Neuroscience research over the past 10 years has shed light on how the brain works, which means a better understanding of mental wellness. Stay informed!
#4 HIRE a fitness trainer to expedite your progress!
- Problem: "I have all the facts on how to lose weight and I'm aware of my genetic make-up but the progress is lagging."
- Solution: Paying for time with a fitness specialist offers accountability, while getting you the results you want!
- Mental Health truth: Research demonstrates working with a skilled therapist can resolve your issues in less time than tackling them without one.
#5 FEEL good about pursuing a healthy weight!
- Problem: There is none! There's no shame for taking action to lose weight. Maybe there’s shame in how you got there, but it's great that you finally decided to do something about it! Kudos to you!
- Solution: You get to take pride in your weight loss journey and happily share your success story on the likes of YouTube and Facebook!
- Mental Health truth: Take pride in prioritizing your mental wellness! It's time to start feeling good when discussing mental health...if not now, when?