You feel a reverent connection to the universe. Whether or not you belong to any organized religion, you believe that there's a higher power guiding you through your decisions. "If things don't go your way, you also have a tendency to ask yourself why and really learn from the answer," says Dr. Dorie McCubbrey, an eating and weight-loss specialist in Boulder, Colorado, and author of How Much Does Your Soul Weigh?.
Faith can strengthen your commitment and give you the support you need to achieve your weight-loss goals, but relying solely on powers other than your own can be naive. "You can't run a four-minute mile just by praying you can do it," says Dr. Kirschenbaum.
Weave supportive spiritual habits into your daily routine. Kick off your morning with a prayer or meditation that incorporates positive affirmations, such as: "I'm in touch with my body's true needs today. I can eat slowly and consciously. My workouts are enjoyable and I'm energized." A "soulful" wake-up routine can reinforce goals and keep them in the forefront of your mind throughout your day. If you sometimes need reminding, carrying a notepad with written affirmations in your purse can help.
Pause before each meal or snack to reflect on what you're eating or how you're nourishing your spirit. When you quickly check in with your spiritual center throughout the day, you're less likely to retreat to autopilot and start snacking out of boredom or some other negative emotion.
In addition, by linking your mealtimes with checkpoints, you actually make them more special. "Eating then becomes a means to feed your soul and connect with your higher power, not just satisfy hunger," says Dr. McCubbrey. The more meaningful your mealtimes become, the more respect you're likely to give your food. Bye-bye, takeout: hello, homemade.
Mentally replay the day's events before you drift off to sleep, and try to learn from your mistakes. "If you're spiritually inclined, you're probably really good at learning from parables and other types of lessons," Dr. McCubbrey says. Try to see the day's experiences objectively, as if you're reading a story, and develop suitable "morals" to help guide you through the following day's challenges.