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The Tenets of Losing Weight: Within

We interview Dr. Habib Sadeghi whose new book, Within: A Spiritual Awakening to Love & Weight Loss, is about so much more than losing a few pounds.


Q

The weight loss equation seems so simple—eat less, move more—so why doesn’t it work that way for so many people?

A

Because trying to lose weight by focusing on food is like trying to quit smoking by focusing on cigarettes. How does that make sense? Most weight issues, especially for those who have a significant problem or are considered obese, are emotionally based. Intellectual knowledge about counting calories and exercise has no impact on how we feel about ourselves emotionally. It’s our emotions and subconscious beliefs that drive almost all of our behavior.


Q

So how does “a spiritual awakening” then help someone lose weight?

A

Love is the essential ingredient of life. If a baby receives perfect nutrition, but no loving touch or nurturing, it will die. We call them “failure-to-thrive” babies. Love is a nutrient required for our physical survival and if we didn’t get it, or enough of it early in life, then we end up seeking external sources of love that are always temporary, damaging, and often dangerous. When we generate love for ourselves from within, then we naturally take loving actions on our behalf like exercising and eating well.


Q

So is that why there’s no discussion of diet or exercise in the book?

A

Exactly. Anyone who’s dieted for most of their life already knows about good carbs, bad carbs, and how much cardio it takes to burn off one slice of cheese. They already have a wealth of food science and exercise knowledge that could rival a dietician or personal trainer. Meal plans and food lectures don’t build a bridge between the head and the heart.


Q

Self-love is one of those buzzwords we hear all the time, but it’s so elusive. How do we achieve it?

A

Self-love is misunderstood because people think it’s about buying yourself flowers or treating yourself to the spa once in a while. Self-love is a noun, not a verb. It’s a state of being, not doing. It’s a passive state, not an active one. That’s why 100 bubble baths won’t change how you feel about yourself. We organically acquiesce into self-love only after we reach self-acceptance, which means approving of ourselves exactly as we are with zero judgments. To get to that place, we must first do the work of self-forgiveness. Think about it. You can’t love someone if you don’t fully accept them, and you certainly can’t accept them if you hold a grudge against them. That’s why the doing part of self-love, the active work to reach it, actually lies in self-forgiveness; forgiving yourself for not being a size two, the perfect wife/mother, failing at your last diet, not being what your parents wanted you to be, missed opportunities, broken relationships, parenting mistakes, etc. Women are constantly striving to meet the unattainable standards someone else has set for them. When the inevitable failure happens, they turn their judgment inward and subconsciously punish themselves for being less than the ideal. It’s impossible to take loving actions toward yourself when you feel you’ve done so much wrong that you don’t deserve to be happy and at a healthy weight.


Q

In your book, you include a 40-day program to take readers on a journey of forgiveness. How were those exercises designed?

A

The workout in this book is really one for the heart and mind. Some of the exercises are designed to take the reader into a forgiving place. That means forgiving the self, as well as forgiving others. Through re-framing exercises, we change the perspective of painful situations and create an opportunity to apply compassion. Other exercises focus on finding the feeling place of joy, happiness, and positive emotion in the body. Feelings and the energy they generate have profound effects on our health and the way our physical body manifests itself.


Q

Why 40 days, and not the standard 30 or 10?

A

Because the number 40 is highly significant across nearly every spiritual belief system. Whether it’s a flood for 40 days and nights or fasting in the desert for 40 days or being lost for 40 years; that number symbolizes coming through a trial and being transformed by it. It’s the number of survival and transformation. The journey to self-love is the same kind of sacred quest.


Q

You’re very well-respected in the integrative medical community and could have tackled many subjects. Why weight loss?

A

I see thousands of patients with all kinds of conditions. If you saw them on the street, you’d never know that they may be dealing with cancer, heart disease, or diabetes. A patient who is overweight or obese can’t hide their condition. Their pain has to be on display for the world to see every day. They can’t “pass” in daily life. When my patients shared their pain with me, I knew I had to speak to that issue.


Q

Within has a lot of great information about the Law of Attraction and the power of our thoughts. Can the ideas be applied to other goals besides weight loss?

A

Absolutely. In fact, the process for improving our lives is exactly the same, regardless of whether we’re looking to manifest better health, a better body, or a better job. I wanted to speak to a specific audience with this book, but anyone who is on a journey to heal their life in another way can certainly be helped by it. It’s a book you’ll want to refer back to as your needs change throughout life. In fact, I used many of these principles in my recovery from cancer 17 years ago. I felt I could speak to an audience that was looking to change their bodies in a significant way because I faced that challenge too. I think the best kinds of books are those written by someone who’s “been there.”

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