02/21/2012 09:14 EST | Updated 04/22/2012 05:12 EDT

10 Ways to Find Yourself Again

For the past decade, I have worked in the weight loss field writing books and seeing private clients in my clinics. I have been fortunate to work with literally thousands over the years, helping them transform to a new level of health. In this area of work, it is common for me to hear stories of women (and some men) who have "lost themselves" along the way. Their once vibrant, energetic self has been replaced with feelings of fatigue, bloating, mental fogginess, depression and/or a feeling of heaviness.

If you feel like the hectic pace of life has taken over due to stress, kids, work or money, leaving little time for you, it is time to make a change. It does not matter what age you are or what tax bracket you fall into -- you can and will get your energetic, fit "best" self back.

In addition to exercise and lifestyle changes, I have found dietary changes to be hugely effective in getting YOU back. Why? Because as nutritional pioneer Adele Davis so eloquently spoke, "We are indeed much more than we eat, but what we eat can help us to become much more than who we are."

Whether you implement the steps below on a one-by-one basis or all together, you will quickly notice a difference. Without even being aware, the feeling of health and wellness will wash over you once again and the lightness of feeling like your very best self will emerge.

The 10 steps to finding yourself again include:

  1. Wake up early to meditate, journal, stretch, pray or be alone. There is a "magic" in the morning hours that cannot be captured later in the day. As a mother of two busy little children, waking up and being alone in the morning is part of my "happy time."
  2. Maintain a healthy body mass index. The feeling of being overweight can affect you in many areas -- spiritually, physically and emotionally.
  3. Before beginning another diet, ask yourself the question, "Can I see myself following a version of this program within a five-year period?" The one thing the body hates more than being over weight is yo-yo dieting. If the dietary approach is overly restrictive, the chances of keeping the weight off are lower.
  4. Avoid white sugar at all costs -- it is an energy zapper and is a one-way ticket to weight gain (especially in the tummy area).
  5. You must move. Exercise is key to lowering stress, losing weight and feeing energetic. If you cannot "hit a gym," walk more, take the stairs, invest in piece of home equipment or do a yoga tape three to five times per week.
  6. Commit to drinking two litres of water per day -- it is an energy "game changer."
  7. Fill in the following sentence, "I am the happiest when I am..." Follow that lead. It will take you to your bliss.
  8. Avoid eating big dinners. The body does not want to digest large amounts of food at night. As a general rule, "Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper," Adele Davis said.
  9. Lift weights -- it is a great way to lower your cortisol (stress hormone) levels. Try to lift weights that are five to 10 per cent heavier than you are normally used to.
  10. Focus on what you are grateful for. The more you focus on gratitude, the more joy you will bring into your life and find you again.

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