• Taking charge of our health is as much as matter of mind as it is body

  • Pranita Salunke explores the role of self-limiting beliefs in terms of achieving our health goals

  • We have both therapists and coaches who can support you in your health journey. Find your therapist here and coach here 

Our beliefs are the blueprint that direct our lives and whether we have success or failure. There are two types of beliefs that guide your life’s decision: conscious and subconscious.

Conscious beliefs are easier to recognise and change. However, subconscious beliefs are deeply-rooted in our being and are influenced by factors such as early childhood and the environment around us, and are therefore harder to recognise and change.

Beliefs determine our thoughts, emotions, and behaviours. Positive beliefs can create positive life experiences, but negative beliefs can cause a limitation in the success you enjoy in all areas your life, including your pursuit of a healthy lifestyle.

Beliefs turn into self-fulfilling predictions

Negative health beliefs lead to unhealthy lifestyle habits. And unhealthy lifestyle habits produce negative results that strengthen your original negative healthy beliefs. It's a vicious cycle that can be tough to break.

Some of the negative beliefs I have heard when working with my clients include:

  • “I love my food”
  • “It is hard to change”
  • “I am too old to change”
  • “I don’t have the right knowledge”
  • “I am too lazy to change”
  • “It’s genetic (overweight, diabetes, heart disease or any other lifestyle disease) and therefore I am doomed to get it”

Can you relate any of those beliefs yourself?

These beliefs generate a state of disempowerment and disconnection from our desire goals of a healthy lifestyle. When you think that it is not possible to succeed in a healthy lifestyle, that is hard to change – you end up procrastinating before taking positive actions such as going for walk, cooking healthy meals or quitting smoking. From the disempowered state, you may prioritise your work over your sleep staying up late to complete other responsibilities. 

How to change your self-limiting beliefs

At the core of any negative beliefs, there are primary beliefs of “I am not lovable, I am unworthy and I am not deserving.” All other negative beliefs are a side-effect of this primary belief, which often has its roots deep into your childhood. This can make it very hard to change.

Therefore, the first step to creating empowering beliefs that will help you to lead a healthy lifestyle is to increase your self-esteem. By making a list of all your positive qualities, strengths and surrounding yourself with supportive loving people you will soon regain your sense of self-worth.

Then, take some time to identify the limiting beliefs that are creating negative results in your life. For example, you may believe that it is really hard to lose weight, and as a result, you are overweight and find it hard to eat healthily.

Next, challenge that belief by asking questions such as, is it really true? What if the opposite is true?

So in this case, what if, achieving your ideal body weight is easy? What would you do if it was easy? Then write your ideas: If it was easy…

  • I will start cooking and eating at home, rather than buying pre-packed lunches and takeaways.
  • I will find the support group to give me guidance and accountability.
  • I will wake up 20 min early to go for a brisk walk.

This way, when you challenge your limiting beliefs and imagine the dream reality you can create a possibility mindset. This empowers you to take small steps, small behaviours towards your ideal dream. Those behaviours lead to small wins, therefore positive emotions, which you can celebrate to strengthen new positive beliefs.

Breakthrough the limiting beliefs that are keeping you stuck. There is enough evidence in the world that optimum health is always a possibility for all of us who strive to reach that level.

So, I welcome you to choose to believe that: “I am in the process of achieving my dream health, and the process of making a positive lifestyle change is easy and joyful.”

Pranita Salunke is a preventative cardiology specialist and occupational therapist. Her new book, Vitality: A Healthy and Happy Heart is out now

Further reading

3 steps to challenge your self-limiting beliefs

Eating for a healthy mind-gut connection

7 thinking traps that hinder a healthy relationship with food

Why healthy weight loss is an issue of mind and body