Stop playing the victim. Stop getting in the way of realising your potential.

“Women are angels but when our wings are broken, we continue to fly, on broomsticks. We are flexible like that!” I love that quote but have no idea who said it!

As an obgyn, I am constantly amazed at the strength of a woman. How much we endure physically and emotionally. The various changes the body undergoes right from puberty; during pregnancy and through menopause. It is not easy to stay focused on fitness routines or pay attention to health and physical appearance. Besides hormonal swings, we have families, careers, hobbies, friends, competitors and loved ones to deal with. Yet we do. Beautifully. (Well, most of the time anyway.)

If you doubt yourself in any way, endure criticism or pointless comments, especially about your physical appearance; remember what an extraordinary job you are doing already. Remember to tell yourself that your life is yours alone. Others’ opinions are not always relevant.

Believe you are capable of great things,

Believe you have it within you.

Believe you are truly capable of healing yourselves just as you help and heal those around you.

For this to happen accept a simple truth: stop playing the victim, get over ourselves and stop getting in our own way of realising our potential.

Every one has a choice that we can exercise with respect to our own lives. We can choose not to eat unhealthy food, not to hibernate in front of the TV, not to let other people’s attitudes intrude on our peace of mind. It is a choice. Perhaps not an easy one, but a choice nevertheless

We are capable of amazing things. I have seen it in the most unusual women.

A poor village housewife doing a brilliant job of bringing up responsible, remarkable children,

An elite socialite with her own sense of responsibility to society, working tirelessly for a cause,

A busy doctor reinventing herself by losing an incredible amount of weight, improving her health and changing the direction of her life. I have seen the force of their spirit sustain them through the most difficult times. These and many more such women are the inspiration to try to be better versions of ourselves.

Don't let these get you down:

Self-pity: Never really got one anywhere. It’s all right to indulge once in a while. Get over it and move on, the quicker the better. Pessimistic thoughts can keep one from actually finding solutions to problems that may very well be real, but are certainly not hopeless. Most women today are confronted with playing several roles and expected to sustain high performance levels. If one really chooses to face up to one’s situation and work around the problem, it is possible to do so. Granted there may be other sacrifices to be made. These are choices that one makes.

Not being honest about lifestyle choices: We may have a tendency sometimes to avoid the truth. I have counselled several women who swear they “hardly eat anything”, “exercise all the time”, “have absolutely NO TIME to exercise” and so on. This may be far from the truth and can only prevent progress. It is best to accept responsibility and try to find honest solutions to real problems, not make-believe ones.

Not seizing an opportunity for improvement: Often, even when one is faced with an opportunity for change, one is unable to exploit it. Opportunities are available all the time. Be willing to face the challenge if there is to be any improvement. It is not always easy to change one’s lifestyle, eating habits, activity, thought process and so on. However, change is inevitable if there has to be progress.

Always looking for a quick fix or an easy way out: Nothing worthwhile comes easy. Believing in quick-fix solutions, vacillating from one extreme diet to another in the hope of quick weight loss, trying bizarre exercise plans, pills and potions are not long-term solutions. Nothing is worse for one’s morale than regression.

Dr. Sheela Nambiar is the author of Get Size Wise. E-mail: drsheela@tfl-inc.com

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