When it comes to makeovers, Oprah knows one thing for sure. "If you want to look and feel your best, you have to make the complete mind, body and soul connection," she says. "That means you have to work from the inside out."
Best-selling author and spiritual counselor Kathy Freston has been an expert on inner makeovers since she went through one herself. "In my teenage years, I was filled with anxiety. I had tons of insecurity," she says. "I was one of those people who just wasn't comfortable in my own skin. I never felt like I was pretty enough or smart enough or interesting enough."
Kathy began modeling at age 17, but rather then boosting her confidence, Kathy says the industry made her insecurities worse. "The art director would lean into my face and point out my pimples, and they'd look at my waist and say that they were disappointed," she says. "I would be sent home from jobs."
Around that same time, Kathy says her addictive personality began to act up. She says she was smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, eating unhealthy foods and getting involved in destructive relationships.
"I had so much failure, and life kept clunking me on the head. I was forced to confront the structures within myself," she says. "So I started reading books about philosophy and spirituality. Of course, that's when life opened up. ... When I stopped looking for the results, everything just sort of appeared."
In Kathy's book Quantum Wellness, she describes her eight pillars of wellness, practices she believes are the staples of an engaged life.
The first pillar of wellness is meditation. "For anybody who is looking to change your life, I would absolutely recommend that [meditation] be the first thing that you do," Oprah says. "I think there are a lot of misnomers about what it is. People think it's something that it isn't. ... Meditation is not religious."
At the heart of meditation is stillness, Kathy says. "It's really just getting quiet, going inside and connecting to that inner light. For some people, it's religious and spiritual, connecting to that higher power. For other people, it's just a matter of becoming present."
Kathy says meditation rescued her in her darkest hour. "I was constantly beating myself up, trying to figure out what was wrong with me and how to change it," she says. "Meditation pulled me into my center."
There's one wellness practice that Kathy says should be observed above all others. "The mother of all pillars is conscious eating," she says. "It doesn't only make a difference to our own personal health and well-being, but conscious eating means you stay aware of where your food comes from, how the animals are treated and how the environment is affected by the foods that you eat. You take in the energy of whatever went into creating that food."See how eating consciously has become a part of Kathy's life
Kathy is a vegan, which means she doesn't eat meat, eggs, or dairy. "Nobody was harmed—that's conscious eating," she says. "If I want to be someone with spiritual integrity, I have to think about the principles that I want to adhere to—compassion, kindness, mercy and the alleviating of suffering when I see it. ... I thought, 'If I want to further myself on my spiritual path, as well as my health path, I need to have more integrity. I need to be conscious about it.'"
Exercise is another pillar of wellness. Kathy suggests engaging in physical activity three to six times a week for 30 minutes a day. "It's good for your body, mind and spirit," Kathy says. "Especially when you're outside."
The fourth pillar of wellness is visualization. "It's like creating a blueprint for the way I want to become and setting down the intention," Kathy says. "I journal in my notebook, and I think about where I want to go, who I want to be. Then, I just need to close my eyes and see the breakthrough happening."
Spiritual practice is Kathy's fifth pillar of wellness. Kathy keeps a statue of Kuan Yin in her home, who she says is the Chinese deity for compassion. "I have her in my bedroom because I always want to be reminded that it's not just about me," she says. "So as much as I can, [I try] to be aware of the suffering that's all around and to be compassionate. I think that's the best spiritual practice anyone can have."
To achieve the sixth pillar of wellness—self-work—Kathy says she is constantly educating herself. "What I do is I read all the time, whether it's on nutrition or spirituality or emotional well-being," she says. "That means going inside and learning where you're stuck and pushing yourself past what's comfortable. And then I choose a book that's going to help me push through those boundaries."
Service is Kathy's seventh pillar of wellness. "When I was feeling depressed and like life wasn't going my way, I started volunteering and doing service, and things had a way of just turning around," she says. "I felt like I didn't get fixated on my own self-centered fear, and I felt like there was an abundance in the universe that I was participating in. And that made me feel really good."
Fun activities are the last pillar of wellness. It may seem simple, but Kathy says it's still important. "Doing something fun just kind of loosens up your energy, makes you feel grateful for everything" she says. "And you have levity in your life, which is important. Once a day, I do something fun, whether just rocking out to music or painting."
If you only focus on work, Kathy says you lose the spirit inside. "Get back to that spirit," she says. "That spirit actually is the thing that generates the good ideas, the inspiration."
To jump-start your self-makeover, Kathy says a 21-day cleanse can improve the way you look and feel. "We just take a few things that are irritating to our bodies and we eliminate them for any time up [to] 21 days," she says. "And if that's too hard for you, literally take three days or a week or two weeks." Kathy stresses that it's not about perfection. "Go as far into it as you can," she says.
To follow the 21-day cleanse, Kathy says to eliminate the following from your diet:
- Animal products
So what's left to eat? "Everything that is so healthy," Kathy says. "I say if you can give up a few things for the period of the cleanse, your body will learn to regenerate and produce the brain chemicals it needs, lose the taste addictions it has."
Foods Kathy says are great to eat on the cleanse include beans, grains, nuts, avocado, soy, fruits without a high gylcemic index (nothing too sweet) and vegetables. Kathy isn't on the cleanse at all times—just once or twice a year. See what Kathy eats on a typical day.
Oprah commits to trying the 21-day cleanse for herself. See what happens and how she feels by reading her blogs
about her journey. Plus, find the recipes and menu plans
of what she'll eat!
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