Shea Vaughn: ‘East meets West’ is best philosophy for physical and fiscal well-being
Lugging around extra pounds can certainly weigh heavily on your budget. On average, obese Americans pay 42 percent more for health care than their lighter-weight counterparts, according to the National Institutes of Health. Private health insurers, Medicare and Medicaid — and all of their customers — feel the financial burden of obesity.
Shea Vaughn, the mother of actor Vince Vaughn and author of Breakthrough: The 5 Living Principles to Defeat Stress, Look Great, and Find Total Well-Being, wants to reshape Americans’ perspectives on fat and fitness in hopes of improving our physical and financial well-being. InsuranceQuotes.com caught up with Vaughn to get her thoughts on the costs of packing on pounds.
InsuranceQuotes.com: What do you think is the most important component to preventing obesity?
Shea Vaughn: I think Americans need to place more concentration on total wellness and develop an “East meets West” way of thinking that takes all aspects of life into consideration. We need to pay better attention not only to things like eating habits, food and exercise — which all affect weight — but mental and emotional components that also impact weight.
InsuranceQuotes.com: What mental or emotional components should we pay attention to?
Vaughn: We need to realize that everything we do is in a circle of wellness, and that includes how we handle stress and our mental and emotional approach to weight loss. When you start to include the mental and emotional perspective, the end result is an improved sense of well-being. And that translates into taking better care of your health and better managing your weight.
InsuranceQuotes.com: How can a person include the mental and emotional perspective that you believe to be important?
Vaughn: In addition to making sure you’re eating the right amount of calories and nutrients to manage weight, approach weight loss like it’s a commitment to yourself instead of something that’s on your wish list.
When you think about things like New Year’s resolutions or hopes of fitting into a bathing suit in the summer, most people approach weight loss and set goals from a wish-list frame of mind. You go into losing weight thinking “I wish I could lose 15 pounds.”
Instead, you should take more of an emotional approach and sign a mental contract with yourself. Tell yourself that you are committed to your own well-being and health, and that you’re accepting the responsibility to take charge of your life.
And don’t give yourself permission to fail. You should approach weight loss with the attitude that you’re going to succeed and will persevere until you do. “East meets West” is a bit of the “When things get tough, you get tougher” way of thinking.
InsuranceQuotes.com: What role does stress play in an “East meets West” way of thinking and losing weight?
Vaughn: It’s hard to effectively manage stress when you’re stressed out. So stress becomes a vicious cycle, because the more you try to manage it, the more stressed you become — and the lower the chance that you’re going to lose weight because you’re more inclined toward unhealthy eating and not exercising.
A mind-set that blends Eastern and Western philosophies doesn’t try to manage stress. You try to maintain balance. One way to do that is through daily meditation and time to reflect on the positives in your life instead of worrying or stressing out about the negatives like bills to pay and cleaning the house. Meditating for just 10 minutes a day takes the focus off things troubling you and lets you focus on things that are healthy.
InsuranceQuotes.com: How is this way of thinking beneficial for controlling weight and preventing obesity?
Vaughn: I think Americans in general have developed a dependency on the “easy fix” or easy way out. We’ve trained ourselves to think fast will work. And when it doesn’t, when we don’t lose 15 pounds in a month, we feel bad about ourselves for failing.
If you haven’t taken something positive away from the experience, you might never succeed at losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight. And you will likely spend less on health care, because this is prevention, it’s the equivalent of preventive procedures like routine physicals.
So “East meets West” lets you care for yourself and nurture yourself so you feel better and are healthier overall — not to mention you’re not overweight.