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The Full Mind Weigh® to Lifelong Weight Management, a program of the Institute for Lifelong Weight Management – teaching you the skills you need to keep the weight off forever!

A. What is Zest?

Do you know, or know of, anyone who “lives live to the fullest”?

Being zestful is about approaching life with a sense of energy, excitement and enthusiasm. You put in 110% to whatever you do. You approach life with a sense of adventure. You are basically “high on life”.

People who are zestful may do things like go out dancing simply for the sheer joy of it, or explore new things just for fun. They look excited or joyful. When you’re around them, you can feel their energy. They do extraordinary things because their zest allows them to overcome any fear or hesitation which might otherwise be there.

Synonyms for zest include: enthusiasm, relishing, gusto, fervor, passion, zeal, pep, exuberance, vitality, vigor, and oomph.

Being zestful is not about a false kind of euphoria. It’s about living a life that is pleasurable and meaningful, and in which you are deeply engaged.

B. Why is it important to cultivate zest?

Zestful people rank highly on overall emotional and physical wellness. They have a very high degree of life satisfaction. In recent research, zest was ranked second after hope in terms of having the highest correlation to life satisfaction, with gratitude following close behind. Zestful people embrace life and its experiences fully. To put it plainly, they enjoy life more.

In addition, they are happier at work, involved in their work, and committed to their work. They experience a high degree of work satisfaction, and gain a sense of meaning from the work that they do. In research studies, zest in the workplace has been associated with having a sense of finding your calling and feeling a sense of passion from your work. As a result, zestful people tend to have a higher level of job performance and experience less work stress. They take fewer sick days and are disinclined to retire.

C. How do I cultivate zest?

Here are some science-backed recommendations for cultivating zest:

  • Experience the great outdoors.
    • Simply being in nature – even sitting down – has been shown to make us feel an increased sense of energy and enthusiasm.
  • Take care of your body and its needs.
    • Eat right, don’t skimp on sleep, and find a way to exercise that feels like fun. Try walking or biking for a cause, rock-climbing or ballroom dance if the gym isn’t your thing.
  • Get into the habit of savoring.
    • Savoring is about paying complete attention to happy events and sensory experiences. You know the saying, “Don’t forget to stop and smell the roses”? This is what savoring means. For that moment where you’re smelling the rose, nothing else exists – just you and the rose. You are fully engaged and absorbed with its scent and nothing else whatsoever.
  • Work on seeing the glass as (at least) half-full.
    • In other words, build a sense of optimism. If you find yourself thinking about what could go wrong, ask yourself what could go right. If you can’t buy into it yet, don’t worry. Simply experiment with a new way of thinking and see how you feel. Be outrageous as you ponder what could go right – let your imagination run wild.
  • Be connected – and I’m not talking about the Internet here.
    • Spend time with the people you’ve been too busy for, call that old friend you’ve been meaning to call for months, or go out and meet some new people. Join a team or a club, have new conversations with new and old friends, and share laughs.
  • Avoid burnout.
    • Ask yourself how much time you’re spending on activities which build up (versus drain) your energy, and think about what you can do to adjust the balance.
  • Have more fun
    • Create a life that is fun and engaging by including more challenges (even small ones) in your daily routine, and more new, exciting activities.

D. How will becoming more zestful help me maintain my weight loss?

It’s all about that increased degree of life satisfaction – and work satisfaction. As you experience more happiness, excitement and joy in life, you’re going to be less inclined to turn to food to deal with negative emotions since you’re experiencing them less and less.

You’re more likely to spend your time fully engaged in life, enjoying adventures and experiences, than you are eating.

Full-throttle living is an antidote to emotional eating, stress eating, comfort eating, boredom eating, eating for “fun”, or eating for “entertainment”.

Think about it: are you out engaging fully in life, or are you more likely to be trance-eating ice-cream in front of the refrigerator?

Get the idea?

“If gratitude is for the past, hope is for the future, zest, therefore, is for the present.” – Park, Peterson & Seligman, 2004

I’d love to hear your ideas about becoming more zestful, and your life experiences as you try out these ideas. Please share by commenting on this post.

If you’re feeling stuck in terms of reaching your goals, coaching can help move you forward. If you’re interested in getting unstuck, contact me for details:

With your continued health in mind,

Doreen Lerner, Ph.D.

Director, Institute for Lifelong Weight Management

Creator, The Full Mind Weigh® to Lifelong Weight Management

The Institute for Lifelong Weight Management provides education and training. The Full Mind Weigh® is strictly an educational program and is not a substitute for medical or psychological evaluation or treatment. If you think you may be suffering from an eating disorder, please consult with a qualified mental health professional who is trained to evaluate and treat eating disorders.