A new you in the New Year starts with focusing on what you want to gain, not lose


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Executive coach Linda Cobb, pictured with her fitness instructor Deborah Wall, prescribes to the belief that what you focus on gets bigger, so we need to quit focusing on excess weight and envision instead our improved health.

Linda Wiggins

Ever go on a diet and end up gaining weight instead? Certified executive coach and Melbourne Beach resident Linda Cobb has the answer to that paradox for all of us turning over a new leaf in the New Year.

“Dieting is a flawed model. The traditional way of dieting has us focusing on this thing we do not want called weight, and trying to push it away,” said Cobb, who speaks to boomer and senior customers of Health First Health Plans under contract to help improve health and lower risk and medical costs.

“The problem is that we get what we focus on, and whatever we focus on gets bigger.  Quite literally. It’s a perfect example of miscreating by focusing on something you don’t want.”

At age 62 and with a body most 20-somethings would envy, she is also an inspiration and role model as well as a coach. But rather than preach what most of us already know — eat less, exercise more — she partners with clients to create a roadmap to the desired outcome and holds them accountable for paths they choose on that map.

“It’s not your fault. Most of us were taught to fix things if there’s something we don’t want. But if you want to create positive results for yourself, you must identify what you do want. That’s a little harder because we can’t see it … we must imagine it.”

The first step is to decide what we want.

“If you want to lose weight, decide why you want that. Make a decision that you will go hiking with your grandchildren or you will lower your blood pressure to a certain number and imagine how good that will feel. It’s OK to begin by identifying what you don’t want. After all, that’s what usually gets your attention. You can see it and point to it. Just don’t stop there. Make sure you follow up by identifying what you do want.”

A good place to start is that you want to feel good, Cobb said, adding, with each choice placed in front of you, ask yourself, is this a choice that will forward me in that direction?

“Remember that as we age, everything we take in either nourishes us or depletes us, whether you eat it, see it or hear it. Be selective and choose only the things that nourish you,” said Cobb, who surrounds herself with people who also want to feel good.

One of those people is Deborah Wall, Cobb’s fitness instructor at Pro-Health & Fitness Center in Melbourne. Like Cobb, Wall, too, seems to have found the fountain of physical youth that leaves people in disbelief that she will be 59 in April.

“I only hope that I am half the positive influence on her that she is on me,” Wall said with a laugh. In addition to health and wellness, Cobb’s most popular areas of coaching are relationships, money and business success.

Cobb’s greatest message is on making the choices in all areas of our lives that lead to our happiness, and that starts with a peaceful, serene attitude of gratitude. She gives her clients daily exercises to calm the mind and envision and focus on the things we want, while the things we don’t want shrivel from inattention and disappear from our radar and our lives. With regard to people looking to make better choices in what they put in their mouths and put underfoot, what disappears may be excess weight from the scale.

“Most people say that I would be happy if I was just healthy,” Cobb said, “but the truth is that you have to be happy in order to be healthy.” 

Cobb, who has acted as caregiver for her own family members, is the author of “The  Thrive Guide for Caregivers: Tools for Preserving your Sanity, Energy, and Relationships.” For more information or to sign up to receive free wellness tips, go to lindacobb.com.