12/27/2012 08:06 am ET Updated Feb 26, 2013


As we approach the end of 2012 and make plans about how we're going to tackle the new year, one of the biggest themes that draws attention is weight.

After partying it up with coworkers, inhaling the abundant supply of cookies and eggnog, and savoring Mom's signature guilty pleasures, our waistlines begin to voice the need for change. And many of us answer that need with renewed focus, a new gym membership, and a commitment to a proven diet plan -- anything to lose weight.

Given the importance of weight in our lives, especially around the new year, I wanted to share with you its exact definition.

Weight: 1) "A body's relative mass or the quantity of matter contained by it ... the heaviness of a person or thing"

As a fitness studio owner, this definition intrigues me -- pounds are not even mentioned! Weight is not about the scale; that's our society's interpretation. In fact, a person can be very fit and still be heavy. How? I propose the following reasoning through my definition of "emotional weight."

Emotional Weight: "A spirit's relative mass or the quantity of matter, the weight of words, contained by it, giving rise to a downward or upward force; the heaviness of a person or thing."

I see so many slim, trim people daily in New York City that look so heavy. Yes, they are in shape, but their auras and demeanors make it seem like they have packed on an additional hundred pounds! This emotional weight can be just as alarming and detrimental as unhealthy physical weight.

A healthy person isn't weighed down by emotions. Instead, his or her true spirit shines so clear and vibrantly that the world can't help but experience it.

And how we understand, articulate, and share our spirits with the world occurs through words. Let's say I wake up in the morning and tell myself, "I wish I were different, no one understands me," or "I will only be happy when I lose weight," or "I'm so beautiful, nothing can bring me down." Before I even eat my breakfast, I've already started packing on the weight of words. Over the years, we have all accumulated this emotional weight -- the weight of words -- and just like we should be aware of what we eat, we should also be aware of the exact words we digest into our spirits. One word has the power to weigh much more than that single slice of cake at the holiday party this year.

If we want to be healthy, fit and confident in the new year, we have to appreciate the weight of words. It requires strength and conviction to challenge the ideas of pounds, food, exercise and perfection that intermingle so seamlessly in our society. All of us will experience the ultimate weight transformation only when we start to lose this emotional weight.

Going on the latest diet will not necessarily help us lose physical weight, but a desire to take ownership of our lifestyle will. Similarly, going to therapy or dedicating our lives to yoga and meditation will not help us lose emotional weight, but a desire to take ownership of the words we use, have been exposed to, listen to, admire, and live by, will.

For most of us, hopping on a treadmill for 30 minutes is much easier than devoting 30 minutes on the phone call to our moms and owning up to the words we said to her in a fight. It requires clarity and drive to reflect on our emotional weight, and patience and accountability to understand the impact of the words and actions we live with and by. If you can start to lose the weight of words, you will lose emotional weight and be on a loving, long-lasting path to a healthy spirit.

After all, there is no perfect body, no perfect mind, and no perfect person. There is only the perfect you. Maybe you like to be pleasantly plump or maybe you like to be skinny -- none of it matters if your spirit is weighed down. Rather than chase after the subjective notions of body and mind prescribed to us, why not trim down our ideals and discover our light, beautiful, and individual spirits?

This New Year's, let's draw needed attention to and appreciate the simplicity and significance of the weight of words. Let's gain control over our emotional waistlines and reflect on the words and sayings that weigh us down and lift us up.

The first step on the 2013 emotional diet plan: Connect to one word that reflects your spirit or goal this year. Look up its dictionary definition and interpret it for your life. Own and live it. Let your one word shine and serve, as your ultimate scale this year -- don't let it get weighed down by other words.

For more by Rupa Mehta, click here.

For more on the spirit, click here.