Weight Loss Helped By Mind Over Body
by Mary Desaulniers
To increase the success rate of any weight management program, we have to shift our thinking of weight loss as something that suggests deprivation, hunger or loss, to something that suggests growth, development, and gain.
Weight loss is not loss, but the building of a lean, powerful body. Losing weight is not losing at all, but gaining a newly reconfigured body.
The best way to do this is to enlist the power of your mind. Visualize yourself at your ideal weight. Focus on your slim and slender body, your well-shaped legs. Imagine yourself living a powerful, dynamic life. Would you be bingeing yourself to death?
Make this positive visualization of your ideal self a daily practice until you find it actually easy to see yourself as lean, strong and beautiful. Next time you feel like wolfing down a whole chocolate cake, shift your mind to that slender body and well-shaped legs.
Hunger is another word we need to reclaim. We think that we have to be hungry to be slim. That is not so at all. We just need to be able to differentiate between real hunger and emotional hunger. Take time out and ask yourself, "Am I really hungry?"
Think twice before putting anything in your mouth. If you decide that you are indeed hungry, then eat, but make sure that what you eat honors your body. Make sure it is nutritious food and not empty calories. If you decide the sense of deprivation you are feeling is emotional hunger, then the searching has to go deeper. Are you lonely? Angry? Stifled? Resentful? What is bothering you?
Decide if you will take this anger out on your body or take the more courageous route: have it out and come to terms with it. Speak out what it is that makes you mad, sad, uneasy. Don't be afraid to dig. The best things have come from the darkest pits of the earth.
Know yourself! Know when your most vulnerable moments are. Know when you are most susceptible to being sabotaged by your partner's sneer, your mother's disbelief, your sister's insistence that you don't have it in you. (Families are so supportive, aren't they?) Understand that your decision to change challenges their status quo and families are known to resist change (Don't rock the boat!). Once you understand where your Achilles' heel is, develop a list of strategies to deal with the issue when it rises.
Arm your mind: if you understand where they are coming from, it is easier to be less defensive and submissive. Arm your fridge: should you be swayed by these difficult moments to binge, have a whole fridge of allowable snacks so that even though you indulge in 2, 3 items, there is no harm done.
Plan your day ahead. If you must have a snack before bedtime, make sure that you have low-fat, high protein snacks accessible in the fridge so that you do not opt for what's left over from dinner instead. There is less likelihood that you will sabotage your weight loss program if you have nutritious and allowable snacks available at all times.
Eat 5-6 smaller meals a day (3 meals plus 2 snacks). Make your body think "abundance", and it will expend more calories. Do not skip meals as this makes you body go into "starvation mode" and your body will respond to that by shutting down your metabolism.
Measure yourself before you start your weight loss program and once a week after that. Measure your upper arms, chest, waist, hips, upper thighs, ankles, wrist. Record your measurements faithfully.
If you are following your weight loss program carefully, you will notice a change in measurements very quickly. You will lose in inches; your clothes will feel looser. This will give your mind positive reinforcement. Do not weigh yourself everyday. Your weight is not really an accurate measure of your progress because weight is dependent on time of day and hormonal fluctuations.
Exercise 4-5 times a week. Work towards doing 30 minutes of cardio (walking, running, cycling) and 15 minutes of weight training. Use visualization to make exercise an active part of the New Beautiful You.
Reward yourself in ways other than food. Buy a new dress. Go see a movie. Take a weekend trip. Go dancing. Enjoy the new lifestyle you have created for yourself. See it not as a short term goal; instead focus on making the changes lifelong habits. You will forever be eating well, exercising well, taking care of yourself so that you will look great, feel great, be great!
Be proud of yourself: you have trained your Body to be an extension of the Mind!
About the author: Mary Desaulniers has been a runner for 27 years, is a retired schoolteacher and writer.