Have you tried (and failed) at so many diets that you have decided to stop trying and instead accept your overweight body? Well, I want to give you a reason to believe that losing weight is possible, even if you have given up on trying.
The problem most people run into is that they try to change the foods they eat, yet pay no attention to the internal dialogue that runs through their heads 24/7.
If weight loss has been a challenge for you, then your internal dialogue goes something like…
I cannot believe I am trying another diet. This is probably going to end in failure like the rest of my diets. I already feel hungry. Why do I do this, I am always miserable and if this is what healthy feels like, then I would rather stay they way I am.
It is never the brownie or french fries that end a diet, it is this internal dialogue that convinces you that healthy eating is not worth it.
The internal dialogue always wins because you do in fact feel bad when you change your diet, even if that change is from junk foods to superfoods.
The answer lies in the chemistry of your thoughts.
When you do something over and over again (like driving your car) your brain builds neurochemical pathways that help you remember this pattern. That way the next time you do (or think about doing) the same action your brain does not have to work as hard.
Therefore, habits are actually chemically perpetuated.
When you go cold turkey and try to change your diet overnight because you saw a new diet book on the Best Seller’s list, your body does not know exactly what is going on, but it knows it is no longer allowed to follow its nice, comfortable habit pattern.
Your body and your brain are not happy because they are not getting their typical bathing of chemicals. So instead of giving up, they produce more chemicals to try and convince you that you want to eat the chili cheese dog and leave the salad to rot.
So you have a couple of options:
1. You can stick it out, handcuff your hands behind your back and wait for the flood of chemicals associated with your old habits to quiet down. This will work, by the way, but you will have to weather some pretty harsh withdrawal symptoms.
2. You could reprogram your brain ahead of your diet change and ease into success.
Are you interested in option 2? Good, let me explain how it works and give you an example from my personal life to illustrate just how amazing this change can be.
How to change your habits:
Your habits were created by you based on past thoughts and actions. So, you can create new, more beneficial habits in the same way.
Therefore, you need to conjure up a very clear image of what you want to accomplish and then feel the great feelings that come with reaching your goal. You then want to run this mind movie through your head many times a day. I recommend a minimum of five times and that you do it with feeling.
If I have not yet lost you because this sounds way too silly, then I congratulate you. Listen, I am as scientific-minded as they come and this all sounded a bit ridiculous to me when I first heard the concept. Then I gave it a shot and here is the story of how I used this exact technique to finish my first marathon with an unbelievable result.
How Could This Happen? [Real-Life Example]
I had made a pact with myself that I would run a marathon by the time I turned 40. In my 39th year, I knew it was now or never, but I was not sure I could do it. After all, 26.2 miles is a long way.
So I went about training not only my body but also my mind.
To get my body in shape I followed a four-month training plan.
To get my mind in shape I came up with a mantra that I repeated to myself a minimum of 5 times a day every day for the four months leading up to the marathon.
The marathon was named the Flying Pig Marathon, so my mantra was this:
“I am absolutely certain in my ability to run the Flying Pig Marathon in 4:44.”
Why I choose to focus on running the marathon in 4 hours and 44 minutes, I do not know. It just felt right.
Speaking of feeling, I did not just repeat this phrase over and over again with a bland “get-it-done” attitude. I put emotion into it.
If I was in my house I would stand in front of a mirror and look myself in the eye while I said my phrase.
If I was out on a training run I would finish the last 50 feet with this phrase running through my head and a very clear image of me crossing the finish line, arms in the air and happy beyond belief as I looked up at the race clock in my imagination that read 4:44.
This image was so vivid in my mind that my arms would fly up in the air and tears would come to my eyes.
On race day I got to the start line, battled through grueling muscle cramps and unexpected heat and as I closed in on the finish line I looked up and saw 4:44 on the race clock. My body had matched what I created in my mind.
I share my whole marathon story in my book “Lose Weight without Losing Your Love Affair with Food“.
If you are feeling stuck in the diet-fail-diet cycle, I recommend you get a copy of the book from my publisher.
About the Author
Dr. Becky Gillaspy, DC graduated Summa Cum Laude with research honors from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1991.