Can You “Think Yourself Thin?” Maybe a Little

woman thinkingThe vast majority of Americans go on a diet more than once in their lives. We know we need to eat right to lose extra weight, but if we don’t follow through, the pounds return.

Finding the right eating plan for your lifestyle and tastes is one key to losing weight and keeping it off. Another key is your mental game—so start thinking the right thoughts!

Thoughts and Deeds

They say everything is created twice: first, before something becomes a physical reality, it is created in the mind. First comes belief and desire, next comes action and results.

When it comes to “thinking yourself thin,” it’s clear that simply thinking about the right eating and exercise plan alone is not enough. You’ll need actions to follow up with.

Science shows that thinking about the actions you’ll take and their potential results (or the consequences of not taking them) leads to more thoughtful action. So you can actually give yourself a better chance to create the results you’re seeking physically, by bringing your imagination into the mix.

Action and Fantasy

The power of the mind plays two vital roles in your quest to get and stay thin and fit:

  1. Your beliefs and perspective live in your mind, leading to the thoughts that motivate and direct you. Without believing in your ability to reach your goals, you’re unlikely to pursue them. And without the view that it is a highly desirable outcome for you to achieve what you’re working at, you’re unlikely to stay the course.
  2. Your imagination allows you to gain pleasure and satisfaction from the mere act of fantasizing about what it would be like to accomplish your goal. Studies have shown that mental thought patterns can affect cellular reactions—it appears at some level, your body doesn’t distinguish between what you experience and what you think about experiencing. Much like your heart may race in an emotional dream, your body may respond to what you picture in your head.

We often hear that accomplished artists see their statue in the stone before they begin carving, and athletes envision themselves winning before they compete. While the art or the trophy won’t just appear, having the right thoughts leading to efforts would seem to have a positive effect.

Naturally, what this means to your weight loss efforts will depend on all the actions you take to follow up with your hopes and plans. But taking a few steps to align your thinking with the right actions and results is a good practice to keep in mind:

What to Think About
  • Become a thoughtful steward of your body—do research to learn about your body type, your eating plan and your health and make yourself a priority
  • Align your mindset with that of a nutritionist and/or trainer—hear what the experts would tell you if you’re a client (or, become a client and listen to them!)
  • Plan for what you will do once you’re halfway to your goal, when you reach your goal, and for the long-term afterward—what’s in it for you & how will you handle it?
  • Visualize what you, and your life, looks like when you reach your goal—will you be able to play sports at the family picnic again, wear your mom’s wedding dress, etc.?
  • Imagine all the amazing benefits of reaching your goal—not only how you’ll look and feel, but perks like avoiding health risks, behaving confidently, being a role model
  • Imagine what goes wrong, too, when you don’t follow up your plans with actions—think about how you’d feel frustrated, disappointed, tired or have to start over
  • Believe in your efforts and your self-worth—know that your body weight or shape is not the determining factor of your value as a person…you decide on your values

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