By Lynn Bode, certified personal trainer
Special to NurseZone
Losing weight requires more than a physical commitment—the mental aspect is also vitally important. When it comes to fitness, the mind truly is a powerful thing.
Have doubts that there is a mind-body connection to wellness? Simply try this easy test: do a workout of your choice (running, walking, lifting weights) with your favorite pump-up music. Then do it a separate time with no music at all.
You'll quickly see how the simplicity of motivating music can help you go farther, faster or simply feel stronger during your routine. That's the power of your mind.
Why is the mind-body connection important to understand? Because the wrong mental approach to getting more fit can have powerful negative effects. A huge amount of dieters quit their weight loss plans because of psychological reasons.
What you think can create what you are. Your personal self-talk is crucial in determining whether or not you are successful at reaching your weight loss and fitness goals. Continual negative thoughts can create a self-fulfilling prophecy. If daily you bombard yourself with self-defeating thoughts, then eventually you will begin to believe them.
When you tell yourself such things as "I'm always going to be fat" or "I can't stop eating" or "I can't walk that mile," then naturally you'll start to believe the myths as factual. From there you have immediately set the stage for failure.
So, how can you dig out of the seemingly endless downward spiral of negative thoughts and feelings? Start with these six important psychological exercises:
Lynn Bode is a certified personal trainer who specializes in Internet-based fitness programs. She founded Workouts for You, which provides affordable online exercise programs that are custom-designed for each individual. Visit: www.workoutsforyou.com for free fitness tips and a sample workout program. Fitness professionals learn how to support your clients online, visit: www.trainerforce.com.
- Create a list of all the negative thoughts that you have about yourself.
Then create a second list of all the things that you like about yourself. Keep working on your positive list until it is much longer than your negative list.
We all tend to be our worst critics, so this can be a challenging exercise.
Write down even little things like "I can make a great cheese sandwich," or "I always get to work on time."
- Take your list of negatives and change all of them to positive potentials.
For example, instead of "I always fail at losing weight" change it to "I can succeed at weight loss." Or, instead of "I can't stop eating," change it to "I will control my portions." Destroy your negative list and only keep the new potentials list.
- Stop using these words: can't, won't, never. Replace them with: can, will,
- Forget the past. That piece of cake you ate yesterday is old news. Forget about it and move on. Live only in the present. You can't change what you did even an hour ago. All you can do is resolve to stay focused and committed right now and try to keep that focus tomorrow too.
- Stop making excuses for why you can't exercise and eat right. Start by making a list of all of your steadfast excuses and also all the reasons that you should workout. The list of reasons why you should exercise inarguably should be much longer. Post your list of reasons where you can see it daily.
- Stop the blame game. Promise to take self-responsibility. It's easy to blame your genes, your diet plan or even your family for your failed diet attempts. But not accepting full responsibility will simply keep you trapped in a repetitive loop of failures.