Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Your Mind Affects Your Fitness Weight Loss Goals

So you don’t feel like exercising today; you are too tired, you are too hungry, there is a great program on television, you want to hang out with your friends, you need to respond to emails and social media contacts or maybe you just need to clean your house.  There are so many excuses we give ourselves not to work out today or this week, but are these excuses really worth the opportunity to lose unwanted pounds, sculpt your body and or improve your health?  You have to recognize what these excuses really mean, and that is that it is simply a trick of your non conscious or some say the subconscious mind.
Why would your subconscious mind want to trick you into skipping your workouts?  The easy answer is that it wants to keep you at your current self, to keep you in your comfort zone.  When you first made a conscious decision to lose weight or re-sculpt your body, you were all hyped and excited about your new goal.  Unfortunately, this excitement may last 1 -2 weeks before you start coming up with excuses not to work out or you may just start forgetting to work out completely.  One month later, you have realized you haven’t worked out in a month.  What happened? 
Too keep from getting too technical in this area, I will try to explain this as simple as possible.  There are parts of your brain that respond to change and it does not like when you change your routine or when you attempt something new or hard.  One part of your brain, the amygdala , will literally release chemicals into your blood stream to signal discomfort.   Your brain will then signal negative thoughts or anti – goal thoughts to prevent you from continuing this new uncomfortable task or goal.   That is why you seem to find excuse after excuse on why you cannot work out until you finally stop your mission to change.  You should not underestimate the power of your subconscious mind because this part of your mind is what controls your daily habits.
Now don’t get mad at your brain for doing this, your brain is just trying to protect you and keep you comfortable, which is a good thing.  But when you are trying to change a habit or develop a new skill, this protection mechanism can be annoying.  Your brain is wired to learn something consciously and once you have learned it, it moves to your subconscious so that you are able to function without consciously thinking about every step of a particular task, which would tremendously slow you down for everyday life.
So how do you achieve your goal of losing weight or re-sculpting your body?  You do this by showing your subconscious mind who is the boss.  One thing to be aware is that you are not your thoughts.  Once you become aware that any habit that you try to change or new skill you try to develop will be fought by your non-conscious mind, you will have the upper hand. 
You must prove that you are serious about losing weight, changing your body or getting healthier.  In order to do this, you must reach the subconscious mind. 
Here are a couple of ways to ignore those anti-goal thoughts that prevent you from working out, losing weight, re-sculpting your body and feeling good about yourself:
Do not entertain thoughts of skipping your workouts.  Whenever they arise, (be prepared because they will arise) recognize the anti-goal thought and then ignore it. You can override the anti-goal thoughts in your mind.  While your mind is giving you excuses on why you should not workout, just put on your work out gear, get in the car, put the key in the ignition and drive to the gym.   Or, if you work out at home, cut on the television, put the DVD in the DVD player and push play or take whatever steps you would take to start your exercise routine.  Just let your subconscious mind continue to whine and complain while you go through the steps.  Once you get started, you usually start to enjoy yourself; sometimes these days can be your best work out days.  You will feel so much better about yourself knowing that you are truly on your journey of your fitness goal.
Program your mind for success.  Instead of getting upset about your unwanted pounds, hating your body, seeing yourself as fat; start seeing yourself how you want your body.   Visualize or imagine yourself at the weight and fitness level that you desire.  Use affirmations, pictures of inspiration or whatever inspirational , motivational material because you are not limited to the ways that you can obtain a positive body image for yourself.  DO NOT allow yourself to think anything negative about your body.  You cannot program your mind for the positive and still think negative.  This not woo- woo stuff; it is simply how your mind works, it is really another trick or power of your mind. 
You are literally bombarded with millions and billions bits of data at any moment, you cannot consciously keep up with all of that data, this is where your Reticular Activating System (RAS) in your brain kicks in and filters the data for you.  Your RAS determines what is important to you in any given moment and it determines what is important to you but what you are “feeding” it day in a day out.  Whatever you focus on consistently or your most dominate thoughts is what your RAS will filter for you and interpret with your subconscious mind as your true desire. 
This filtering and interpreting is always on and happening automatically.  It will cause you to take automatic actions to help you attain your goals, if you are thinking goal oriented thoughts.  You will start doing things to help you accomplish your goal without consciously thinking about it.  In terms of fitness for example, you will start to eat healthier, you will start to notice all kinds of information that will help or improve your fitness regimen and working out will be an automatic habit without resistance. 
Again, this is not woo-woo magical stuff, so do not expect instant results, it takes time to reprogram your mind for success.  Give yourself at least 30 days of positive body imaging; you should start to notice yourself making at least a few minor changes.  Of course, if you have not improved significantly in 30 days, then do another 30 days, if you need 30 more days, then add another 30.  In 90 days you should definitely see tremendous results.  30 -90 days may seem like a long time but it is better than failing at your fitness goals for another 365 days or more.
In summary, your fitness goals are attainable, you just have to show your mind that you are serious so that your conscious and subconscious mind can work on your together.  Once you have a clear picture of what your fitness goals are, implement a daily positive body imaging routine to reprogram your mind for your fitness success.  Give yourself time to see significant results on your weight loss or fitness journey.  Start with at least 30 – 90 days to see real and exciting results.  Remember your are feeding your RAS all the time, so the more you think about your positive fitness and weight goals, the faster the results.

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