You’ve probably heard about the Law of Attraction, positive thinking and using visualization to help reach your goals, perhaps you’ve already brushed these off as a waste of time. It’s not going to help you lose weight is it? But what if I told you it WOULD?
A surprising fact is that many conditions can be improved by visualization and weight loss is one of them. It works like this: you keep a vision in your mind of how you want your body to look, and subconsciously you will begin acting in a way that will go in that direction. You become much more positive about your body, more accepting of your diet or fitness regime, and you will reach your weight goals more quickly and easily.
Effecting change through visualizing desired outcomes has become more and more acceptable in recent years with the rise of mindfulness and a shift in focus to our own personal well-being. Psychologists do not understand exactly how it works but clearly the mind and body are not as separate as we often believe. It seems that if you truly want something it is more likely to happen – provided of course that it is something that is possible, and within your control. Visualization helps us to truly want to lose weight by creating a clear and happy picture of our fitter bodies. Without this we can often put psychological traps in our own path.
Many people who are overweight believe they cannot lose weight. Sometimes you may say it out loud, or hear friends say it about themselves. It was one of those things I often heard when I was at Slimming World: “you can’t eat all that when your dieting”. Well they were wrong, I could and I did but for some people this negativity settles itself into your mind, puts the kettle on and settles down nice and cosy on the ‘mind sofa’. These negative beliefs then stay in the subconscious mind and influences our behavior.
Someone who believes it is impossible for her to lose weight will be constantly battling her own negativity when she is trying to diet. Her mind will be constantly telling her there is no point dieting, she cannot lose weight so she should just go ahead and eat everything she wants. Just the same as the dieter who always begins their diet on a Monday and if things go wrong mid-week they allow themselves to go off track saying “Oh well, I’ll start again on Monday”. In these circumstances visualization is the strongest technique that we can use to overcome these negative thoughts and impulses (apart from a weight loss hypnotherapy session with me that is … sorry, shameless plug!).
If you are plagued by negativity either from your own mind or from the reactions of friends and family to your diet, go ahead and visualize yourself at your desired weight as often as you can. Make a mental picture of yourself at your ideal weight, see it clearly in your mind in ful colour. Hear the positive compliments people pay you on your new shape and how well you’ve done. Notice what you are wearing and what you are doing on in this imaginary scene and notice how you feel inside to have reached this goal. Make the visions strong and really let yourself experience the positive emotions. It works on the same level as all those negative voices and can annihilate their influence like nothing else can.
It is important to practice this visualization technique every day – morning and evening if you can. You just need to take a few minutes in a quiet place and keep an image in your mind of your body at its ideal weight. Some people can do this easily, others need some help. If you have a photograph of yourself at your ideal weight in the past, you may find it easier to look at that. Or use a photo from a magazine but cut off the person’s face. You need to visualize your own body, but thinner.
You can also visualize from the inside. Close your eyes and let your awareness focus on a part of your body – for example, your right thigh. Imagine it slowly becoming thinner in your mind’s eye. Then move to the other thigh, and on through the body. It may help to start at the feet and move up towards the head, or vice versa.
As you go about your work or daily chores, think of yourself as already at your ideal weight. Create your own affirmations and repeat them often, always in the present tense (“I am glad to be healthy, fit and slim”, “I feel amazing today”, not “I will …”). Enjoy the feeling of having a positive self-image. Over time, this will help you to keep to your weight loss plan. You will find that fatty foods are less attractive and exercise is more enjoyable.
While your weight loss will of course be gradual, the wonderful thing about visualization is that it gives you a new body image right away. Use visualization and weight loss to make you happier right now, today and don’t forget to let me know how this works out for you!