Friday, February 25, 2011

Change your body by changing your mind.

To lose weight, the most important thing you have to change is not your:

eating habits

exercise patterns

social relationships

alcohol intake.

To lose weight, the most important thing you have to change is your:


I don't know if I have ever come right out and said this, but I know it has been implied and demonstrated in all of my posts.  The most important thing I did when I decided I wanted to lose weight and keep it off was CHANGING MY MIND.  The thoughts I had surrounding food were unhealthy and I needed to change those thoughts.  The thoughts I had surrounding exercise's relationship to health were uninformed and I had to change those thoughts.

It was not simply about exercising and going on a diet! OMGosh, if it were that simple, I would have been successful in the past. 

I know this seems so obvious but sometimes the obvious needs to be stated.  I feel I need to write and disseminate this because several people have been asking me, as of late, for advice and to share with them how I have been able to accomplish what I have regarding weight loss.  Of course I provide practical tips and suggestions, but if you are not willing to change your mind, NONE of what I have to say will work for you--in fact, you will only stare at me blankly and decide in your mind, before I finish, that you can't do what I have done (when really, ANYBODY can do what I have done).  If you are not willing to trade unhealthy thoughts (which lead to unhealthy actions), for healthy ones, then you will not achieve long lasting weight loss, or health for that matter.  Yes, you may lose weight, but because you haven't changed your mind and your thought patterns, when the weight is gone, you will revert back to what you used to think (and do) and gain the weight right back.  You want to change your body permanently? Then change your thoughts permanently.

Prior to my weight loss, I ate out a lot and rarely went to the gym (except when I had an unexpected bout of motivation or energy).  But, what thinking led me to do this? I thought I didn't have time to cook or eat healthy, that picking up something on the go was alright, and that "healthier" choices like Subway or Panera Bread were ok.  I knew breakfast was the most important meal of the day but because my sleep patterns were so off and fixing breakfast was so time consuming, I rarely prepared anything. Coupled with these eating habits, I thought going to gym "made up" for my nutritional mistakes and that  If I worked out hard and long, I'd be alright.  My eating and exercise habits were completely out of whack.

I had to change my THOUGHTS!

Food became FUEL.  Just like your car needs gas, your body needs fuel. Your car can be "tricked" out to the fullest, but if you don't give it fuel, you aren't going ANYWHERE. And, some fuel leaves deposits or residue in your engine, making your car less efficient.  Therefore, the quality of fuel matters as well! If you are driving a Mercedes, you can only use the highest grade gasoline. Well, the human body is better than a BENTLEY and it DESERVES the highest quality fuel you can afford.

Exercise became an ADDED BONUS.  Don't get me wrong! Exercise, to me, is important and I will continue to be engaged in some form of exercise the rest of my life, but I realized exercise, alone, will not transform my health.  No, proper nutrition does that.  Exercise has many added benefits: it improves the health of all of your body systems, it makes you feel good, and it can even help you sculpt and tone muscles.  However, exercise IMPROVES upon, it does not CREATE health. If your health is poor, vigorous exercise, alone, will not change that.

I could go on and on about this subject, but one thing is for sure: if you want to lose weight, start by changing your mind! Here's a little task (see mine below to get an idea) to get you going.
  • List three areas of unhealthiness in your life.  
  • Think about what health would look like in each area.  
  • Brainstorm ways to move toward healthiness in each area.  
  • Pick two or three to implement and GET TO IT!  

You change your mind, by acting.  Act healthy and you will BE HEALTHY!

Crystal's example [BE SPECIFIC! No one has to see this but you]

Three areas of unhealthiness in my life (prior to 90lb weight loss):
  1. Eating out 2-3 times a day
  2. Working out to "fix" poor eating habits--bouts of working out here and there
  3. Varied sleep pattern--sometimes too little sleep, sometimes too much sleep, never regular
What health would like in this area:
  1. Eat out minimally and make better choices when eating out
  2. Exercise 3-4 times a week for 30-45 minutes
  3. Get eight hours of sleep
Brainstorm steps toward healthiness:
  1. Commit to eating breakfast
  2. Pack a lunch
  3. Cook dinner meals on weekend and eat leftovers for lunch and dinner
  4. Pack healthy snacks
  5. Join a group exercise program with accountability
  6. Prioritize daily activities to get in bed at decent hour
  7. Be intentional about bed time
Two or three to implement (what I implemented when I first started):
  • Commit to eating breakfast
  • Pack a lunch
  • Join a group exercise program with accountability
I also challenged myself to QUIT eating out altogether. That worked for me, might not for everybody. I also shared what I was doing with two good friends.

So one more time:

You change your mind, by acting.  Act healthy and you will BE HEALTHY!

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