To lose weight and get fit, you gotta believe

In order to convince your mind of success, you need to let it FEEL success.

My first job in the fitness industry was a group exercise instructor at the now defunct Bally Corp. I was assigned a beginner strength and cardio class specifically designed for overweight gym members.

At the start of my first class, I took participants through a ritual that I performed before each of my own workouts: We sat down, closed our eyes and spent three minutes visualizing how we wanted our bodies to look and feel. I told them to feel what it’s like to already have a strong, lean, healthy physique. “See it and believe it is your current body,” I said. Having built the body of their dreams in their minds, we would now use the upcoming workout to bring that body into physicality.

I opened my eyes to find a room full of people gawking at me like I was out of my gourd. Members were visibly uncomfortable with my brief meditative intro, and one woman stalked out. The next day, I was instructed by Bally management to “ditch the mind’s eye crap” and stick to the workouts. Begrudgingly, I obeyed.

What a shame. In my opinion, the single most important factor in succeeding with your healthy living program isn’t slashing calories, running on the treadmill or squatting your body weight. It’s using your mind to see the result, feel it, and finally, to believe it into existence.

Many clients come to me wanting to lose weight. Yet deep down, they don’t really believe they will succeed. For years, even decades, they’ve struggled and failed to reach their goal. Why would it change now? Sure, they’ll try again, but that insidious voice in their head tells them it’s not going to happen.

What to do? You need to get your mind on board. If you don’t believe you’re going to succeed, you won’t. In order to convince your mind of success, you need to let it FEEL success. I have my clients use the following technique, and I’ve used it many times myself.

Create a focus board. Put empowering, uplifting success phrases on a cork board. Make sure the wording is present tense, not past or future. Avoid any negative comments. Example: Do not write “I am finally rid of these Godforsaken thunder thighs.” Change it to “My legs are lean, sculpted and defined.”

Add motivating and energizing pictures. If you struggle to eat healthy, put appealing color photos of fruits, veggies and whatnot, perhaps next to the phrase “I love eating healthy and taking care of my body.” Are you wanting less flab on your arms? Put a photo of toned arms on the board — but keep the face out of it (unless it’s your own). I don’t want you to start comparing yourself to the person whose photo you stuck to the board.

Once the board is complete, pick out some music which really gets you pumped and excited. Blare it through the house while you spend five minutes each morning gazing at the board and taking it in as your reality. Review the board again when you retire at night (perhaps minus the booming music). Glance at it throughout the day, if possible. If you get bored with the pictures and words, switch them up.

Putting these phrases and images into your head each morning and night goes a long way in keeping you on track to reach your goal.

This is not woo-woo, mumbo-jumbo, New-Age nonsense; it’s a very powerful tool for success — and for anyone who continuously struggles to lose weight or adhere to a fitness program, belief is likely the missing piece.

If you are struggling to lose weight, give my method a whirl. You have nothing to lose by trying, except body fat.

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