It always begins with enthusiasm and determination: “I’ll eat differently, I’ll work out, I know it will take time but I’m ready, I can do it”. And this enthusiasm often disappears after several weeks.
Even when you see the results and you’re proud of yourself, happy with the way you look and feel – it somehow isn’t a strong enough motivator.
You slip. You eat a bucket of ice cream on autopilot on a lonely evening. Or you skip a workout today, and the next time you tell yourself “Oh, it’s no big deal, I’m already fitter than I was, I can relax a bit now.”
And before you know it, you’re back to your old habits.
Putting an end to this struggle begins with understanding what exactly happens here and why you resist to work on something that YOU KNOW would be good for you.
Why Is Your Mind Working Against You?
It’s not that simple. For all it knows, your subconscious is actually HELPING you by not allowing you to lose weight.
Makes no sense? Yeah…
The thing is, your subconscious is responsible for many vital things – keeping you alive and protecting you would be its primary functions.
And that protective part is what causes the problem.
One of the things our subconscious is meant to protect is our self-image. It’s important because we need consistency in our values and beliefs in order to keep our identity.
Now, the important thing to note is that our subconscious doesn’t judge. It takes the information in, stores it and forms it into a program, and then it devotes its considerable power (remember, subconscious constitutes about 90% of our mind) to the continuation of behavior, belief, habit… it formed that way.
Thanks to that, you don’t have to think about how to ride a car.
But also thanks to that, you also have to deal with that mindless and stubborn part of you that needs to keep the system in which you’re unhappy with your body. Because it’s a big part of your identity. Your subconscious is afraid that if you’d lost pounds, you would also lose your identity.
Yeah, it’s catch 22. It keeps sabotaging you because it wants to protect you.
What You Can Do About It
OK, you obviously can’t reason with your subconscious. But you are smarter than it, so turn its ways into your favor.
You’ll always face this problem if your subconscious feels that you want to mess with your self-image. So in order to make it “allow” you lose weight, you need to simultaneously work on changing your internal mental image of yourself.
Simply put, it needs to accept a different version of you, the person you want to become, as the primary one, the one it needs to keep and protect from now on.
For example, if your usual reaction to your body so far has been “ugh it’s ugly, I hate it”, you need to change it to something more favorable. Now, if you all of a sudden started saying or consciously thinking “Oh I love my body, it’s beautiful” – it won’t fool it and you’ll probably make it even more stubborn.
Be sneaky about it.
Find a part of your body, a certain shape or angle you like, and start focusing on that part. Start wearing the clothes that make you feel good, that make you like what you see in the mirror (always focus on what you LIKE, and admire it all you want!), and slowly start reshaping your mental image of your body.
With the clothes, there’s a trick that would probably work for you too: there are always some pieces that make us look slimmer, so pick those as often as you can. The primary language of our subconscious is images, so use the image of yourself in the mirror – the image you like – to support this process.
Thinking yourself thin isn’t about pretending that you are something you still aren’t, but about tricking your mind into accepting it as a vision of something that’s possible, and on maintaining that image for as long as it takes for it to create a new mental image of your body.
There will be slips, accept it right from the start, just keep in mind to go back on track the moment you realize you’ve slipped.
This way, you’re getting the subconscious that protects you in a way that’s also beneficial to you. And, as your weight loss efforts will finally be aligned with what it wants for you, it will naturally go for healthier foods, for workouts and for a generally more productive and satisfying lifestyle.
Basically, you’ll be losing pounds without feeling the struggle.
And with this new self-image, you’re eliminating the risk of ever gaining back the pounds you’ve lost – your subconscious simply won’t let you!