The other day I heard the expression “combing the mirror”. It refers to our tendency to focus on changing external, superficial factors when we don’t like what we see, rather than changing ourselves on a deeper level.
When you want to lose weight, what do you do? Most people focus on changing how they eat and try to exercise more. While there is a direct correlation between weight loss and diet and activity levels, this isn’t the whole story.
There is a theory that our reality is a reflection of our internal state and this is certainly true when it comes to diet and exercise. Whether or not you are successful with a diet or exercise program depends on your internal state – your thoughts, beliefs and feelings.
You may know exactly how to eat to lose weight or how much exercise you should be doing, but that is quite irrelevant if your internal state is one of self loathing and negative belief patterns.
Before you change your diet and exercise routine, ask yourself these important questions first:
- How do I feel about my body and my self? Do I like it? Do I want to do good things for it and take care of it or do I want to punish it for being “bad”?
- How do I feel about exercise? What do I need to change or do in order to feel more positive about exercise?
- How do I feel about food? Does it make me feel powerless? Do I see it as a soothing balm for unpleasant emotions or boredom?
As you ponder these questions, you will probably become aware of some negative thoughts. Take out a sheet of paper and jot down one thought that you would like to change for each category (Body/Self, Exercise and Food). You should have a total of three negative or limiting beliefs.
Now, come up with a positive replacement thought for each one. For example, if your negative belief about exercise is that “it feels awful and I hate doing it”, you might replace it with “the right kind of exercise makes me feel good”.
Spend five minutes each morning reading your replacement thoughts. Close your eyes and say those thoughts to yourself as if they were 100% true. Really get into the feeling that those beliefs create. Imagine yourself having lost the weight, eating healthy and exercising regularly. What would that look like to you? How would you feel? Focus on that feeling.
What you are doing here is reprogramming your mind to accept the new beliefs and to anchor in the image and feeling of being healthy and energized. Throughout the day, particularly if you are about to make a poor food choice or skip your workout, bring this image and feeling to mind, reminding yourself of your new beliefs.
So if you are asking yourself “why can’t I lose weight?!”, notice if you are just “combing the mirror”. Once you make changes to your self on a deeper level, this will be reflected back to you in the form of self-love, joy, energy and yes, weight loss!