Louise had failed one more time; this was diet number 565 that didn’t work. Louise came from a small village in Italy where white bread, pasta and high fat food was served daily in her home. Even though Louise knew that this kind of food did not fit her lifestyle of sitting in front of a computer all day, she couldn’t imagine her life without her family’s traditional dishes.
If you knew how to succeed in reaching your goals, would you put your dreams into action?
If you knew you needed neither motivation nor self-discipline to maintain a new lifestyle, would you do it?
If the answer to these questions is a resounding ‘Yes’, then here is an easy way to achieve optimum health and well-being.
If you are like Louise and millions of others who have tried diet after diet without any significant results, you have failed to reprogram your brain to a healthier lifestyle.
If you get behind the wheel of a car without knowing how to drive, you are far more likely to cause an accident. The same goes for any skill. If you lack proper education and practice, you are less likely to be successful in that particular area. Changing your lifestyle is no different. It takes education and practice to change your lifestyle. If you know how to, it is as easy as learning how to drive a car.
Remember how difficult it was when you sat behind the wheel for the first time? You had to focus all your efforts on driving to avoid accidents. Now, if you think about how much effort and attention is required for you to drive today, you realize that hardly any effort goes into it. The reason is because you have created neuro-pathways in your brain that control your driving without any conscious effort. Whenever you sit behind the wheel your brain goes on “automatic pilot”. You can learn to use the same techniques to implement long-lasting dietary and lifestyle changes into your life.
If you are like Louise and have been eating unhealthily all of your life you find comfort in eating certain food. You have created neuro-pathways in your brain that basically control that behaviour.
Neuro-pathways are created in the brain through repeated behavior or thoughts until they become automatic. Most of our neuro-pathways are formed when we are children and are best described as habits. Anything you do repeatedly, either as a part of your daily routine or as a response to some external or internal cue, becomes a habit. The more you repeat that same behaviour, response or thoughts, the more you strengthen the neuro associations in your brain.
It is said that repetition is the key to success and it is also true of failure. Repeating a certain destructive behavior or thought can have a deep rooted effect on who you become, how you feel, how you think and how you behave.
At this point you might think you are doomed as you already have neuropath ways that are now preventing you from achieving your goal of losing weight and becoming healthier. The good news is that hardwired neuropath ways can be changed, old ones can be deleted and new ones can be formed instead. In fact we do it all the time.
Whenever you learn something new and you pay attention to it you are creating a new neuro-pathway and whenever you stop doing something you have done for long time you delete another.
There are three reasons most people fail when attempting to change their lifestyle or other behavior patterns. Firstly people attempt to create too many new neuro-pathways at once, that is, they start exercising vigorously along with changing all their eating habits at the same time. Secondly people don’t give themselves enough time to eliminate old integrated behavior patterns; they cut out all the bad things they love, thinking it is the only way to go. This results in a feeling of deprivation, loss and lack of pleasure. Thirdly People tend to change their old comfortable habits to new uncomfortable habits and that doesn’t work. Who wants to feel dead after their first session in the gym? And who wants to eat nasty unflavored food even for a day?
Remember this, how certain food makes you feel is learned, it is part of how you have programmed your subconscious mind. Anytime you wish you can reprogram your subconscious mind to feel differently about that specific food. You can learn to enjoy a healthy lifestyle in the same way you learned how to drive a car.
A new behavior and thinking pattern can be integrated in only 30 days, if repeated daily. When new neuro-pathways are created this way, they become as powerful and easy to maintain as the old ones.
10 STEPS TOWARDS A NEW AND BETTER LIFESTYLE:
Decide what you want. How much weight you want to lose, what size of clothes do you want to fit in, how fit do you want to become, how do you want to look like and how do you want to feel? You need to have a clear picture of what you want before you start. All creations start with a thought and your weight loss is no different.
Analyze if there is anything standing in the way of achieving your goal right now? Do you lack time, motivation or knowledge? Is your physical health standing in your way? Does your circumstance make it difficult for you to change your lifestyle? Remember if there is a will there is a way. Try to find solutions to what is standing in your way.
Analyze what is your benefit of unhealthy eating habits and having an unhealthy lifestyle. Does food help you to relax? Does it give you pleasure? Do you eat when you socialize or do you eat when you are depressed? Do you enjoy the TV more than the treadmill? Analyze how your lifestyle today is benefiting you. If something feels really uncomfortable to you, you won’t do it or at least not for long.
Keep a food diary, analyzing what it is in your diet that you need to change to achieve your goal. You might need to see a nutritionist to assist you in identifying your bad habits. Remember going on a strict diet is changing or creating too many neuro-pathways at ones. Also most people associate negative feelings to diets (look at the first 3 letters DIE, no wonder your subconscious mind doesn’t like it). And lastly, too restricted kcal intake only results in a lowered metabolic rate resulting in obesity and other health problems.
After analyzing your diet and your behavior in general you now have a better understanding why you eat unhealthily and why you don’t exercise. Decide what else, besides changing your diet, you can do to lose weight. Exercise, meditate, educate yourself, engage in nonfood related pleasurable activities etc.
Create a 4 week plan where you decide which habits you want to work on each week. Remember it is by changing only a few at a time that makes the process easy and sustainable. Create as many categories as you like. For example you can create one diet category, one fitness category, one for education, meditation, fun activities and so on. Then decide which habits, behaviors you want to work on for the next 4 weeks. Decide on 1-2 goals in each category for each week. Sometimes I find it easier after I have created the action plan to just set goals for one week at a time. That gives you the opportunity to assess your progress every week and from there decide on how to continue. Below is an example of a weekly plan:
Diet category: Eat every 2-3 hours, Eat smaller portions and nothing in between meals.
Fitness category: Exercise 3x this week, Mon, Wed and Friday at 6pm in my home gym.
Education: Read X book on nutrition 1 hour every day
Meditation: Every morning before going to work
Fun: Meet friends on Monday night and Friday night
Start with goals you find easy to achieve as this will increase your confidence in succeeding. Every time you succeed in achieving your goals you feel more desire and motivation to continue. Decide to work on deeply rooted and emotionally loaded habits later when you feel ready and confident in yourself.
Use visualization every day to facilitate the process of changing. See yourself in your imagination standing in front of a mirror looking and feeling the way you want. Visualizing will slowly affect your behaviour, your beliefs, and your self-esteem. Using visualization creates a new level of motivation, helps you stay focused on your plan and helps you feel good about the changes you are going through.
Direct your focus towards what you want instead of what you don’t want. What you focus on is what you get. If you are constantly thinking about the food you should be avoiding it becomes very hard to resist. Also if your cupboards are filled with junk food it is costing you extra unnecessary effort to resist unhealthy food. Make available to you what is healthy, fill your fridge with healthy foods, go to restaurants that serve healthy food and plan ahead if you are going to a party or a movie. Most importantly remember that nothing is forbidden, you are not on a diet so you should only commit to goals you feel ready to achieve every week.
If you feel addicted to certain foods or you find it difficult to change any behavior related to your weight loss, you can see an NLP practitioner or a Hypnotherapist to change how you feel about that food or that behavior. An NLP practitioner or hypnotherapist can gain direct access to your subconscious mind and make that process easier.
Reward yourself every week for your achieved goals. You can ask your family or friends to celebrate with you or you can decide to treat yourself in any way you like. Do something you enjoy doing that is not connected to eating. Your success shouldn’t be measured by how much weight you lost that week but rather how well you managed to stick to your goals. You will lose weight eventually if you stick to your plan.
If you follow those 10 steps one at the time, you can’t fail. Remember that Rom wasn’t built over night and changing your lifestyle and your attitudes also takes time. It might take less time than building Rom but you will never sustain a new healthy lifestyle if you attempt to change all your habits it overnight.