Yes, you CAN think yourself thinner: The mind exercises that can help you stay slim
Every year we spend millions on diets and gym membership, but obesity specialists increasingly believe the problem doesn’t lie in what we eat or how much exercise we take, but how we think.
‘There is a non-stop communication between your mind and body, but the mind is the most important because it drives your behaviour,’ says nutrition and exercise specialist Janet Thomson, author of Think More, Eat Less.
She is convinced we become overweight as a result of confused messages from the brain sabotaging our attempts to slim.
Exercise specialist Janet Thomson is convinced we become overweight as a result of confused messages from the brain sabotaging our attempts to slim
So, if we have been told we are ‘well-built’ or ‘chubby’ or that ‘dieting is a waste of time’, the messages can stick. Without even realising, our emotional link with food can become toxic and we will no longer eat only when hungry and stop when full.
However, she maintains this can be changed and has devised a programme of mind exercises that she believes can boost our chances of getting, and staying, slim.
THINK about how you will look and feel a month after you have achieved your weight- loss goal — slim and healthy. Now, visualise yourself three months after that and six months later. Commit to spending one minute just before you go to sleep each night and one minute when you wake each morning (while you are in a sleepy, trance-like state) visualising yourself like this. Creating powerful positive emotions helps generate faith in your ability to succeed.
WRITE down exactly what you want to achieve — to be comfortable in size 12 jeans To run a marathon — and what you are prepared to do to get there — ‘I will eat less’ or ‘I will stick to a training regime’. Read this mission statement out loud twice a day.
IDENTIFY the thoughts and behaviour that may have kept you from achieving your goals in the past. Make a list of all the things that could have been making you fat (too many takeaways, too much wine), then write a list of alternative behaviours that you intend to do instead (planning meals, drinking alcohol only at weekends).
KEEP a food diary: write down everything that passes your lips. Studies show that even if you don’t consciously restrict your food intake, a diary makes you more conscious of what you eat. Being aware is a step forward.
SPEND time with like-minded people who have already achieved or have similar goals. Who you spend time with directly affects your attitude because your unconscious mind will be continually processing their shared experiences as well as your own.
FOLLOW two simple eating rules: never use food as a reward or treat — eat only because your body needs fuel, then give it the best quality fuel possible. Never ban yourself from eating something. This will only make you want it more.
Extracted from Think More, Eat Less by Janet Thomson (Hay House, 12.99), published on March 5. 2012 Janet Thomson. To order a copy for 10.99 (incl P&P), tel: 0843 382 0000.