At age 19, I weighed more than 220 pounds. I was fat, unfit and my self-esteem was shot. I hated my body so much I couldn't enjoy being in it, let alone invite someone else to enjoy it.
At 21 I hit rock bottom. Newly single, sleeping on a friend's sofa, obese, isolated and unemployed, my sense of self-worth was below zero. As in the classics, this provided fertile ground for a sudden inspired decision to change my life. So I joined a gym, learned about nutrition, lost 90 pounds and moved to London.
Over the years I've learned a lot about how to both gain and drop unwanted weight, as well as the emotions, addictions and behaviors involved in all stages of the journey. Obviously, "eat healthier and move more" is fundamental advice, but it's not the end of the story. If it was, we wouldn't be living in a nation with ever-increasing obesity statistics.
In order to make lasting change, you need to address the underlying subconscious beliefs driving you. Although you know you'd like to be strong, fit and healthy, all the willpower in the world won't override deeply stored beliefs and programming forever. As both a hypnotherapist and a fat girl, I've learned a lot of methods to help you change those beliefs and make some lasting changes to your health and fitness. Here are six you should always remember.
1. Come from a place of love.
Most of us who battle with our bodies come from a place of "I hate you body, so I'm going to punish you and deprive you until you look good enough for me to love you." Imagine if you spoke to a lover like that — how do you think that would go? Instead, try: "I love and appreciate you, so I'm going to nourish you and protect you so we can work together to create a better life."
2. Choose your words wisely.
The words you choose to say to yourself and the world make more difference than you imagine. Try replacing these common body- and weight-related phrases with the alternatives and see what happens.
- I hope, I'll try ---> I choose to, I will
- I should, I shouldn't ---> I could, I don't need to
- I'm on a diet ---> I'm making healthier choices
- I can't eat that ---> I choose not to eat that
- Exercise ---> Movement
3. Practice affirmations.
Most of us are familiar with affirmations, but beware ... your unconscious mind won't accept them if they are too far-fetched. Check what you're telling yourself. If it's "I'm fat and ugly," using an affirmation of "I'm thin and beautiful" isn't going to work. Instead try something like, "I make positive choices so I become more healthy and attractive every day."
Do reps each morning and night, or stick them in places you'll see them often.
4. Make movement fun.
If you hate going to the gym, you won't do it. I like to speed-walk while listening to high-energy music, and I measure the BPM to coincide with rapid footfalls (120-150bpm). The music keeps me moving at a pace that gets my heart rate up AND puts me in a great mood to start my day. I combine this with a pedometer so I can measure my progress and hold myself accountable.
5. Learn about food.
Learn about the nutritional value of food and what it does for you. When you look at a green smoothie, think "this will give me vitamins, minerals and lasting energy, and help my cells regenerate." When you look at chocolate ice cream, note "this is high in refined sugar and lactose, will encourage weight gain and make me gassy." It'll soon become second nature, and you'll be able to make choices based on this information.
6. See a hypnotherapist
Yup. Nobody can help fix those unhelpful patterns like a hypnotherapist. It's what we do. Find one who specializes in weight loss, and preferably understands and addresses your emotional needs and root causes.
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