What emotional re-programming (self-hypnosis in its natural form) is and how it can be used to replace cravings for food with desires to get some exercise. How to lose weight easily and keep it off for good by learning the science of behavior change.
You are aware of your obesity. *** Right now, I'm going to tell you something new.
You may believe you have an understanding of your obesity, but you don't. You attribute your inability to maintain an exercise routine on a lack of time and interest. You attribute this to the fact that you enjoy eating too much and lack the self-control necessary to reduce your intake significantly. Really, you have no idea what you're talking about!
The truth behind your weight gain will astound you: you have the body of a skilled athlete but the intellect of a genius. Stop laughing so quickly. When they stop competing, many athletes quickly put on weight. In a word, it's weird. Athletes excel in competition for the same reason they tend to gain weight: their subconscious minds are highly "trainable." If you know how it works, you can manage your weight without starvation or an inhumane exercise routine.
The Mental Aspects of Weight Loss for Athletes
First, let me say that what you eat and how you live are the primary reasons why you put on weight. That doesn't mean I'm trying to spread any nonsense science. But I'll show you why it's so hard to keep tabs on your diet and lifestyle choices. You haven't given it your all if you believe you can alter your routine via pure force of will alone.
You and I, both adults, can take great satisfaction in knowing that we direct our own lives. Nonetheless, you're full of crap if you believe that. Truth be said, we almost never take actions that temporarily hinder our comfort. So, you disagree, right? Try taking an ice bath or shower to show who's in charge. Try going two days without eating anything solid. Although it won't actually injure you, your body will react negatively to it. As a matter of fact, our bodies have response patterns that we are normally at the mercy of. I hate to break it to you, but it's the truth.
A mastery of one's mental faculties is essential if one wants to achieve physical mastery.
Physical fitness is a mental game. We're not talking about theorem proving here; rather, we're discussing the realm of the subconscious mind, home to our most profound feelings, ingrained behaviors, and reflexive reactions. You are a trinity of sorts, consisting of 1) a sluggish physical form, 2) an astute but moody conscious intellect, and 3) a ponderous but reliable subconscious that handles the bulk of the heavy lifting around here.
You undoubtedly already know that the subconscious mind creates emotional responses to reward "positive" behavior (like eating pizza), but you might not know that the subconscious is also responsible for all athletic talent. Every movement we take, from walking to typing, is a complex dance between our conscious will and our subconscious reflexes. Shooting a basketball, for instance, is a talent that is learned consciously and then burned into the mind until it becomes automatic. The moment you "no longer have to think about it" is the moment you have completely perfected a motion. You have not yet "learned" a dance step if you are still analyzing its mechanics in your head. The conscious mind still has control. After a skill has been "learned," it can be performed with a simple command from the conscious mind.
To help you make sense of your psyche, picture a chimpanzee riding an elephant. To compare the conscious mind to an intelligent swift chimpanzee and the subconscious to a slow dumb strong elephant, consider these analogies.
Chimp (conscious mind) (conscious mind)
Quickly Ingenious and Artistic
considers himself to be in charge
Elephant (subconscious) (subconscious)
Slow student with a huge memory
Wow, that's some lightning fast reaction time (well, the analogy isn't ideal).
normally in charge
The Fallacy of Relying on One's Own Strength of Will
The benefit of this metaphor is that it allows me to highlight the ludicrousness of the idea that "willpower" may be exerted by the conscious mind through a display of sheer force on the subconscious. Imagine, for a moment, that a chimpanzee has managed to wrestle an elephant. I don't see any chimp "brute force" here. It's game over because the elephant is just going to sit on him. That, by the way, is where all diets that rely solely on one's own willpower inevitably fail. The subconscious mind is a potent mental region. Only persuasive argument will have any effect on it; force will only make matters worse.
What an Elephant, a Stick, and a String Have in Common
Since they are strong and docile, elephants are put to use in Indonesia's building industry. The elephant spends his days carrying hundreds of tons of stone and timber and his nights tethered to a bed of straw. What thickness of rope would you say is needed to tether an elephant? A piece of string attached to a stake pushed into the ground serves this purpose.
The elephant was bound with the same stick and string when he was a baby and was too little to break free. He will never again doubt the superior strength of the humble stick and thread because of this. Try to ponder that for a moment.
Just how far do your abilities extend? To be perfectly honest, you have no idea. Your abilities as an adult have nothing to do with your perceived limitations, which are based on your childhood. You, like the elephant, are emotionally chained to preconceptions from your youth. Your adult identity is largely an artificial fortress that you erected as a youngster when you were afraid. How desperately would you like the ability to start over?
The good news is that in addition to being an elephant, you are also a descendant of the chimpanzee! Yes, a better phrase could have been used, but never mind. You can rewire your entire brain thanks to a tiny but incredibly perceptive part of your mind. Yes, the chimp that is your conscious mind can rewrite and manage your entire mental experience.
That we have this capacity distinguishes us as unique among animals; it also makes us the most adaptable and enables us to achieve extraordinary feats through mental discipline. This special human capacity is put to use in a wide variety of contexts, from playing the piano to engaging in intense sports.
All right, but what does this have to do with slimming down?
In other words, the actual difficulty is "how to teach the subconscious," as the elephant will remember and act in accordance with any patterns of behavior it has been shown. To help people out, I'll just explain one key concept here. Achieving mental dominance is a matter of grasping this fundamental idea. You'll also realize the flaws in our educational system (which is a topic for an other article).
Most of what we say to our subconcious goes unheard because we are talking to it in an unfamiliar tongue. Feelings are the language of the unconscious. The subconscious evaluates the significance of our actions based on how they make us feel. Take the case of acquiring a new talent as an illustration. Even though you know it's important, you're not enjoying the process of learning and your feelings reflect this: "this stinks, I wish I were elsewhere, how much longer is this going to take?" Since you're telling your mind to "ignore this activity, simply go along, there's nothing to see here," the process will take much longer. To what extent did your mood affect your ability to learn in high school?
Despite how you feel, you are in charge of your own conscious feelings. This, then, is the most basic technique for altering one's unconscious thought processes. It is undeniably a type of hypnosis that occurs in the natural world. Emotional programming is similar to classical hypnosis, but it achieves its goals through the active participation of the conscious mind.
Here comes the bad news: earlier I indicated that there are three sides to consider. Physical, mental, and unconscious states? As it turns out, though, your physical body is constantly programming your unconscious mind. When you satisfy your hunger by eating a large slice of cheesy pizza, your body sends the message (on an emotional level) that "this is good activity, very very good activity." These patterns form deep within the mind and might take years to change.
Thanks be to God, the mind can be completely re-trained.
You can start immediately putting into practice what you've learned about the fundamentals of mind programming. If you want to lose weight, you need to train yourself to crave activity instead of food. Instead of fighting against years of food programming, this strategy simply converts an existing food craving into a desire to exercise, which is both pleasurable and effective. Magic? It's much enhanced!
Very simply, you will first refrain from eating for a set period of time (non-sugared drinks are ok). Please don't think that we're on a diet or attempting to shed pounds with this. All we want to do is make you hungry. Now, when you feel that first pang of hunger, you should...
Take a few slow, deep breaths, and allow yourself to really experience your hunger before you even consider eating. You should picture yourself performing sit-ups and enjoying the hell out of it. Sure, pretend you're starving and doing sit-ups and let a wave of happiness and contentment wash over you. Simply go back to your previous activity.
To be used again in a few minutes, when the next hunger pang strikes. Keep going for another hour before stopping for a light meal. Think about performing sit-ups and liking it as you eat (particularly when you eat). Imagine being hungry, then picturing yourself eating.
*** Hungry? Here's Some Food! Do Some Sit-Ups! The Man Is Totally Mad
Maybe, but what you're really doing is associating a good deed with an already established pattern of reactions. The effectiveness of this method in inducing a strong desire to perform sit-ups will astound you. Incredible as it may sound, the human intellect is absolutely remarkable.
In the meantime, if you feel the need to do some sit-ups, give in to it after a few days. Maintain the positive emotional input while exercising by "allowing" oneself to have pleasure in the activity. You should immediately regain emotional control or cease exercising if you find that you are not enjoying the practice. To burn a few additional calories is not worth risking your career.
Instead of forcing your body to do work, force your brain to do work. A strong body and healthy mind are the only things that actually matter. You'll be able to appreciate the procedure once your mind starts driving your body.
A number of years ago, I initially tried out this method. I found that doing situps would physically satisfy my hunger for at least an hour. My first impression of the "silly, joyful, situp diet" was that it was the most bizarre diet plan I'd ever heard of. Yet what I had learned was how to consciously sublimate intense desires in order to reach a goal. I highly recommend trying out a self-hypnosis MP3 audio called "Appetite Zapper" if you're curious about this method. It will show you step-by-step how to master your appetite:
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The mind is incredible, but unfortunately there is no instruction manual to go along with it. The majority of the time, it can be left on autopilot with satisfactory results, so we rarely take the time to learn how to open up the hood and discover its hidden depths. That's too bad, because those things are essential to achieving success, happiness, health, healthy relationships, and the fulfillment that comes from accomplishing goals. All we need is some twine and a stick, and we can have all these things.