Briefly look at this the opposite way. What does doubt do to your ability to succeed at weight loss? I refer to this doubt as "mental graffiti." This is clutter, a cacophony of doubt that is flowing through the brain: "I can't lose weight. I can't succeed. I can't stay on my program. I can't eat the right foods. I can't exercise. I can't look better and feel better. I can't even stop gaining weight." When negative phrases like these ricochet through your mind the "c" word — "can't" — is winning. Here's where I start to get really tough with my clients. The first time I hear the "c" word I say, "No, no, no, we are not saying 'can't.' Substitute the 'can't' with 'can.' That's a 'c' word I can accept. Now repeat after me. Say I can lose weight. I can succeed. I can stay on my program. I can eat the right foods. It's time to wipe the negative mental graffiti off the board, start with a clean slate and begin the flipping process.
Go Back In Time
Let's start at your beginning, that is your childhood. I want you to think about your first impressions of your body. Don't overly intellectualize this impression. When you go back to your childhood and recall your perception of your body, what is the first thought that comes into your head? This will be your first "exercise" toward flipping the switch, and you thought I would probably have you doing push ups, didn't you? It is important to begin with a mental exercise because, as you have just seen, ultimately one's mindset contributes far more to success at weight loss than one's physical behavior.
Fear of failure is a conditioned response. The probability is great that you were conditioned to feel a certain way about your body and that conditioning has stayed within you. What I'm going to assist you with is the letting go of that past negative conditioning. Okay, let's get started building a new positive mental imprint. To help you to reach that point, I want you to get out a pen and complete the following thought in the space provided:
Believe In The Flip Exercise One My very first impression of my body was …
Here's what I wrote about myself:
My very first impression of my body was that it was plump. People referred to me as "husky," "pot bellied," "non athletic." I couldn't run very fast, I didn't play sports, the thought of gym class made me sick and I never, I repeat, never wanted to take my shirt off at the beach.
To this day, this first impression lives within me. I know now that it is not true, but I do remember what that feeling was like and honestly, it hurt. It hurt a lot.
Pause for a moment. Look at what you have written. Reflect on your comments for a few minutes. Let your mind drift back in time. Recall those feelings. This exercise probably will be painful but please don't feel that I am attempting one of those, "no pain, no gain" strategies. That's not my intent. It's important that you start at the beginning. By recalling these first impressions, though painful, we begin the emotional rebuilding process.