Welcome to Day 8 – Supportive tips and strategies to get you to stick to your weight loss plan. You are well on your way to losing weight and seeing your obstacles as a problem for your brain to solve. Another gift from the study of neuroscience is using imagining to impact and change your brain.
Olympic and professional athletes have been successfully using their thoughts to visually imagine their bodies breaking world records and winning tournaments.
Using the mind’s ability to see an image of your body moving allows you to remember and mentally rehearse various movements.
Research shows that the part of your brain that gets activated by thinking about an action is the same part of the brain that gets activated when you are doing the action.
The act of visualization changes how our brain networks are organized, creating more connections among different regions. It stimulates brain regions, priming the brain and body for action so that we move more effectively.
With mental rehearsals over time the brain learns routine movements, allowing these actions to become more automatic and fine-tuned. Imagining moving a limb, even after it has been paralyzed after a stroke, increases brain blood flow enough to diminish the amount of tissue death.
This shows us the power of visualization. It is available to us at all times. It’s FREE, requires no equipment. Just some time – about 10 minutes a day.
How to use Visualization for achieving a goal weight and staying there.
Let’s apply the technique to the upcoming US holiday, Halloween.
· Imagine handing out trick-or-treat candy at your front door and not eating any of it.
· Imagine scheduling, planning and eating a nutritious meal on Halloween evening, before the evening festivities begin.
· Imagine throwing away any leftover candy before the evening ends.
· Imagine enjoying the variety and novelty of costumes and the excitement of the children as they parade through the neighborhood on Halloween.
Let’s apply the technique to the next six months and five years.
Take 10 minutes a day to visualize your future. Ask yourself, How do I want to feel? What you want to look like? What do you want to be able to do? The more details the better!
· Imagine shopping, preparing and eating whole foods with your family.
· Imagine a Saturday night in your life at your goal weight.
· Imagine going through your current daily routines at your goal weight – driving to work or to care for the grandkids.
· Imagine your life at your goal weight in five years from today. Where are you? What are you wearing?
· Imagine what you are thinking when you go to visit family and see yourself choosing healthy foods.
· Imagine celebrating with friends, with no food in sight.
· Imagine fitting into those yoga pants, and feeling great.
You can also use additional visual cues to install the new images. Write a story about a day in your life and draw a picture. It doesn’t have to be artistic, remember drawing as a child? Just what colors and images come to mind as you visualize yourself in your new body with new habits. This activates several parts of your brain and begins to form new neural pathways needed to accomplish your weight-loss goal.
The brilliance of all the things we are learning about the brain is to be able to apply the science of the mind to the art of living, and for our purposes, that includes sticking to your weight loss plan.