Way back in 1979, award winning Harvard psychologist Ellen Langer, conducted a seminal research study that revealed measurable changes in the physiology of an elder population who put themselves in a living situation that reflected 1959, 20 years earlier. The key to the study was to have the participants think of themselves as they were 20 years earlier. They were instructed to immerse themselves into the past and to return as completely as possible in their minds to those earlier times. It living quarters were set up as if it was 1959.
After 2 weeks of living this way, there was a change in behavior and attitude in the groups. Their hearing and their memory improved as if they were younger and even their intelligence scores increased. These indicators were based on measurements that were taken before and after the study.
At the end of the study, Ms. Langer concluded that it is not primarily our physical selves that limit us but rather our mindset about our physical limits.
The question I pose to you is: What if your beliefs about your ability to lose weight and keep it off is just a limit you have placed upon yourself? What if it were a thought error?
I am not saying you are choosing to do this consciously.
No matter if is conscious or unconscious, it impacts your experience just the same. I wholeheartedly agree with Ms. Langer based on my own experience of seeing my life transform when I changed my beliefs.
Ms. Langer and I ask you to consider freeing yourself from any constricting mindset you may have and become aware of the limits you may be placing on your health, well-being and your future.
Become the creator and guardian of your lifestyle and in turn, your health.
Uncovering your beliefs.
In order to bring to consciousness what you currently believe, let’s dig a little and answer the following questions:
Who where your primary programmers about food and your body?
What did you hear them say about your body and food?
How did they act around food? (Always dieting? Reward and withhold approval with food?)
What was your experience with food?
If you were suddenly as thin as you want to be, how would you feel?
If you were thin, what would you be thinking?
What do you think about yourself now?
What do those thoughts feel like?
What do you believe about what is possible in your life?
When you rely on your past success or failure in weight loss to inform your current beliefs, you disregard the possibilities that are inherent in the future. While Ms. Langer’s study put the study participants in the past to conjure what they were thinking and feeling when they actually were younger, it was the beliefs about being younger that created the changes in their health and well-being. We can’t go back to the past, but we can create the feeling of well-being today by resetting our mindset.
To create a new future, ask yourself the following questions:
What do you want to weigh?
What size do you want to wear?
How do you want to think and feel about food?
How do you want to think and feel about your body?
How do you want to think of yourself?
What do you have to change to become this person?
To understand the actions you need to take to achieve that future, answer the following questions from your future self who is already at your ideal weight and fitness level:
How do you eat?
How do you think and feel about food?
How do you dress?
How do you think and feel about your body?
How do you handle disappointment and sadness?
What role does food play in your life?
What is your opinion of yourself?
What is different about you?
How do you handle problems differently?
How do you show up differently?
When you can begin to live as if you already ate, felt, dressed and thought the way you would when you were in your fit body, your body and mind will begin to believe it too.
You may not believe me.
You may think it is a lot of hooey.
But have you really tried it? Answer all the questions.
Discover something new about yourself. You may discover the limits you thought were real are just an illusion.