Personal Fitness 2011: Brain Fitness Affects How You Lose Weight by Debra and Bradley Warren

Debra and Bradley WarrenWhen it comes to fitness and losing weight, you’re not only what you eat… You are what you think! Happy New Year! Have you made a resolution to lose weight and improve your fitness in 2011? Do you struggle with weight loss? Has losing weight been a losing battle for you?

The underlying cause of your problem may not be your food or fitness plan but may have more to do with your brain and your cognitive skills.

Hasn’t changing your brain helped you in business? It’s no different with your body. Sharpening your cognitive ability will help you develop the mindset that’s required for sustainable success. It can help you acquire new skills for modifying sabotaging thoughts and behaviors that typically follow your initial New Year’s good intentions. The main application of brain fitness in the weight loss world is straight forward: weight loss problems can’t be attributed to one single train of thought. Your problems may simply reflect a lack of thinking skills that can be acquired and mastered through practice. NULL

Here are 4 critical thinking questions that could help make the difference. 1. Where is your motivation coming from? Successful weight loss uses emotional motivation coupled with logical action. Write out a list of 10 – 20 reasons why you want to lose weight. Make sure you read the list every morning upon awakening and every evening just before you go to sleep. You might even consider putting a few copies up where you’ll see them throughout the day (refrigerator, computer, bathroom mirror, bedroom mirror). 2. Do you have a sensible plan? One reason for past failures could be a preference for quick decisions and spontaneity, which can translate to impulse eating.

Make a plan in advance and stick to it. This will require some mental toughness. Just know that every time you decide not to spontaneously eat something you’re strengthening the connections (synapses) in your brain which reinforce successful behavior patterns.

3. Are you confronting self-sabotaging thoughts? Or maybe you’re sleepwalking and not even noticing them? You deserve credit for every helpful eating behavior you engage in. Try writing out key phrases on small cards (perhaps the back of a business card) and re-read them whenever you’re about to grab something to eat. Here are 4 examples: “This isn’t worth the few moments of temporary pleasure I’ll experience.” “I’ll definitely feel bad about this later.” “Can I eat whatever I want, whenever, in whatever quantity I want and still lose weight?” “The scale doesn’t have to go down every day… but will this help?” 4. Do you understand the difference between hunger and a craving? People who struggle with weight loss often confuse the two. You experience the sensation of hunger when your stomach is empty; cravings are frequently experienced in the mouth or throat. A craving is simply an urge to eat, even if your stomach is full. Cravings can be triggered in several ways. Triggers can be: 1. Emotional: Eating to soothe yourself when you’re stressed. 2. Social: Being with others who urge you to eat. 3. Environmental: Seeing or smelling food. 4. Mental: thinking or imagining your favorite foods.

Although some of the above are physical triggers, it’s your brain and cognition that interprets the trigger and causes the eating response. The trigger itself is less important than what you do about it.

You need to learn exactly what to think and say to yourself when you have cravings so you can train yourself to wait until the next planned meal or snack. This New Year requires a different perspective. When it comes to fitness and losing weight, you’re not only what you eat… You are what you think!

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