According to Mondovo.com, over 8lakh ppl search out( google) ‘weight loss’ or ‘fast weight loss’ globally every month. And this is the reason why there’s a surge in expert diets and exercise plans. One wonders why then; this issue has become an obsession with most people. There’s so much information out there – Why are people not reaching their fitness goals easily and why do so many give up after a good initial start?
What really is happening is that most of these fitness plans exclude a very important element of human behaviour – and that is the mind. Unless the mind is made a ‘partner’ in this quest for fitness, we are always going to fall short of achieving the target. It is the mind which provides the discipline and he motivation.
And this is where NLP or Neuro Linguistic programming comes into play. A very key principle is at work here – we all tend to go towards pleasure and move away from pain. So, if dieting or exercise is linked to ‘pain’, our minds are going to move us away from it. According to one survey, 95% of people who go on a diet tend to gain 6 pounds weight over the next 2 years. Not much of a success, right?
So, what needs to be done?
1. We have to ‘rewire’ our minds to think of dieting or exercise as ‘pleasure’. Some tips for doing this could be :
a. Group exercises(group runs, group yoga classes) which don’t feel like a punishment
b. Induce ‘fun’ into your workouts – and this has to be your definition of fun – maybe a Zumba class, a trek. It has to be whatever works for you. Once the exercise is done, your endorphins will in any case make you manage the pain and feel pleasure
c. Experiment with low calorie options which taste good – like chia seed puddings, soups etc
d. Invest in good workout gear if that works for you
2. Use of language is a big aspect of NLP. Use language which moves you into thinking of your fitness as a ‘pleasure’ for eg. ‘I get to have exotic flavours of Green tea’, “I detox my body with Intermittent fasting’, ‘ My walks/ runs are my way of having time alone with nature’ etc
3. Outcome specifications – we have to find out what is it that I will really gain through losing weight or becoming fit. This ‘why’ must be compelling enough – and we have to remind ourselves of this reason every time we feel demotivated. Ask questions like:
a. Why do I want to lose weight/ be fit?
b. What else will change in my life?
c. What will I see/ hear/ feel?
d. What are my values or beliefs around losing weight?
e. Are my values or beliefs aiding me or stopping me?
f. Who can help me?
g. What are the steps?
h. What are the triggers that stop me? What beliefs do I have about them?
4. Getting to identify the positive intention behind giving up is another way of tackling this . processes like ‘The Six Step reframe’ help us meet the ‘positive intention ‘ through other means
5. NLP is based on ‘modelling’ the techniques used by successful people
New Behaviour Generator or Association help us step into the shoes of our ‘role models’ who are already consistent and have achieved their goals.
6. Through ‘Anchoring’, we can make use of our resourceful states at will. We can anchor feelings of great motivation, thrill and confidence and access these when we are not feeling driven enough
7. One of the most powerful techniques is to give ourselves the ‘identity’ that supports our goals. We all live upto the ‘labels’ that we are given Calling ourselves a ‘fitness enthusiast, ‘healthy’ or ‘disciplined’ will make us make choices which support these labels. Our mind moves us to prove us right. So, it’s important NOT to label ourselves as ‘lazy’, ‘fat’ or a ‘failure’, because we become what we call ourselves. Choose an empowering label instead.
There are numerous more techniques which allow us to integrate our minds with our fitness plans. And once we achieve it in the mind, it’s sure to be achieved in the body!
So, make up your mind, your mind will take care of your body!