You're fat and you know it! Now I'm going to tell you
something you don't already know.
You think you already know why you're fat but you don't. You
think it's because you just don't have enough time and
motivation to exercise. You think it's because you love food
and don't quite have enough willpower to cut back sufficiently.
You don't have a clue!
The real reason you're gaining weight is going to shock you:
it's because you have the mind of a well-trained athlete. Don't
laugh quite yet. Have you ever noticed how fast athletes gain
weight when they retire from competition? It's freakish. The
same reason that athletes are good at sports later causes them
to bloat -- they have especially "trainable" subconscious
minds. If you understand the mechanism then you can learn to
control your weight without diet, suffering or an inhuman
*** Weight Loss and your Athletic Mind
Before I continue, I should say that it is true: the immediate
cause of weight-gain is what you eat and how you live. I'm not
preaching any pseudo-science here. However, controlling what
you eat and how you live is elusively difficult and I will show
you why. If you think you can change your behavior pattern with
sheer willpower -- then you just haven't really tried yet.
Sure, you and I pride ourselves in being rational adults, in
control of our choices and our destiny. But that's just a load
of crap. In truth, we rarely ever do anything that brings us
discomfort in the short run. You think otherwise? Go take a
straight-cold shower just to prove who is in control. Go
without solid food for two days. It won't hurt you, but it will
make your body angry. And the fact of the matter is that we are
usually slaves to response patterns established by our bodies.
Sorry but it's true.
*** The Key to Controlling your Body is to Control Your Mind
Training your body is all about training your mind. We're not
talking calculus here, we're talking about your sub-conscious
mind -- where deep emotions, established patterns, habit and
instant responses live. You are a trinity of sorts, 1) a lazy
body, 2) a clever and fickle conscious mind and 3) a lumbering
but steady subconscious that does most of the work around here.
You probably know already that the subconscious mind provides
emotional responses to reinforce "good" behavior (like eating
pizza) -- but what you might not know is that the subconscious
is also responsible for all athletic ability. Even the simple
stuff like walking or typing is a constant interaction of
conscious commands and unconscious responses. For example, when
you learn to shoot a basketball, what you are actually doing is
using the conscious mind to burn in a pattern which develops
into a subconscious skill-set. When you've truly mastered a
move, you "no longer have to think about it". If you're still
thinking about the mechanics of a dance step -- it's a sign
that you have not "learned it" yet. That is, your subconscious
cannot yet take over. Once you have "learned" the skill, your
conscious mind need only call out the command and the
subconscious does the action.
To better understand your psychology, let's liken your mind to
a couple animals: imagine a Chimp riding on the back of an
Elephant. The subconscious mind is like a slow dumb strong
elephant while your conscious mind is like the clever fast
Chimp (conscious mind)
Thinks he's in control
Slow learner with a vast memory
Awesome reflexes (ok so the metaphor's not perfect)
Usually in control
*** The Willpower Myth
The nice thing about this little metaphor is that it allows me
to point out the absurdity of the whole concept of "willpower"
in the sense of the conscious mind overwhelming the
subconscious with a show of brute force. Seriously, just
imagine the chimp wresting the elephant. Where's the "brute
force" of the chimp? The elephant's just going to sit on him
and the game is over. That, by the way, is exactly where every
diet ends when supported by willpower alone. The subconscious
is a powerful part of your mind. You can control it through
persuasion but not with brute force.
*** The Elephant, the Stick and the String
In Indonesia, elephants are used in construction work because
they are so powerful and yet obedient. All day long the
elephant moves hundreds of tons of stone and wood and at night
he taken to his bed of straw and tied up. Do you know how big
the rope is required to hold an elephant? It's just a little
string tied to a stick driven into the ground.
You see, when the elephant was very young, he was tied with the
same stick and string -- and he was too little to pull free. For
the rest of his life, he remembers this and never questions the
superior strength of the little stick and string. Think about
What are you really capable of? To be blunt, you have no idea.
Your limitations are defined by childhood experience -- and
bear no relation to your adult capabilities. Like the elephant,
you are emotionally tethered by childhood ideas. Most of your
adult personality is just a protective cage built by a scared
child. What would you give to have the power to redefine
Now for the good news: you're not just an elephant, you're also
part chimp! That could have sounded better but never mind. Your
mind has a small, clever, conscious aspect that gives you the
ability to reprogram your entire mind. That's right, your
conscious mind (the chimp) has the ability to completely
re-write and take control of your entire mental reality.
This ability defines humans -- it makes us the most flexible
animals on earth and it allows us to train our minds to do
amazing things. From playing concert piano to extreme sports,
the vast power of the mind is tapped by this uniquely human
*** Ok, so what does all this have to do with weight loss?
Remember, the elephant learns and repeats patters of behavior
that are taught to it -- so the real question is "how to teach
the subconscious". Here's the simple single trick that people
need to understand. If you understand this simple principle
then you can be the master of your own mind. You will also
understand why our educational system doesn't work (but that's
another article entirely).
Our subconscious mind ignores most of what we tell it because
we bark at it in the wrong language. The language of the
subconscious mind is EMOTION. Using the barometer of our
emotion, the subconscious mind is able to determine the
importance of any particular behavior. For example, say that
you're trying to learn a new skill. You're working hard to
learn but you are not enjoying the task and your emotions are
saying "this sucks, I wish I were elsewhere, how much longer is
this going to take?" Well, it's going to take a lot longer
because you're broadcasting to your subconscious mind the
message "ignore this activity, just move along, there's nothing
to see here." What was your emotional state, and how easily did
you learn in high school?
It may not feel like it but you're in full control of your
conscious emotions. And this is the fundamental method of
programming the subconscious mind. It is, without a doubt, a
form of natural hypnosis. Whereas traditional hypnosis works by
moving aside the conscious mind, emotional programming works by
using the conscious mind - but to the same effect.
Now for the dark side: remember how I mentioned that have three
aspects? Body, conscious and subconscious? Well, as it turns
out, your body is busy programming your subconscious mind all
the time. For example, you're hungry so you bite into a slice
of thick cheesy pizza -- at which point your body screams out
(on an emotional level) "this is good activity, very very good
activity". Food cravings are actually subconscious patterns
based on years of such programming.
*** Thankfully, the mind is fully re-programmable.
Now that you understand the basic mechanics of programming your
mind, you can put it into practice right away. What you are
going to do is to replace food cravings with exercise cravings.
This technique is fun and very powerful because, rather than
working against years of food programming, you're going to do
some mental Ju-Jitsu and simply translate an existing food
craving into a desire for exercise. Magic? It's better!
It's quite simple: first of all you're going to stop eating for
a while (non-sugared drinks are ok). This is not a diet plan,
we're not yet trying to lose weight. We're just trying to
stimulate a hunger response. Now, when you begin to feel the
initial sense of hunger, do this:
Breathe in deeply, relax, and feel the hunger -- then don't
think of food. Instead, imagine yourself doing sit-ups and
absolutely loving it. That's right, visualize yourself hungry
and doing sit-ups and let a feeling of joy and satisfaction
flood over you. Then return to whatever you were doing.
In a few minutes, when the next pang of hunger comes, repeat
this mental exercise. Keep it up for an hour or so and then go
have a light snack. While you are eating (especially while you
are eating) visualize yourself doing sit-ups and loving it.
Associate in your imagination hunger, food, situps and joy.
*** Hunger, Food, Sit-ups and Joy? He's Crazy
Perhaps, but what you are doing is linking a desirable behavior
to a very well established response pattern. You will be amazed
at how you can use this technique to stimulate a deep urge to
do sit-ups. The mind is truly amazing.
By the way, after a few days go ahead and give into the urge to
do some sit-ups. As you exercise, make sure to continue the
emotional feedback by "letting" yourself enjoy exercise. If you
feel yourself not enjoying the process, take control of your
emotions right away or stop exercising. It's not worth
sabotaging your work to burn a few extra calories.
Don't push your body, push your mind! Your mind is the only
gymnasium that really matters. Eventually, your mind will push
your body and you will be able to enjoy the process.
I remember several years ago when I first experimented with
this technique. As I started craving situps, I realized that
doing situps would physically relieve any sense of hunger for
an hour or so. I thought I had stumbled upon the strangest diet
plan ever, the "silly, happy, situp diet". But really, what I
had discovered was the ability to consciously sublimate deep
cravings to accomplish a desired objective. If you're
interested in exploring this technique I strongly suggest you
download a self-hypnosis MP3 audio called "Appetite Zapper". It
will step you through the process of taking complete control of
Appetite Zapper MP3: http://weight-loss.wendi.com/
The mind is amazing but it just doesn't come with a user's
manual. Most of the time it works pretty well on autopilot so
we rarely learn to pop the hood and explore its full potential.
That's a shame because most of what we want in life -- success,
happiness, health, good relationships, the satisfaction of
achievement -- these things are all within our reach and the
only thing holding us back is, you guessed it, a string and a
About The Author: Buck Minster is the pen name of a fitness and
nutrition freelance copywriter http://weight-loss.wendi.com/.
[weight loss] [health and wellness]
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Weight Loss For Couch Potatoes - Don't Get Up, I'll Explain
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