Mindset

Brain Hacking: Shift your thinking to becoming consistent with healthy eating and exercise

Do you ever wonder how some people seem to never miss a workout? How they simply must be different than everyone else – they must really LOVE it or they are just born with “better discipline”. That you must not be meant to exercise because you lack the desire, motivation and the time. What if I told you that the people who don’t miss workouts are no different than anyone else? That they simply have “hacked” their brain – in a good way – to think differently than others. They shifted their thoughts in a way that pushes them to workout more regularly, eat better, and maintain the “healthy lifestyle” that so many individuals find impossible to sustain. Here are 6 concepts that you MUST adapt if you want to to truly change your body and your life for the better.

  1. FORGET THE SCALE! Focus on STRENGTH goals instead.

As long as you are obsessing over calorie counting and the number on the scale, your mind is not going to be in a positive place to allow weight loss to happen. I tell clients to only weigh once a week and first thing in the morning, and to also not obsess too much about the number on the scale. Especially if you don’t have much weight to lose (e.g., 5-10 lbs). If you change your thinking to focus on strength goals and progression, as those numbers go up you will find that your body is changing for the better. A 120-130 lb frame that does not lift weights at all can look vastly different from that same frame (or even heavier weight) on someone who strength trains on the regular! This being that muscle is more dense than fat. If you look at 1 lb of muscle vs 1 lb of fat you will see that the muscle is smaller in size because it’s so dense. So, in sum, throw away the scale for a while if you are especially a female who is obsessing and letting in ruin your day! Focus on getting stronger – whether it’s perfecting pushups, doing more pushups, getting your first pull-up, you will see that your body shape is changing while the scale may not be saying much.

2. “I don’t have to workout, I GET to workout!”

Do you know how blessed you are to have a capable body? There are people out there who are unable to walk and they are making the best of their circumstances and training their bodies – training their upper bodies and getting super strong – because that is all that they have. We only get 1 body and 1 life. Don’t waste it on the couch. It feels so good to be able to do hard things – it will change your mind and make you mentally stronger. Focus on the fact that training your body is a blessing! Take care of it and strengthen it while you can!

3. Look at food as fuel and nourishment as much as you can. Reward yourself with healthy food, not sugar and refined flours.

Instead of looking at cupcakes or candy in the house or in the office as tempting and thinking “oh I can’t have that because I am on a boring diet”, you need to start telling yourself “I don’t WANT that because it’s crap ingredients that will not make me feel good about myself nor will it fuel my body to reach its goals.” Stop mindless eating and overeating in the exact same manner – when you are full, stop eating. Actually start to tell yourself in your thoughts “I don’t need any more food because I am full and my body does not need or want this.” Delayed gratification is the focus here – we are focusing on how good we will feel later for NOT over-eating, or eating the junk! The more you resist INSTANT gratification the easier it will get. Remember, discipline is a muscle we can strengthen, but, the most disciplined people steer clear of temptation (meaning they avoid keeping tempting food in the house, avoid the area at work with the tempting food, avoid hanging out with people who are bad influences).

4. Instead of coming up with excuses not to train, reframe your thinking to “It’s just 1 hour of my day!” (or 30 minutes, 45 minutes, etc.)

I use this one ALL the time. We can always come up with excuses to not workout, because HELLO it’s hard. Working out is hard – but it SHOULD BE HARD. And you will get stronger both mentally and physically the more you RESIST saying no to working out. The mental strengthening is the biggest factor and most life-changing. So instead of coming up with all these excuses like “I am too tired” or “I don’t have time” or “I don’t feel like it”….just tell yourself “It’s just 1 hour of my day!” or thirty-minutes, etc. Compared to all the hours in a week that is NOTHING. Even if you only train for 2-3 hours per week, divided up into perhaps 30 or 45-minute sessions, you can drastically change your body! When you start to notice yourself coming up with EXCUSES, IMMEDIATELY reframe your thoughts. I do this all the time and it’s how I am able to stay so consistent with workouts. For YEARS I have noticed myself for a split second wanting to come up with the occasional excuse to not train but I push that thought OUT OF MY BRAIN RIGHT AWAY and don’t even let it be an option! Instead I say “Ok just do your best for X amount of time” and I get on with the workout. Don’t think about getting it done guys…just get it done.

5. Focus on how GOOD you know you will feel after it’s done. Proud, confident, accomplished, energized, etc.

Another one I use on the regular. After a workout you always feel more energized, accomplished, and proud. You just put in WORK! If you focus on this feeling before you get started on the workout you will likely commit to the workout. Again we are discussing the delayed gratification concept – focusing on something that’s not going to happen RIGHT NOW but in about 1 hour you will feel amazing, proud, and one step closer to becoming the person who doesn’t miss workouts. Focus on that person. Change your thoughts…this is how it’s done. Be better at accepting delayed gratification. Nothing worth having ever comes instantly.

6. Remember it’s a new way of life! Not something with an end point.

Lastly, we must remember that achieving our desired look is not something that we achieve by doing what we’ve been doing. That CLEARLY hasn’t worked or else you wouldn’t be on this road to a better you. It’s a lifelong journey of bettering ourselves. We don’t just “diet and exercise” and then go back to how we used to live and eat. So the faster you accept this as something you will have to do for the rest of your life, the better off you will be. But again, it’s not a bad thing that we have to do this for the rest of our lives! It’s WONDERFUL! You GET this 1 body to train and see how strong you can become – mentally and physically! And once you GET FIT it’s so much easier to maintain fitness. It will be very hard in the beginning but that is OK. All we have is time, there is no rush to getting fit. Accept that it’s a new part of your life and try to begin to reframe your thinking and your habits.

SUMMARY

The faster you can work on changing your thought process the more you can make working out and eating well a lifestyle change. It all begins with the mind. Start to notice your thinking patterns and thought processes – begin to journal, read inspiring books of people you want to be like, get your life organized, create routines and structure! All of these things will help you to adapt a healthier lifestyle! And if you think not having time is the reason you can’t exercise or eat well, you need to start telling yourself that “it’s not a priority to me” and see how that makes you feel. Analyze each and every day – where are you wasting time? Usually you can go through your days and figure out times you are scrolling your phone, watching tv/staying up too late – and you can then eliminate those habits and create better ones. Go to bed a little earlier so you can wake up a little earlier and do a workout. Start small, and it will be easier to do! Remember – YOU GOT THIS!

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