You’re smart. You’ve decided to eat a little less and move a little more to shed your excess kilos. Perfect plan.
You do well for a while and then you find yourself at the pub. Someone has ordered wedges and sour cream for your group. You adore wedges and know you find them hard to resist but they are not part of your calorie budget for today. You try to ignore them and the feelings of temptation…
If your plan is to use all your willpower to resist the wedges, don’t be surprised if you end up eating the wedges and lamenting, “If only I had more willpower – then I’d stay on track and reach my target goal!”
What is willpower?
When you use willpower, by definition you are willing yourself to do something you don’t want to do – you are willing yourself to ignore the wedges. That feels like deprivation.
Not only is acting against your will not fun, it doesn’t work for long. Willpower eventually runs out for all of us so if willpower has been your only strategy for staying on track for your weight loss goal, stop beating yourself up for being weak and use something that really works.
Use belief power
People always act according to their beliefs.
This means you are already using belief power. If you cave in to your cravings this is because you believe you are the type of person who has cravings and gives-in to them.
This is a strong belief for you and while it is stronger than any belief you have that counters it, you will continue to act according to this belief.
You may say, “But it’s true. Look at my past – I do give-in to cravings!”
Yes, in the past you may well have, however, humans update their thinking and beliefs about all sorts of things all the time. We learn, we evolve. It is not true that because you have failed in the past to achieve your goal that you must fail in your present attempt.
Failure is only inevitable if you believe it to be – and so indeed is success!
What you believe is important
Remember, your strongest belief is the one you will act in accordance with.
For successful weight loss it is important to identify and cultivate beliefs that support you to achieve this goal.
Ask yourself: What would I need to believe to easily and enjoyably achieve my ideal weight and maintain the result for the rest of my life?”
Note down one or two beliefs that would transform your weight loss results. Make sure they are stated in the positive. For example, “I enjoy feeling fit, healthy and lean” instead of “I’m not fat and out of shape anymore.”
Examples of supportive beliefs for successful weight loss:
- I easily stay on track to achieve my idea l weight and body size
- Returning to my natural, healthy weight is easy & enjoyable
- I enjoy feeling fit and healthy so making healthy food and exercise choices is easy for me
- Every step towards my goal is worthwhile no matter how small
- I easily stop eating once I am comfortably full
- I deserve to look and feel great
- I feel good knowing I am taking great care of myself
- I easily complete my scheduled exercise sessions
- I’m a mindful eater who eats appropriately to achieve my target weight – a person who enjoys the pleasure of healthy eating and who treats myself every once in a while to pre-planned treats
Cultivating supportive beliefs
The most important thing is to strengthen your supportive beliefs. As you do this, you weaken your less supportive beliefs – such as “I can’t resist cravings so I’ll never achieve my target weight.” Remember, the strongest belief wins! The strongest belief determines how you will act.
So, how do you strengthen your supportive beliefs? Let’s say you want to strengthen your belief that you easily stay on track to achieve your goal weight.
Start by closing your eyes and imagining – or pretending – you are someone who easily believes they stay on track. Notice:
- How does it feel to believe you easily stay on track in all circumstances?
- What sort of things do you see yourself doing?
- What do you hear as you travel the path to achieving your goal?
Engaging your imagination like this allows you to experience this as your strongest belief. Science has shown us that when imagining something vividly, the mind cannot tell the difference between what’s real and what’s imaginary. This means you can use your imagination to practise believing this belief.
Practice makes perfect so take a few minutes every day to focus on your belief and imagine how it feels to deeply and effortlessly believe you are someone who easily stays on track.
Pretty soon you won’t be imagining; you’ll be reminding yourself this is what you truly believe. And because you always act in accordance with your beliefs, you’ll act in a way that keeps you on track – even when wedges are involved.
- Ask yourself: What would I need to believe to easily and enjoyably achieve my ideal weight and maintain the result for the rest of my life?”
- Note down 1 or 2 supportive beliefs you would like to cultivate
- Schedule a daily reminder to vividly imagine for 2 minutes holding this belief
- Complete your imagination exercise; notice how it feels, what you see and what you hear as you hold this belief.