You’ve been following diets for years—maybe decades. You go to bed hungry at night. You put off eating until you can’t stand it anymore, thinking you’re getting ahead of the game. Because you’ve heard that exercise is the only sure route to weight loss, you get a gym membership or resolve to start walking every day.
Does it work? If it did, you probably wouldn’t be reading this. The chances are you lost a few pounds but got tired of going hungry, driving to the gym, or going out in the rain to walk. So your determination weakened and pretty soon you were on a plateau or—worse yet—gaining back the weight you’d lost.
You started on your new program at 170 or 185 or 215 pounds. You got down to 160 or 178 or 198 pounds. Your hopes were high. But then life got in the way. Your positive attitude eroded. You thought “The heck with it. This is too hard.”
Your subconscious mind knew all along that it would win. Your ego at the controls was determined but your subconscious wasn’t convinced. There’s an old saying: “The underdog always wins.”
The only sure way to lasting lifestyle change is to persuade the subconscious mind, to seduce the underdog. The subconscious wants to do what feels good, what’s fun and what gives it peace. The underdog wants steak, not dry dog food.
That’s where affirmations come in. Until you persuade your subconscious mind that a heathy lifestyle is what your deeper self wants most, food will rule. True, you might be one of those exceptional beings capable of lifelong deprivation who can attain a thin body through prolonged suffering and maybe drugs. But who wants a life of deprivation and drugs as a lifetime recipe?
With the use of affirmations, you can —excuse us—have your cake and eat it, too. You can destroy the power of food over your life. You can stop obsessing about what you can and can’t eat. You can end your calorie-counting days forever.
How Does It Work?
Affirmations work through repeated exposure. You read them over and over. Marketing research tells us that over twenty exposures to a message are needed before it sinks in and takes hold.
You should carry your affirmations with you as a list or printed on cards. At stoplights, you can pull them out and read a few until the light turns green. While waiting in the doctor’s office, you can take out your list or cards and concentrate on them.
As you read each affirmation, your subconscious mind will absorb it. This happens because the affirmations embed new beliefs in your mind. They work because they’re in tune with your body’s natural needs.
You may think, “This is too easy. I don’t believe it.” You don’t have to believe it. The affirmations will work despite the fact that you’re skeptical. The messages will find their way to your subconscious mind where they’ll change your attitudes at a deeper level. Your behaviors will start to change. It’s happened to thousands of other people. It can happen to you, too.
How To Use Affirmations
There are several ways to use affirmation lists. If you use the list at the end of this blog, copy your favorites into a word program. Enlarge the print and use boldface type. Leave plenty of white space between affirmations so they’re easy to read. Print them on heavy paper stock or cards and keep them next to your bed, on your desk, on the refrigerator, in the car, or any other place you frequent. Writing them out by hand works, too—maybe even better.
Read the ones at your bedside first thing in the morning and just before you go to sleep. Tape a list somewhere on your desk or on the refrigerator where you’ll see it often. Use the affirmations in your car when you’re stalled in traffic Take them with you to places where you know you’ll have to wait. Remind yourself to look at them often. Reading them will take less than a minute.
If you make your own cards, you can download images from the Internet to go with each affirmation. Or clip attractive images from magazines. Look at the cards before you go to sleep at night. Bedtime is particularly effective because the messages filter into your subconscious and do their work while you sleep.
Words Are Powerful
The words you say about yourself determine what you become. Words are powerful. When you say over and over, “I love shopping for groceries at the produce market,” that’s how you’ll feel before long. If you repeat, “Fresh fruits are my favorite snacks and desserts,” soon you’ll find yourself choosing them instead of sweet, fatty foods. It will become a preference and not a matter of self-discipline.
Never make negative statements about your eating habits or weight. When you say, “No more cheesecake for me!” your subconscious ignores the “No” and fixates on the cheesecake. Without intending to, you give power to something you’re trying to give up.
As a prisoner of food, you might as well be living in a real prison. You’ve become enslaved by food. Real prisoners say they hate being confined, but in reality many have become comfortable with the safety of prison life. A few prisoners who are about to be paroled actually ask the warden to let them keep living where they’re spent so many years of their life. They say, “I don’t want my freedom. It’s too late to start over.”
When they’re released, they’re fearful about starting a new life on the outside. Before long, they commit another crime—then get caught because they take foolish risks, almost asking to be sent back to prison. Unconsciously they want to get arrested because freedom is scary.
Food isn’t that much different. The prison of an eating addiction can be comforting, even when a person hates the results. Affirmations can pave the pathway to recovery.
The mind-body connection is so powerful that affirmations have a healing effect on your body without your being aware of what’s happening. For example, one affirmation says, “I drink lots of cold refreshing water.” If you read it repeatedly, you’ll find yourself getting thirsty. You’ll develop the habit of drinking water frequently, not intentionally but because you want to satisfy your thirst. Experts tell us that water intake is important to weight loss.
Going hungry doesn’t work. At least not for long. Strict diets fail because they go against the body’s needs. Eventually the dieter’s self-discipline collapses under the strain. Old eating habits return.
Hunger is a healthy, normal response to the body’s need for nutrients. Food is necessary to provide energy and maintain tissue and bone. When your body has had enough food, it signals the satiety center in your brain. The trouble is that people with unhealthy food habits have learned to ignore the signals. They sometimes eat beyond the point of satiety because they subconsciously fear the hunger that comes when they start dieting again. Without realizing it, they worry that each binge may be their last, and so they stuff themselves.
Affirmations teach you to respect your body’s signals that you’ve had enough food.
A Word About Exercise
Your affirmations should include exercise because regular physical activity is an essential part of a healthy weight loss program. Embedding the desire for exercise into your subconscious mind not only helps you lose weight but it ensures that you keep it off.
Exercise doesn’t have to be exhausting or painful. Walking the dog, bicycling, gardening, and dancing are all excellent for weight loss. The exercise you do must be fun or it won’t last. If you dread your regular workout, you’ll soon drop it.
Besides burning off calories, exercise diverts the circulation away from your digestive tract and into your muscles. This reduces feelings of hunger. Instead of wanting to eat more food, you’ll want less. Also, if you’re having fun exercising, you’re unlikely to be thinking about food.
Vigorous physical activity releases brain chemicals called endorphins. They raise your mood, giving you a natural high. An example is “runner’s high.”
Your affirmations should encourage you to love and respect yourself. The should contain no negative messages and no blame. They should forbid nothing. They turn your conscious and unconscious mind to positive behaviors and habits.
Harsh judgments and name-calling have no place in your weight-loss program. When you punish yourself for bad food choices or slacking off in your exercise, you go against the best interests of your mind and body. It’s no accident that the words no, none, not and never are absent from the affirmations on our list.
If you have a relapse, forgive yourself. Tell yourself, “I’m human.” Read your affirmations more often. Directing your attention to positive, healthy behaviors that undermine your weight loss program. That’s why it’s important to avoid saying things like, “I won’t eat any more French fries.” Your subconscious doesn’t hear the word “won’t.” It hears “French fries.” You don’t want French fries to be the focus of your attention.
Power of Affirmations
People have used affirmations to cure themselves of serious, even fatal illness. Affirmations can relieve pain. They have helped people get over phobias such as fear of flying, stage fright, and claustrophobia.
Affirmations help you stop seeing yourself as a person doomed to a life of obesity. Instead you’ll see your extra pounds as a burden that’s not in line with your authenticity as a healthy person—healthy and energetic.
Give your affirmations a week or two to start working. If you read them several times a day on a regular basis you’ll start to see results. As your weight loss program starts taking effect, don’t slack off. Keep using the affirmations daily until your new beliefs and behaviors are firmly in place. Even when you’ve reached your goal weight, read them at night before going to bed.
Twenty-five Sample Affirmations
- I feel my body getting stronger and lighter every day.
- My rate of metabolism is rising as I exercise more.
- Every day more fat melts off my body.
- I move around a lot during the day.
- I often breathe deeply during the day to boost my metabolism.
- I enjoy exercising every day.
- I have lots of energy.
- I am flexible about the foods I eat, avoiding rigid rules.
- I enjoy fresh fruits as snacks.
- I eat modest portions of food at meals.
- I enjoy vegetables at meals.
- I keep my refrigerator stocked with healthy foods.
- By practicing a positive outlook, I lose weight more easily.
- I believe in progress rather than perfection.
- I let go of old stories about myself, keeping my life new and fresh.
- It’s safe for me to be my authentic self.
- I choose to be with positive, enjoyable people.
- I can see the humorous side of my problems.
- I dress in clothes that make me feel attractive.
- I keep my body clean and fresh.
- I sleep soundly through the night.
- I drink lots of cold, refreshing water.
- I keep my surroundings neat and tidy.
- I depend upon a Higher Power of my own understanding to guide me.
- I pray or meditate every day.