This is going to be a briefer post that usual, because I think I can actually make this point quite concisely. When I was training to become a personal trainer we talked about how to set goals for new clients and how to motivate them (ugh I HATE motivation, it’s such bollocks). One way of doing this is to get them to find a photo of themselves when they were at the weight they’re aiming at to help them picture that end result.
The problem is, if someone has never been slim or was slim a long, long time ago, they’re either not going to have a photo, the photo’s going to be too out dated and most photos don’t really show a good enough image of your physique at the time or how you felt at that size.
What you tend to find as well, is that clients or anyone trying to lose weight has got to a point where they can’t stand the size they’re at and don’t want to be that big any more. They don’t want to be fat, I don’t want to be fat, we don’t want to be fat, no, no, no! So, people put themselves off food by thinking about how fat they are and looking at pictures of themselves being fat. Fat, fat, fat. There is a train of thought that says your brain might only pick up on the word ‘fat’ and mean you end up so preoccupied with fat and picturing the thing you’re trying to avoid that it can actually prevent you from losing weight because you’re not actually focusing on obtaining slimness, just avoiding fatness. This sort of means you haven’t really got a goal in mind, i.e. being slim, you’re just trying NOT to be fat. Does that make any sense?
Now, I’ve talked about setting yourself up for success, encourage the behavior you want and discourage the behavior you don’t want. I do think there is something in this idea of avoiding something rather than aiming for something as a way of thinking that may be holding you back because, in a way you’re only doing half of the thought process. Instead, the full thought process would be, ‘I don’t want to be fat, I do want to be slim.’ So, for those clients we talked about at the start of the post, I actually think it might be good to have a photo of yourself at your biggest BUT only if you also have a photo of yourself at the size you’re trying to get to as well and can see them in the same place. You need both to make sure you’ve got the whole picture! The larger picture discourages you from being unhealthy and the slim picture encourages you to keep going with being healthy to reach your goal!
If you have never been slim and never seen what you look like and have no photos, then, seeing yourself in the mirror at the larger size is going to be the equivalent of having a photo of yourself looking large, so no need to add insult to injury and pin up a photo somewhere too. What you will need to do instead, is perhaps look at your body type and find some pictures of celebrities who you think you may look like when you’re slimmer. Now, you’ve got to have a sensible head on when doing this and avoid getting any unrealistic, overly airbrushed images that you’ve picked just because you think they look good. Pick people who you may not even like but who have a similar body type to you. These can be your visual reminder of what you’re aiming for.
In addition, you can do things like work out what your ideal weight would be, to give you something reasonable to aim at . You can also do some visualizations where you lie on your bed in the quiet, close your eyes and just imagine what it’s like to be slim. Picture how your stomach, arms, legs, face, etc, will look. Think about how easily you’ll be able to move around, how much fun it would be to try on clothes, what the clothes would look like. Picturing this should keep balance between avoiding being fat and working towards become slim.
OK, so I have not been brief, but let’s think of one final example. I realized I had been applying this weird logic to clothes shopping by browsing online for hours thinking, ‘no, no, no, no, no’ and not finding a single thing I wanted and wondering why! It’s because I’d only done half the thinking. I knew what I didn’t want, but hadn’t actually spent any time about considering what I actually did want. After looking at a billion tumblers for inspiration and collecting some images of things I liked, when I went back online to do some shopping I found loads of stuff I wanted because I actually had an idea of what I was looking for.
This really is only a tiny, tiny thing, but it all counts when you’re trying to lose weight! Everyone needs all the help they can get to stay in the right mindset.
What does everyone think about this idea? I think it’s just made me remember what I’m aiming for and visualize the end point more strongly rather than getting bogged down in worry about being fat! Also, think this could apply to other areas of life, for example if there’s something you always moan about, like your hair or wardrobe, rather than thinking about how much you hate it, think about how you would like it to be and do what you can to move towards that goal!