As a weight loss counselor I called on several techniques often. I found these steps especially valuable in dealing with woman clients and young girls that I counseled as they battled their weight problems.
Basic Relaxation/Visualization Steps
1. Sit in a comfortable chair.
2. Wiggle your toes and adjust your feet, arms, and back so you are completely comfortable.
3. Take deep breaths to release all the tension.
4. Tighten your left hand into a fist; then let go until limp.
5. Tighten your right hand into a fist: then let go until limp.
6. Tense your leg muscles; then let go until limp.
7. Force a grin on your face; then let go until your face feel relaxed and limp.
8. Enjoy the feeling of limp throughout your entire body. Feel the relaxed heaviness as it takes over your entire body. Remain relaxed and quiet. Hear and see only the breathing.
9. With every breath you take allow yourself to go deeper and deeper into a state of looseness, agelessness and limpness.
10. Let all thoughts escape your mind.
11. After the mind is cleared being to visualize you enjoying your meals (pain-free).
12. See your plate filled with fresh green salads, raw fruits, fish, poultry, and lean beef. Feel the crisp taste of the flavors. Picture yourself as healthy and happy full of zest and vibrant energy.
13. See yourself as you go into an even deeper state of relaxation. Tell yourself that on the count of three you will emerge from this quiet state feeling wonderful and full of energy.
14. Count aloud one, two, and three.
15. You are awake and refreshed.
And while daily affirmations, self-talk and visualization techniques are essential it is vital that you learn how to make goals and to see them through. The following section provides this information. To illustrate the value of goal setting I will call upon a former client. To protect her identity we will call her Cindy.
Cindy's physical and emotional desperation hit her smack in the face the evening her husband rejected her sexually. It brought her to tears. The next morning her children crushed her. She wanted to give them a ride to school. They told her they were embarrassed to be seen with her in public.
Their brutal honesty sent her to the family doctor and then to my door. The fact is their brutal honesty pushed Cindy to take her first step towards getting help. Upon entering my office her demeanor shouted, "I am broken, can you help me?" As she shed tears and confessed her feeling of ugliness and shamefulness it was clear she was broken hearted. She was desperate. She needed help.
Cindy's acknowledgment of her problem was huge. She had decided to change and wanted to create a change. She needed help. She needed to be surrounded by people that could offer encouragement and tough love when necessary. She needed to create a healthier and happier life for herself.
Her next step was even bigger. It was to step on the scale in my presence. Experience has taught me that this is extremely difficult for people that have weight problems. Stepping on that scale in front of me meant her lies would be exposed. They were coming out of the closet and we were going to see them together. It meant facing her dirty weighty secret. It meant no more denial.
Confronting the fact that she needed to lose over 150 pounds was overwhelming. After determining her ideal weight it became necessary to put this in attainable goals without ever losing sight of the ultimate goal. "Take baby steps," I'd say. "One day at a time, one pound at a time. We are in this together."
Like many overweight individuals, Cindy had not been overweight in youth. As a matter of fact as a girl she frequented the beaches of California in her tiny, winy bikini. It was after moving to Oregon, she began putting on weight.
The truth is she was eating a dozen cookies before the kids would arrive home from school. After school she would sit with them and eat two or three more. Before the kids would get home she'd hide cookies so they would be available when she craved them or felt lonely or sad. Soon she found herself hiding other food and eating late at night. Instead of drinking water she drank soda and juice. Instead of eating three meals a day she would eat all day long. Her weight was out of control. She didn't like looking at herself in the mirror. She found herself repulsive and would use negative self-talk when talking to herself. She convinced herself that being overweight was an unsolvable problem. She convinced herself that losing weight was impossible. She convinced herself that being obese was her destiny. She believed that food provided her with confront and love. She believed it was an essential ingredient that helped to get her through the ups and downs in her life. She felt hopeless and unworthy of being thin. She thought herself as a fat person with no hope of a thin person immersing. She was in desperate need of help. She felt shame and was overwhelmed.
After weeks, months and years of abusing her self it was time to take action. This meant: facing truths about herself, wanting to lose weight for herself, getting into the office six days a week, stepping on the scale, having sessions with her weight loss counselor, using reprogramming techniques/strategies and setting goals.
Below are some mental reprogramming statements used to help Cindy towards reaching her ultimate weight loss goal of 121 pounds. Her accomplishments were recognized. Prior to me leaving Oregon she became my secretary/receptionist. She became a true inspiration. In the spring of 1983, her husband received a transfer with United States Postal Service. With her new image came confidence. Being an inspiration to others the corporate office and I made it our mission to help her create a new career by looking for opportunities with the company. Our employment searches paid off and she was offered a position with the company in Arizona. Cindy has created her change. She lost her weight, changed her hair color and moved to another state, a sunny state.
Mental Reprogramming Statements for Successful Weight Loss
I am willing to believe that being overweight is a solvable problem.
I believe I can lose weight.
I believe I can maintain my ideal weight even when life throws me a curve ball.
I believe I can maintain my ideal weight when life gets me down.
I am a beautiful person inside and cannot wait to reflect that image outwardly.
I acknowledge myself for being willing to what it takes to achieve my ideal weight loss and maintain it.
I will only eat under optimum conditions.
I will eat only when I am hungry.
I will eat slowly.
I will not hide food.
I will eat while sitting down in a calm environment.
I affirm my ability to stay on course so that I can manifest on the outside the perfection I am on the inside.
Change requires goal setting. Below you will find the basic format towards setting your goals and taking action.
ULTIMATE GOAL (S):
While thinking is always good, in my mind it is never enough that is why I must ask you to put the pen to paper. There's just something magical that happens when you write it out and see it in black and white. Write it down, make it happen. Date your piece of paper, and then write your goal(s) down in a general form. Reread what you just wrote. Looks good, but wait there's more.
Now, the hard work begins the act of being specific this is more effort, because it involves making a commitment and writing a plan. What I mean here is think it out, get what it is you want to accomplish clear in your head and plan it on paper.
Okay, we'll use your goal weight to illustrate the process. Let's say you weigh 153 pounds, are a female of medium stature and desire to be at your ideal weight, which is around 118 pounds according to the American Medical Association's Standard Weight for women. Let's be real, you know you haven't weighed 118 pounds since your wedding day. So, let's be truthful and dig deep to figure out what exactly it is that you want.
Try starting out by asking yourself the following question. Do I want to be healthy and happy or do I want to be trying to get healthy while being miserable? I think the first. Okay, we've established that a 118 pounds for you right now in your life is unrealistic and isn't going to happen. What we now have to determine is, what is your ideal weight, in your mind. The first part of setting any goal is to realize what it is that you wish to accomplish and then confronting yourself with realism. Let's begin this process logically. So, the first thing you need to do is ask yourself what can I live with?
Okay, let's say 130 pounds, because you weighed that up until two springs ago. Then one day in May you got a glimpse of your behind in a mirror and was forced to confront the fact that doughnuts and pizza have taken over your rear. Wow, major reality check! You strip yourself naked and look at yourself in front of the mirror for the first time in a very long time and wonder where you went. You are appalled and utterly disgusted with yourself. As a matter of fact, you are so upset you decide to lose weight. You don't know what to do. You pout a little, maybe even cry a little, beat yourself up, and complain a lot. You get mad at your significant other, because he or she failed to mention the fact that you were carrying a wide load. You lash out at your kids becausethey insist on Toll House Chocolate Chip cookies, and you chew your best friend out for not saying anything. Okay, enough is enough! It's time to take action! That's exactly what we're about to do. Let's get started, grab a pen, tablet, journal, or just a plain piece of paper and start getting with it.
Something to Think About:
The great end of life is not knowledge but action. ~ Thomas Henry Huxley
Write as follows: I, ___________________ weigh _________ and desire to weigh _________. I shall accomplish this by:
1) I shall admit that I need help and make an appointment with some one that can help me and force me to be accountable.
2) I shall go into the kitchen and clean out the junk food in my cupboards, refrigerator, and freezer, call the food bank and donate it.
3) I shall accomplish my goal by taking the advice of my counselor, nutritionist, or weight loss coach and buy the foods on the grocery list.
4) I shall not assume perfection from myself and I shall realize that losing this weight is going to take diligence, patience and time.
5) I shall lose my weight by drinking my water, eating on schedule and eating what is on my program.
6) I shall practice better eating habits and welcome meal times as events and opportunities for conversation and socialization.
7) I shall eat only to fuel my body and to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
8) I shall find an exercise buddy and establish an exercise routine.
9) I shall do my relaxation and positive oral self talk exercises daily.
10) I shall make a conscious effort to do a random act of kindness daily for a friend or stranger.
11) I shall avoid negative situations and negative people.
12) I shall celebrate my accomplishments at the end of the day by doing something positive for myself, like reading, watching a movie, getting my nails done, etc.
13) I shall practice breathing exercises three (3) times a day. I think you get the point, however, because this goal will take a lot of time and hard work you need to break it down into baby steps, so you can have some immediate gratifications. Here's what I'd like you to do, turn the page and read about mini goals.
Something to Think About:
Everything big starts little. ~ Brian Tracy
Mini goals are easily obtainable, because they are done within short periods of time and do not create stress. They are goals, which allow us to stay focused and driven, because we can see some colors of the rainbow at the end of each day.
Here's how to set your mini goals up. Ask yourself, what is it that you need to accomplish today to ensure you have a successful day. This can be one thing or as many as ten as long as they are realistic and easily obtainable. Make sure to prioritize, so you don't get upset with yourself if you don't complete everything on your list. These goals do not have to be related to your weight in any way. They can be simple tasks that gnaw at you just because they need to be tended to. After you accomplish one goal on the list, cross it out and move to the next. By the end of the day, you'll more than likely notice some things weren't completed. No worry, remember you prioritized so, and study the list and marvel in your accomplishments. Remember you have tomorrow, just simply move those that you didn't get to, to the top of the to-do list or goal sheet and get over it.
Now, reward yourself with something pleasant that does not involve food like: a facial, a bath, a movie, or quiet time. Just take time out for you. See your feeling better already! Even though you have accomplished some mini goals, I must stress that you must never lose sight of your ultimate goal. As a matter of fact, I suggest you write your goal weight daily, and busy yourself by focusing on the mini goals. Before you know it you'll have accomplished your ideal weight for you and be ready to stabilize and move on with another big goal in your life. Remember always be real, be honest, and celebrate your accomplishments.
Something to Think About:
Nothing has any power over me other than that which I give it through my conscious thoughts. ~ Anthony Robbins
One More Thing About Goals
When setting goals, do not forget to make physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual goals. I find by doing this it keeps me more grounded and aware of the world around me. It also provides me with the opportunities to think about other aspects in my life, so I do not become obsessed with one area. It allows me to be more real with myself and helps to provide me with more clarity and balance. So, think about the things that hold you back, that frighten you, your saboteurs, the obstacles and figure out how to walk through them, get by them, and get rid of them. For example, if you're afraid of heights, go to a gym, do some rock climbing and rejoice after you ring the bell. If you're afraid of water, start swimming lessons. Now, that you've begun to take action, it is time to start bringing in those other aspects with more diligence.
Something to Think About:
When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported back, the rate of improvement accelerates. ~ Thomas S. Monson
Here are some suggestions that can be applied to living a P.I.E.S. life. You will see some of these ideas more than once. I just want you to remember how important it is to take care of all of you.
I will eat on schedule.
I will sit down to eat.
I will focus on what it is I am eating.
I will eat colorful and healthy carbohydrates.
I will enjoy the food.
I will exercise daily. (At least ½ hour)
I will be kind to myself and keep a peace of mind.
I will use relaxation and visualization techniques daily.
I will be grateful for the many miracles and blessing in my life.
I will see light in darkness.
I will read books that help empower me.
I will learn something new every day.