Now that summer’s over, our inclination is to fall into a “healthy food hibernation” during the fall and winter months. For many of us, that means simply caving in to so many unhealthy holiday temptations that pack the extra pounds onto our bodies. Unfortunately, the negative health consequences of extra pounds are awake and on the prowl year-round seeking to devour our health. That’s why it’s critically important over the next few months to keep our focus on a firm foundation of healthy eating.
Millions of dieters fail to keep the pounds off permanently because they are trying to lose weight for all the wrong reasons. The good news is that we can train our minds to choose powerful, right reasons to lose the fat and keep it off, permanently. Yesterday, I shared the first commandment of weight loss success: Thou shalt not worship food as your god. Today, we look at the second commandment:
2. Thou shalt not worship a false image.
A “false image” is an idol that is worshiped. Don’t be fooled into worshiping a false image—a body that can only be achieved with the help of extreme plastic surgery and digital photo airbrushing by the beauty and fashion industry. You will never be happy if you pursue such false, superhuman images.
Warped perceptions of our physical appearance are created from the Barbie-type, airbrushed images that surround us every day. With these unrealistic expectations, it is no wonder so many people are dissatisfied with their bodies, self-conscious and incapable of appreciating basic good health. This goes especially for women—four out of five women are unhappy with their bodies. The consequences: teenage girls tormented with self-scrutiny, pregnant women deprived of essential nourishment in order to limit weight gain and the new prevalence of eating disorders among women in midlife.
Even preteen girls in the United States grow up with Barbie dolls, playing out scenes for what their adult lives could be. According to Marie Claire magazine, if Barbie were a real woman, she would be 7 feet 2 inches and possess these unlikely measurements: 40-inch bust, 22-inch waist and 36-inch hips!
Are we allowing our celebrity-obsessed culture to torture our minds (and checkbooks) with impossible idols instead maintaining a realistic, beautiful and healthy body image? It should make us angry enough to change our thoughts and actions. It is critical that we develop a crystal-clear picture of a realistic, beautiful and healthy body in our mind’s eye.
Why is it important to visualize a realistic, perfect body? Doing so will force us to make a win-or-lose decision with every meal or snack. We empower ourselves to choose whether that extra cookie or fatty bite is really worth wrecking our dreams and health.
Let’s take some time right now to visualize the perfect body clearly. Smile while you are doing this. I want you to focus on clearly seeing the exact beautiful body that you want to have:
• See softer, sexier skin with diminished wrinkles and discoloration.
• See silkier hair and stronger, longer nails.
• See leaner arms with a trimmer stomach and smaller waistline.
(Picture it in your mind.)
• See a smaller, firmer gluteus maximus that isn’t sagging.
• See leaner, toner legs with a tighter skin appearance.
Take some serious time to imagine your beautiful, unique self, only leaner, softer, and more beautiful. Do you like what you see?
Now, we’re really going to put your imagination in hyperdrive — going deep within your body to imagine what you can’t see but yet is vital to a long, satisfying life:
• See a healthier brain, heart, circulation system, digestive tract, kidneys and liver.
• Feel the weight taken off your joints.
• Feel more energy ready to meet and beat the challenges in life.
(Take a moment and really feel it.)
• Feel a spring in your step with the urge to move.
• See a glow in your eyes and a smile on your face.
• Feel the comfort and satisfaction of total body beauty and wellness.
Now see a life that you and your family love, full of good health, physical activity and great memories.
Can you see the metamorphosis taking place? I can. Can you feel the positive changes taking place? I can feel them. We can choose to have the beautiful body and energized life that we have visualized. This is empowerment.
I’m always amazed to see someone’s shock when they realize for the very first time that their mind is actually master over their body. The only reason we won’t win the war on ugly fat and wrinkles is if we don’t consciously force our minds to make win-or-lose decisions about eating.
How can we force our minds to make the right eating decisions? Every time we start to eat or drink, we have to visualize our perfect body image and ask, “Will this food or drink nourish and beautify my body, or will it pour ugly gelatinous fat, sugar and chemicals into it?” This forces us to decide whether or not that extra bite or sip is really more valuable to us than our perfect bodies and being with our families.
Will we always choose the “win” decision? Of course not. We are all human, but remember that persistence always dominates. If we make win decisions consistently over time, we take steps down the right path to our perfect bodies.
Defeat is only temporary until the next win-or-lose decision. If we make the wrong decision we have to immediately decide to make the right decision the next time.
We will refuse to let small, temporary defeats spiral out of control and derail our walk. Let’s not be guilty of The Perfectionist Dieter’s Creed: “If I fall off my diet, I’ve failed, and therefore I am a total failure . . . and therefore I might as well eat this entire pint of ice cream and anything else I find calling my name from the recesses of the fridge. I am a diet sinner and an unworthy worm. Therefore I will eat everything in sight.”
We’ve all been at this point in the past, but let’s refuse to go there in the future. Our inner psychological change gives us the power to say no to spiraling out of control. We will walk the line over time together.
Aaron Tabor, MD., is a diet and nutrition expert and book author. You can learn more about his weight-loss philosophy and weight-loss system by visiting DrTabor.com.
Next: Thou Shalt Not Murder