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Mind Over Body

Filed in Fitness, Food, General, Nutrition by on 01/14/2019 Comments • views: 4087

It’s that time of year when many say to themselves ‘this year I’m gonna’ get and stay in shape!’ They proceed to purchase the latest exercise equipment, a monthly meal plan and/or a sleep aid with the genuine intention of getting in shape. But as months (or even weeks) pass, their wellness ebullience dissipates. The exercise machine that was purchased not too long ago sits in a corner of a room gathering dust. The healthy meals delivered to their homes accumulate in the refrigerator and eventually end up in the garbage. The pledge to get and stay shape is purposefully forgotten.

A primary reason why we don’t stick with getting and staying in shape is because we erroneously believe that getting and staying in shape starts with the body. This is far from the truth. Getting and staying in shape starts with the mind.

Your body will do what your mind tells it to do (or not to do). For example, when you enter an office, restaurant, church or other facility and you notice a seat, your mind tells your body to sit down even if you’re not tired. Similarly, what you think effects how you feel, how u feel influences what u do. It begins in the mind.

Transforming your mind, as it relates to getting and staying in shape, can enable you to maintain a healthy lifestyle even on those days when your body doesn’t “feel” like it. A transformed mind will drive you to exercise, even when you don’t “feel” like it. A transformed mind will drive you to avoid junk food, even when your body wants it. A transformed mind will drive you to get better sleep even when your body wants to stay up late. It all starts with the mind.

Here are a few wellness areas where you may need to change your way of thinking and a few tips as to how to transform your mind in order to get and stay in shape:

Change The Way You Think About The Phrase “Work Out”

  • Some time ago, a woman approached me and said “…Luckie, I need your help! I workout, but I’m not losing weight!” I proceeded to ask her about her nutrition and sleep and discovered that she continued to maintain unhealthy eating and sleeping habits. Her definition of “workout” only included exercise. “Workout” is not just exercise. “Workout” includes exercise, nutrition and sleep. All three are of equal importance when getting and staying in shape.

Change The Way You Think About Food and Eating

  • Many don’t eat because they’re necessarily hungry but instead eat because they’re bored, depressed or their minds are preoccupied. If you’ve already eaten and you find yourself going for more, first think to yourself ‘ Am I getting something else to eat because I’m hungry or is there another reason?’ When in doubt, do something active instead of eating. You may find that doing something active, like taking a leisurely walk, may suffice.
  • Many have also developed a way of thinking that they must completely finish a meal. If you feel full, you shouldn’t think that you have to “finish your plate” just because there is food that remains. Reject the thought and stop eating. Place the remaining food in Tupperware or have it put in a “doggie bag” and eat the remainder the following day or give it to someone in need.
  • Lastly, there are others who eat mindlessly. Though I’m admittedly not the “food police”, I’ll often watch people eat at BBQs. Some pile a mountain of food on their plates. Before they’ve finished their meals, they’re heading to the table for seconds and even thirds. By not allowing the time needed for the mind to communicate to the body that it’s full, they’ve overeaten and have consumed a considerable amount of calories.

Change The Way You Think About Exercise

  • Exercise is less about the body and more about the mind. The body will do what the mind tells it to do (or not to do). When it’s time to exercise, focus on getting started and “Just Do It!”  Like you, there are days when I don’t “feel” like exercising and my mind will come up with a myriad of excuses. There are even times when I suddenly feel lethargic just before it’s time for me to exercise! I have to consistently push through the thoughts of not wanting to exercise and “Just Do It!” despite how I may feel. Amazingly, the (temporary) lethargic feelings I had before I start my exercise disappear during (and certainly after) I exercise.


  • It’s also helpful to write down a weekly exercise schedule. However, once you’ve written it down, don’t think about it everyday. Instead “Just Do It!” Do your exercise routine, when the time comes, without hesitation or delay.


  • Once you start your exercise routine, focus your mind on the first exercise only. Often when we think about all the exercises that are apart of our routine, we become mentally fatigued before we even get started. Instead, focus your mind on the first exercise.  As you do the first exercise, the “feel good” endorphins will kick in and you’ll notice yourself doing the next exercise. Additionally, when doing a particular set of an exercise, set a target in your mind, but focus on doing one rep at a time. Sometimes when you focus on a target number, it can seem unattainable. But if you focus on doing one rep at a time, you may not only hit your target, but may even surpass it.


  • Finally, instead of focusing on your body during exercise, focus your mind on strengthening your focus, discipline, determination, will and drive. Focusing on these intangibles will not only enable you to complete the exercise that will lead to strengthening your body. It will also strengthen your ability to focus your thoughts during trials, tough times and the vicissitudes of life.


Change the way you think about sleep

  • We must begin to think of high quality sleep as a necessity, not as something that’s extra or optional. You should begin to think of sleep as a garage for your body; a place where your body is repaired and allowed to recover.

You have to accept that there will be discomfort and sacrifices to get and stay in shape. But you also have to accept that the discomfort and sacrifices will produce health and wellness.

Be patient with yourself as the transformation of your mind takes place. As your mind becomes transformed, your body will follow.

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