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Powerful AffirmationsAnd Losing Fat Are Interconnected, Part 2

The Caveat For Creating Your Own Affirmations

Powerful AffirmationsAnd Losing Fat Are Interconnected, Part 2The previous article talked about what affirmations are and the scientific evidence supporting their efficacy. In this article we talk about how you can create your own affirmations and start harnessing that efficacy for yourself. Following soon is a list of daily affirmations for you to begin using.

It’s not important you use exactly these for all time, in fact, I encourage you to create your own so that you can speak directly to yourself in a language with which you resonate strongly.

However there is a caveat…

…unless you are an experienced practitioner of affirmations, I suggest you begin with the examples I’ve provided here and once you experience the changes in yourself and therefore have a clearer understanding of what is happening, then you can try creating your own.

I say to do it this way because it would be perilous to repeat daily affirmations that are detrimental to your self-image or self-esteem and if you have no experience with them, it is possible you may create affirmations that do just that.

How to Do Your Daily Affirmations

Every morning, before you leave the house for the day or begin your tasks for the day, allot some time for saying your affirmations.

Follow these simple steps:

  1. Stand in front of a mirror and take a moment to smile at and greet yourself with love.
  2. Look into your eyes and feel a connection with your inner-self
  3. Speaking directly to your inner-self begin saying your affirmations
  4. Repeat them up to 5 times each
  5. If you can find the time, repeat steps 1 to 4 in the evening

List of Daily Affirmations

1. Confidence

  • I’m very secure and super confident in my abilities to accomplish my goals because I’m an amazing person that can do whatever I put my mind to.

2. Self-Esteem

  • I love and accept myself unconditionally because I’m a wonderful person that is full of love and goodness.

3. Self-Image

  • When I walk into a room, everyone is drawn to my self-confidence and beauty because the beautiful love I feel for myself shines from my body and from my smile and radiates throughout the room and the world.

4. Happiness

  • I’m incredibly happy and satisfied with my magnificent life because every day, everywhere I look, I see wonderful things flowing effortlessly into my life for which I feel immense gratitude and happiness.

5. Healthiness

  • Everyday, in every moment, I find it very easy to love and care for my body by making healthy choices because I love my body and choose to treat it with love and respect.

6. Weight Loss

  • I’m super excited and overflowing with joy and gratitude because every day my body becomes thinner, healthier, stronger and more beautiful.

7. Prosperity

  • Prosperity flows easily to me in many forms from places expected and unexpected, every moment of every day.

Use affirmations in your daily journey of weight loss – they allow us to see that our journey is not a struggle, but a path of self-discovery and healing. Keep that in mind as you picture the slimmer, sexier you that you are on your way to becoming!

Powerful Affirmations And Losing Fat Are Interconnected, Part 1

Affirmations are a type of constructive self-talk.

Powerful Affirmations And Losing Fat Are Interconnected, Part 1You write an affirmation specifically to help you get to the self-belief you’re aiming for but unable to achieve in an instant thought. So over time, with daily repetition of your affirmations, you begin to ‘believe’ the affirmation. The ideas become part of your ‘identity’ and you begin to experience the benefits that come with being the person that believes those things about themselves.

My Personal Story

Affirmations are incredibly powerful tools for really improving the way you see and feel about yourself and we’ve already discussed the importance of a strong self-image and self-esteem in successful weight loss. In my own life I used them to take myself from depression to a high achiever during my twenties.

I had been kicked out of 2 universities for failing, I was not on speaking terms with my family, had moved away from all of my friends and was broke and unemployed. Most of my days were spent smoking pot and feeling sorry for myself.

It was not a good scene.

I had no self-belief and no self-esteem, those important energies were crushed under the false feeling I had of inadequacy and that I was a “loser”.

However, I knew from looking around me at the many happy people going about their lives that there was certainly a better way to live, I just had to discover how to get there.

I stumbled across a book that used affirmations to improve how you feel about yourself. While at the time I thought the idea of saying nice things to yourself everyday as a means of improving my state of mind and spirit as a bunch-o-bull, but I had nothing to lose so gave it a go.

After only a week or so of using affirmations something began to happen. I did not even notice myself, it was the people I knew that began to comment I was looking better, I looked more confident, I was more assertive.

Encouraged but still not convinced I continued with my daily affirmations. Eventually, saying my affirmations become one of my favorite times of the day.

Looking into your eyes in the mirror and saying very positive, constructive and uplifting things about yourself on a daily schedule is amazingly, amazingly powerful.

To make a long story short, I went from unhealthy, broke, unemployed, depressed ‘loser’ to university graduated professional that cared and treated himself with love and respect. Every aspect of my life improved, DRAMATICALLY.

While it can’t be said it’s due 100% to the affirmation, I will say with confidence the affirmations were key components to my transformation, especially in gathering the early momentum.

Now almost 20 years later they are still a tool I keep at-the-ready in my bag-o-tricks for when I want to shape my self-image and self-esteem to a place I’m not yet able to achieve in an instant thought.

Please try affirmations yourself; to skip over them would be missing a grand opportunity and loss of a leverage point for achieving your weight loss goals.

Scientific Evidence Affirmations Work

There is a lot of evidence that thoughts directly affect the function of your body, not in some kind of mystical way that we can’t explain, but in real measurable changes.

I’m not suggesting there isn’t also something going on we can’t explain yet, because knowing how powerful affirmations are I’m sure they allow us to tap a source of energy which is available to all of us but utilized far less than is available.

For the more skeptical among us, let’s focus more on what science has been able to observe and measure when it comes to validating the positive effects of affirmations.

Thoughts (and therefore affirmations because affirmations are ‘deliberate-thoughts’) have been shown to have 2 direct affects on your body.

1. Affirmations Change Your Brain and Body Chemistry

  • Cathy Chapman, Ph.D., LCSW says in her book, Strengthening the Immune System: ‘If you are someone who thinks sad, angry or negative thoughts most of the day, you are weakening your immune system. The chemicals in your body which fight off infection can be clinically shown to decrease.’
  • Lauren Robins, MS, LMT says: ‘Within 20 seconds, the chemical composition of the body is altered by a thought, having an acid or alkaline effect on our body… As we persevere on limiting negative thoughts, our nervous system sends chemicals to muscles; our physical body contracts and thinking becomes foggy.’
  • Dr Joseph M Carver, PhD, says: ‘Thoughts change brain chemistry… our thoughts changing neurotransmitters on a daily basis. We feel what we think! Positive thinking works… what we think about a situation actually creates our mood.’
  • Dr. Joseph Dispenza says: ‘Our thoughts have a direct connection to our direct level of health. Thoughts make a chemical. If you have happy thoughts then you’re producing chemicals that make you feel happy. It you have negative thoughts, angry thoughts or insecure thoughts, those thoughts make chemicals to make you feel how you’re thinking… There is sound evidence that our thoughts do matter.’

2. Affirmations Change the Physical Structure of Your Brain

  • As if referring specifically to affirmations, Dr. Joseph Dispenza also says: ’We always replace those old patterns with a greater ideal of ourselves. If rehearsed mentally, we will grow new circuits in the brain, the platform in which we stand on to execute a new level of self.
  • Affirmations expert, Danea Horn says: ‘Discoveries in 20th century neuroplasticity have demonstrated that the physical reality of our brain has been formed from our past experiences and can change based on new input’.

The above are only a small handful of the many scientific papers and opinions from respected scholars, which provide strong scientific evidence of the efficacy of affirmations.

In conclusion to this article, here is just one more piece of evidence, which shows very conclusively the extraordinary power of affirmations.

  • A study from the University of Colorado, published in the Science journal, found African-American middle school students had improved grade averages as a direct result of practicing daily positive affirmations. But possibly the most promising result of the study is how long the positive effects were experienced because even 2 years after the study had ended, these children still had higher grade averages than before they did the affirmations study!

Goal Setting And Weight Loss

Scientific Research Proves Goals Increase Performance

Goal Setting And Weight LossIn his published research article titled, “Goal Setting and Task Performance: 1969–1980”, E. Locke compiled a review paper of many different scientific studies on goal setting, which had taken place over an 11-year period. He found that in 90% of the studies, performance was improved by goal setting when compared to no goal setting.

In other words, you have a much better chance of getting the body you want if you set some goals.

Don’t Set a ‘Weight-Loss-In-Pounds’ Goal

I know it’s tempting but don’t set a specific ‘weight loss in pounds’ goal because this type of goal doesn’t indicate your body mass composition.

Muscle is twice as heavy as fat so if you are losing fat AND gaining muscle the scales may not have even budged (or in my case could even show you’re heavier) despite a considerable improvement in appearance.

So you can become discouraged despite making great progress in your appearance.

I think I have to admit to myself you’re probably still going to be checking your weight anyway so at the very least you MUST also use one of the following measurements to track your progress.

(PS. Don’t check your weight every day, once every 2 weeks or once a month is better. Biggest Loser contestants only check their weight once a week and they work on fat loss all day every day).

4 Better Methods For Measuring Your Fat Loss Progress

  1. Set appearance goals. Taking a look in the mirror and then returning everyday to check your progress is not accurate and research has shown that many people (especially woman) often perceive their body as being fatter than it really is. Instead, take ‘before’ photos and then periodically take ‘after’ photos and objectively compare them.
  2. Record tape measurements of your hips, waist, things, arms etc.. all the places you want to lose fat and then create a goal measurements for each or a goal total.
  3. Pinch the skin on your belly, your thighs, your waist… wherever you’d like to lose fat and record how much you are able to grab because reducing the size of how much you can pinch is a good goal. Use fat calipers if you have them, otherwise use your hands and a camera. More instruction on this later
  4. If you have clothes at home that don’t fit anymore, you can make fitting into them a goal. Or if you’ve been overweight so long you don’t have any ‘small’ clothes anymore, you can make your goal fitting into a smaller size than you currently wear.

The Structure of a Goal

Effective weight loss goals have these characteristics:

  1. Specific: Know exactly what body goals you want to accomplish with all the details
  2. Measurable: Make sure you can measure your progress
  3. Attainable: Your goal must be realistic but there is no harm in really pushing the limits… all that is necessary is you believe it’s attainable
  4. Time-Sensitive: Decide how long you are giving yourself to achieve the goal
  5. Confident: Be definitive and confident; say the goal like you are sure it’s going to happen. Use phrases like “I will..”, “I’m going to…”, “I plan to…”, “I intend to…”. DON’T use “I want to…”, “I wish…” or “I’d like to…”

Example of an INEFFECTIVE Weight Loss Goal

“I want to lose weight”

This goal is ineffective because:

  • It is not specific
  • It has no timeline
  • No mention of how it will be measured
  • Not a confident statement of success

Example of an EFFECTIVE Weight Loss Goal

“I will lose a total of 12 inches from the combined 12 measurements taken from my bust, chest, waist, hips, thighs and arms by [date here].”

This goal is effective because:

  • It’s specific
  • It has a timeline
  • It’s measurable
  • It’s attainable
  • It’s confident

Other examples:

“I intend to fit into a size 12 dress by [date here].”

“I’m going to wear my old favorite size 10 jeans out for a night on the town on [date here].”

“I will proudly wear a 2-piece bikini to the beach on the first day of summer this year.”

“I will look amazing and beautiful in my size 8 wedding dress on my wedding day on [date here]”.

The ‘Catch-22’ of Goal Setting

Each of your goals can be thought of in 2 ways:

  1. Feeling great about progressing toward it, having it, achieving it
  2. Feeling depressed about not progressing toward it, not having it, not achieving it

So it’s important you use your goals to inspire you to achieve success, not remind you of your lack of success.

Can you see the distinction?

Think about it because it’s an important understanding… if you don’t get it there’s a strong chance your goals will only discourage you rather than uplift you.

How Important is it to Achieve Your Goals?

If you don’t hit your goal, don’t take that as a sign of failure.

Goals are less about hitting the exact mark you aimed for and more about propelling you to a result much better than you could have achieved without them.

Many goal experts say you should set goals that would be incredibly difficult to ever accomplish because the higher the goal the higher the level of success you achieve. In fact, there are even experts that believe you should NEVER reach your goals.

Whatever the stand on goal-setting, research has proven that keeping your goal constantly in your frame of consciousness and awareness is what allows you to achieve better results than if you didn’t have a goal at all. Don’t take your goals lightly!

The Relationship between Depression and Obesity

The Relationship between Depression and ObesityYou already know from previous articles that social stresses and the ‘Daily Attack’ on your Mind and Spirit are inherent in living in a consumerist society. Although it may be obvious to you already, I’d like to spend a little time discussing why including Mind and Spirit therapy steps in your weight loss program will return you big results in your waist line. Your goal must be to become invulnerable to the social stresses and ‘Daily Attack’ because only then will the results you desire shrink from mountains to molehills in attainability.

Let’s talk about the relationship between depression and obesity.  Psychological depression includes feelings of:

 

This is a good time to point out it is thoroughly documented that your thoughts (and subsequent feelings) affect your physical condition. While I’m not suggesting you’re depressed, I have chosen the state of depression to discuss because it is an extreme representation of low self-image and low self-esteem. Although depression in itself is not an indication of weight problems, there is an undeniable link between depression and obesity.

Studies have found that depressed people (low self-image and low self-esteem) are much more likely to become obese than people without depression (a healthier self-image and self-esteem). Depressed persons have a 58% increased risk of becoming obese (http://depression.about.com/b/2010/03/03/obesity-and-depression-are-linked-say-researchers.htm) And it is even agreed by doctors and researchers that many depressed people will look to food as a means of comfort. Reduced physical activity and overeating – “particularly comfort foods rich in fats and sugars to improve mood” – are common among depressed and anxious patients. (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/166617.php)

Depression (and anxiety) have also been linked to insulin resistance, a hormonal problem which can result in obesity and diabetes. You’ll hear more about insulin resistance in later sections.

You may be thinking “I’m not depressed, so what has that got to do with me?”

I make this point of identifying the link between depression (low self-image and low self-esteem) and obesity because there is no place on the scale of self-image and self-worth where you suddenly start having weight problems. It is a sliding-scale, meaning the lower your self-image and self-esteem the more you will struggle with weight. And conversely, the higher your self-image and self-esteem the more success you have with controlling your weight.

The Daily Attack on Your Self-Image and Self-Esteem

The Daily Attack on Your Self-Image and Self-EsteemIn this article we will discuss how our commercial & consumerist society erodes your self-image & self-esteem, making weight loss very difficult.

Commercialism & consumerism have their benefits, there is no denying it, but they also come at a hefty price. Not only is our Planet being polluted at a rate which sends shivers down your spine, but so is your psyche. The inevitability of commercialism is extreme competition for a share of the marketplace (fighting for you dollars). And in this environment of increasing competition, each competitor tries to rise above the din by increasing the emotional appeal of their message.

This is done by first creating as much emotional unease and conflict as possible in their prospect because it’s proven that purchase decisions (whether the buyer cares to admit it or not) are 80% emotionally based and only about 20% rationally based.

In fact, creating emotional stress is a foundation of marketing and the industry even has terminology such as ‘emotional trigger words’, ‘increasing emotional pain’, ‘tweaking the pain’ and so on.

The psychology of increasing emotional stress pays off when having agitated the prospect (that’s you) to extreme levels of emotional discomfort, the advertiser then offers their product as a solution to your woes. If they have done their marketing correctly, you will perceive their product with a strong emotional appeal –-> ka-ching!

Unfortunately, in this environment of deliberate emotional propaganda, the poor consumer like you and I takes a daily beating that would have had consumers of 150 years ago lying in the fetal position in the darkest corner of their bedroom before the week is out!

The message is: “You’re Not Enough.”

The images used in advertising for female and male products in the most part include women and men of unusual attractiveness with amazing bodies. These beautiful people represent an unattainable ideal for the vast majority of us and so by comparison we can never hope to compare. These statistics will create some perspective for you:

  • The average American woman is 5’4″ tall and weighs in at 140 pounds.
  • The average American model is 5’11″ tall and weighs in at a tiny 117 pounds!

So the stark reality (or non-reality) is that most fashion models are thinner than 98% of American women. The average American woman is 7 inches shorter AND 23 lbs heavier than the average American model! Feeling good about the way we look is a battle when advertising images we see hundreds of times a day are so “different” from us.

However, these images imply without subtlety, that it’s better to look like you’re 5’11” and weight only 117 pounds because these beautiful people you want to look like are portrayed in clothes you’d like to wear, at exotic locations you’d like to visit, doing the activities you wish you could do and owning the ‘things’ you wish you had.

Of course, it’s no accident. The advertiser is predicting and hoping your emotional response will be to purchase their product in an attempt to close the gap between you and the fantasy represented in the advert. The emotional process you go though involves comparing yourself to these beautiful people and their exciting lives (even though it’s contrived fantasy for the purpose of selling a product) and finding yourself below their standard (cultivating a ‘sub-standard’ self-image and self-esteem), which in-turn triggers your desire to attain a similar life and attractiveness standard by buying the product.

Of course purchasing the product rarely, if ever, helps you to achieve the ad fantasy. The only lasting effect is the damage to your self-image and self-esteem.

But it gets worse.

Not only are these professional models unusually attractive and able to dedicate the bulk of their time to working out to look perfect, the photos are then Photoshopped and airbrushed to ensure absolute aesthetic perfection, beyond even the capacity of nature.

When you consider the average American is exposed to 3000 advertisements per day (”Practical Advice from the Union of Concerned Scientists” by Michael Brower, PhD, and Warren Leon, PhD), most of which are designed to ‘tweak your emotional pain’ and compare you unfavorably to the ad fantasy, it’s not difficult to see why I say your self-image and self-esteem is under daily attack.

When we expand the time scale, its becomes shocking to recognize in the past 5 years you’ve been bombarded with almost 5.5 million advertising messages telling you:

  • You’re not slim enough
  • You’re not sexy enough
  • You’re teeth aren’t white enough
  • You’re skin isn’t smooth enough
  • You’re hair isn’t silky enough
  • Etc., etc.

I argue even the mightiest of egos will not feel a twinge of self-doubt from time to time, brought on by this environment. And for the more average ego-endowed like you and I, I guarantee you think and feel about yourself as being less than you really are as a direct result of the millions of advertising messages you’ve heard over your lifetime, even over the last week, telling you you’re sub-standard in many, many ways.

But probably most damaging of all, because sex and beautiful people are used to sell everything from hamburgers to car radios, is the beating you’ve taken about the way you look. We’re all affected; these statistics show few, if any, are immune:

  • Four out of five American women say they’re dissatisfied with the way they look, that’s 80%!
  • On any given day, almost half of the women in the United States are on a diet.
  • On any given day, one in four men is on a diet.

In the midst of this daily attack can we hope to also receive self-image and self-esteem nurturing advice from our consumerist society?

No, not really.

The primary action of a consumerist society is to influence you to consume, and very few of the smorgasbord of consumption choices we are faced with are for the benefit of our health or well being. In fact, consumerism encourages us to live a lifestyle in direct conflict with the living choices that would result in a healthier, slimmer body.

Let me explain:

Making these 3 decisions can completely revolutionize your body

  1. Eat less and make healthier choices
  2. Live a more modest life so you can work less & have more time for yourself (less stress)
  3. Be more active

But what are you told to do thousands of times a day through advertising? The complete opposite:

  • Eat more: of the wrong foods
  • Live a more extravagant lifestyle: by working more and resting less to pay for it (more stress)
  • And spend your precious spare time on the couch watching Blu-Ray DVDs or cable TV on your plasma flat screen, play your DSi, X-box,

Playstation or surf-the-net etc.

When we analyze our dilemma as I did above, there’s no mystery why we struggle to have a healthy body and control our weight. To break out of your body funk its essential you break free of the status quo imposed on you by consumerism. Consumerism has many great characteristics but compassion and nurturing are not among them. Don’t be bullied by it.

You’ve got to take responsibility for the nurturing of your self-image and self-esteem. It’s absolutely essential whether you plan to lose weight or not. But as you are planning to lose weight, nurturing your Mind (self-image) and Spirit (self-esteem) should be priority number 1 because otherwise your weight loss efforts will be undermined, diluted and most likely short-lived.

These are the effects of stress on your weight:

  • This daily attack on your self-image and self-esteem
  • And growing pressure from every direction to eat more of the wrong foods
  • And work more and rest less to live a more extravagant lifestyle
  • And spend your precious spare time inactive with a remote control or game controller in your hand…

…amounts to a lot of stress.

The effects of chronic stress on your Mind, Spirit and Body are not good news for your waistline. Food choices suffer while nutrient needs increase and your body chemistry changes, but unfortunately not in your favor.

Managing your stress is so incredibly important and the next articles will deal with teaching you how. Just remember that you are on your way to breaking free of the bullying imposed on you by consumerism… and you are on your way to a better, healthier you!