Thursday, December 11, 2008
This is another one that I couldn't resist sharing:
Scientists have even identified specific parts of the brain, such as the reticular activating system (RAS), which works with the visual parts of our brain to call our conscious attention to things that are important to reaching our goals and to filter out those things that are unimportant.
The RAS is activated by "programming" goals into our sub-conscious minds. Our sub concscious mind is the "power center" and THIS is the mechanism that explains why goal setting and positive thinking are now being accepted as scientific methods for change.
We are discovering that our brain is cybernetic in nature, which means that it is literally like a computer, waiting for a program to be installed.
Here's the kicker - the subconcsious is completely neutral and impartial - it will carry out any instructions you give it.
Unfortunately, many of us are still running negative programs we picked up from others as children when our non-conscious minds were totally open and impressionable, or which we developed over the years as a result of repetition of our own negative thinking.
As it turns out, our own thoughts, repeated daily, are one of the primary ways that our "mental computer" is programmed on a sub-conscious level, which is the level of beliefs, habits and automatic behavior.
To change your results, you must overwrite old negative programming and install positive new programming into your subconscious.
This can be achived through such techniques as written goal setting, positive self-talk (affirmations), and mental imagery (visualization).
In the 1970's, the Soviets and East Germans were the first to formally use structured mental rehearsal, and at that time, they dominated in several olympic sports. Today, virtually all elite athletes use visualization extensively, as we now know that the brain cannot differentiate between real practice and practice that is vividly imagined.
If you are getting more of the same negative results in your life - such as the same health problems, or the same body fat continues to return even after you lose it, then you have probably been un-consciously running old negative programs and re-inforcing them with negative thought patterns.
You can begin the positive mental reprogramming process by writing down your goals, changing your internal dialogue and taking a few minutes to relax, quiet your mind and perform a session of visualization or mental rehearsal every day (seeing yourself in your "mind's eye" not as you currently are, but as you ideally would like to be).
These methods, repeated often enough, will begin to program the non-conscious portion of the mind, which is the same part of the mind that controls your heart beat, digestion and new cell production, all on "automatic pilot."
In the last decade, neuroscientists discovered that you have the capacity to create an almost infinite number of new neural connections in your brain when you run new thought patterns.
The Old neural pathways are like grooves in a record, and if you are struggling with your health related behaviors or behaviors in any other area of your life, you have been playing the "old records" over and over again.
If you were to carve a new groove into that record, it would never play the same way again. the old pattern would weaken and the new one would take over. Brand new, positive thoughts, feelings and images begin to create new
Psychologists estimate that it takes 21 to 30 days to establish a new pattern in your brain. During this time, the focus on sticking with your practice and repeating your new thought patterns is critical.
Is this easy? For most people, no it's not. In fact, controlling your thinking and keeping it constructive may be one of the most difficult challenges you have ever faced. Fortunately, writing goals and reading affirmations can help get you started.
You can take some of the pressure off yourself by simply accepting that negative thoughts and self criticisms will pop up from time to time. Just observe them, without mulling over them or adding to them, and change the polarity of the thought by quickly repeating one of your positive affirmations or by changing your mental pictures.
So is there something to this whole "positive thinking" thing?
The philosophers and theologians have been saying yes for the entire span of recorded history: "As you think, so shall you be." Variations on this proverb can be found in every spiritual and philosophical tradition.
But... if you are the left-brained, "prove-it-to-me" type, you dont have to go on faith anymore. Scientists are beginning to prove more and more convincingly that thoughts are powerful things.
So how soon are you going to begin your mental training right alongside your physical training? When are you going to learn how to harness this power locked up inside your mind?
Guess what? You're already using this force every day because you cannot turn it off. Whatever you are thinking and picturing in your mind repeatedly on a daily basis is on it's way to you already, so it's simply a matter of HOW you are using it, not IF you are using it.
What do you say to yourself every day? Do you say, "I am becoming leaner, healthier and more muscular every day?"... or do you say "I am a fat person - Ive tried everything, nothing ever works?"
The fact is - you can think yourself thin and healthy or you can think yourself obese and ill. Maybe not in the literal sense...but most certainly as the critical part in the chain of causation...
You see, there's a lot of talk these days in the personal improvement world about law of attraction, manifesting, intention, visualization and of course, positive thinking
Without understanding that there is an orderly, scientific basis underneath all of this, many people will simply remain skeptics, while on the opposite extreme, others may get the idea that you can sit around meditating and visualizing, then expect a mystical "law of attraction" to kick in and then "poof!" a great body materializes out of thin air... along with the perfect relationship, a nice bank account and career success.
What really happens is "Positive thinking" and related methods quite literally re-program your brain, which in turn creates new behaviors that move you physically toward whatever you have been thinking about and focusing on.
So success is achieved through positive thinking + positive doing... attraction + action. There are two sides to the coin. Without paying attention to both, you may continue to struggle... often against nothing but yourself.
If you want to transform your body or any other aspect of your life, then you have to change on the inside (the mind) first and then everything else will follow.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
I get a weekly newsletter from a fitness website and this letter really hit home with me. It is so true
The time of year for fitness excuses is here... December is probably the worst time of year where most people use excuse after excuse as to why they are letting themselves get fat and out of shape during "the holidays".
So with this newsletter, I just want to give you some tips and motivation to do the opposite of what most people are going to do this december, and get yourself in BETTER shape during this busy season. This doesn't mean that you have to deprive yourself of anything during your parties with friends and family, but it DOES mean that you have to be sensible and stick to your fitness and nutrition plan when you're not in party mode.
First, the biggest excuse I've heard over the many years I've been doing fitness counseling is that they don't "have any time" to keep working out during the holidays.
Ok, I know we all may have a lot of family gatherings and holiday parties to go to during this time, but saying that you don't have time to keep yourself in shape is basically admitting that your health and fitness is not a priority in your life. If it was a priority, you'd make time.
So let's commit to a pact that we will not use the lack of time excuse this holiday season. Instead, if there are days that you don't feel that you have time to go to the gym for a full workout, schedule a 15 minute workout in for yourself at least 4 days/week either before or after work, or at whatever time you can fit in a 15 minute workout at home.
Anybody can fit in 15 minutes... that's all it takes. However, those 15 minutes need to be full of high intensity exercises that work your entire body. Even doing just some bodyweight circuits at home can keep you in great shape.
For example, you can rotate through 5 or 6 exercises such as lunges, bodyweight squats, pushups, mountain climbers, and lying leg thrusts in a circuit fashion, alternating between them for as many sets as you can do in that 15 minute time period.
If you work hard enough, you can get a great full body workout in only 15 minutes and then be ready to go for whatever holiday activities are on your schedule.
The second biggest excuse I've heard over the years from many people during the holidays is that there's no way they can control their eating during this time of year with parties and gatherings with all of the delicious food being offered everywhere. What many people have told me is that the 5 or 6 weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years every year is just one massive free-for-all bingefest for them.
This doesn't make any sense though. For example, even if you were extremely busy with parties and gatherings and let's say you have 8 parties/gatherings to go to during these 5 weeks, that is still only 8 days out of 35 that you're going to be surrounded by party food for only a small time each day.
This means that if you're still eating super-healthy during the 27 other days and also during the other time available on the party days, you can easily still have at least 90% compliance with your healthy diet. If you can have 90% compliance, it is quite easy to stay lean instead of packing on the lbs during the holidays.
The important thing to keep reminding yourself is that the ONLY time you are going to cheat is during the parties and gatherings and not before, after, or for entire weeks at a time.
One thing I like to do if I know I'll be going to a holiday party or big meal is that I plan to get in a great weight training workout within a few hours (if possible) before going to the party. This way I know that my metabolism is already elevated from the weight training and some of the excess calories that I may consume can help towards muscle repair and glycogen replenishment instead of being deposited as body fat.
So I hope this email has helped to make sure that you stay on track with your fitness during the holidays. There are NO EXCUSES. There's no reason at all to wait until January to start on your fitness program, when it should really be a part of your everyday lifestyle.
Didn't that make sense?????
Friday, October 31, 2008
Yes, we leave on a jet plane on Sunday morning for our 2 weeks holiday in Mexico. It seemed so far away but now it is here. Exciting.
And even more exciting is that I have a changed body to flaunt in. LOL. I am fluctuating around the 135 mark and that's were I wanted to be. I feel pretty successful and as Jess said, pictures sometimes tell the better story than the scales. After all, I am not a spring chicken anymore and 5 months of actively pursuing a new body does not make!!! Hope that made sense!
Hotel we are staying at has wifi so I am taking the laptop and will be checking in to see how all are doing now and then plus will be able to communicate with my boy in Asia and my daughter in Saskatoon.
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
What can I say, slow, slow but then when you cheat a bit, I think that becomes maintenance! But then I get serious and appears that when I have a couple strict days, I do manage to lose. It is fine, I like the lifestyle and I am pounds below where I initially set my goal (140). I still think that I will achieve if not beat my secondary goal of 135 by Nov 1.
I started a karate class for the exercise and it is kick butt. Love the feeling of power and fighting and it is giving me a change of exercise. And...it is 2 nights per week.
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