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Visualize Your Healthier Self

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Dwight Phillips is a 2004 Olympic Champion long jumper. In an interview he talked about visualizing his perfect jump prior to each attempt. Doing so allowed him to focus on that jump and see himself performing it perfectly.

I believe this is an excellent idea for EVERY obese person to do.

No, not do the long jump, although that could be fun. I think it would be fun, actually.

I'm talking about visualization.

You see, visualizing what you are going to do in the future - whether that is 10 seconds from now or 10 months from now - is a good thing. There's a reason that athletes do this. Because it focuses them on their goals.

As an obese individual YOU probably have a number of things which you've believe you can't do.

Things you avoid doing.
Things you've just decided you'll never do.

Because you're obese.

And obese people don't do those things.

I've done this too.

My whole life.

And these things that obese people cannot do -

obese people like me -

these things can become a reminder of how I am different.

Evidence that I'm "weak".
That I'm a "failure".
That I am less.

Unable to participate fully in the activities that others do.
Unable to wear the clothes that other do.
Unable to sometimes FIND clothes that fit.
Unable to comfortably sit in that seat, ride that ride, try out that Segway.

Sad reminders of how I'm "always going to be obese" and how I'm "meant to be obese" and how I am defined by my obesity.

I think MANY obese people feel defined by their obesity.

Do YOU think your obesity defines you? Have YOU felt that way?

Probably so.

I know I have.

I want to encourage you to do something that you might never have done before.

I want you to do some visualizing.

It doesn't matter if you are 20 pounds overweight, 80 pounds overweight , or 250 pounds overweight.

This is something that ALL OF US CAN DO.


I want you to visualize... umm.. let's say 13 things the future you will do at your healthy weight.

A Baker's Dozen of Future Activities, if you will.

I'll give you my list, in no particular order.

1. Go scuba diving
2. Swim with my kids in the pool
3. Kayak in a sea kayak
4. Hike the entire Virginia leg of the Appalachian Trail
5. Go windsurfing
6. Wear a dry suit and go white water rafting in Montana
7. Go river kayaking in West Virginia
8. Ride in a bicycling "century" ride.
9. Climb one of those indoor climbing walls
10. Hang glide off of Jockey's Ridge in North Carolina
11. Go caving - not the kind where you walk along a path, I'm talking squeezing through holes and crawling
12. Try water skiing at our friends' lake house
13. Snow ski in Pennsylvania

Most of these things involve some sort of outdoor activity. I've got lots of others too but you get the idea. These are all things I've either never done or have done but hated doing them because I was sure everyone was looking at me and thinking "wow, that guy is a fat pig. How'd he get like that?" I think about the time I had to wear a dry suit. It was AWFUL. I looked and felt terrible and hideous.

But I KNOW that I'm going to get to a healthy weight. And when I do, I'm going to do ALL of these things. And visualizing what that will be like is a powerful motivation for me personally. It gives me something to work toward that is tangible and concrete that doesn't involve some number on a scale.

I think it is helpful to see yourself where you want to be. Now maybe for you that isn't crawling around in a cave with a headlamp on - that's OK because that's MY thing not yours. Maybe something on your list is "wear a little black dress" or "go swimming at the beach" or "buy clothes at a regular store not at the 'Big and Tall' shop" - whatever it is, I think you should do this. Visualize what it is that you'll do when you are at your healthy weight. Visualize how you'll do things you've never done. Things you've always wanted to do.

And know this - you are NOT defined by your obesity. Your obesity is just your current situation. And YOU can change that.

You are strong. Very strong. Much stronger than you may think.

You are capable. Very capable. Capable of amazing things. Capable of saving your life and being a positive role model for others struggling with obesity.

And you matter. You have worth and you have value. Don't forget that. Ever.

Make it a great day!


Member Comments About This Blog Post:
SYNCHRODAD 12/13/2012 10:21AM

    I can go with everything except caving. I'm not super claustrophobic, but the thought of being stuck half way through some little hole is fearful. No thank you! Don't want to spelunked. Snow ski in Pennsylvania? They have hills in Pennsylvania worth of the name?

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MICKEYH 12/11/2012 1:08AM

    Thanks for sharing your list. You are so encouraging !!


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CHOOSE2LOSE2014 12/10/2012 6:47PM

    Another amazing Blog Matt.. I cant wait to make my list..I love how you always say you are strong, stronger than you think..It really makes me feel like YES I can do this...Have a great Tuesday...

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INTHEGAP 12/10/2012 4:46PM

    Great blog, Matt. I like your 'bucket list' or "thin list" but, personally, don't relate to any of them. emoticon I've never been an outdoor person, even when I was thin, so my list will be very different ~ but I am going to write one. I've had 'going up in a balloon' on my list for a long which doesn't have anything to do with my weight BUT I should get on with it. I do know that it took me years to buy a bathing suit because I really believed I was too fat. NOW, I swim all the time and love it ~ so, once again, it IS a mind-set. Thanks for the reminder. emoticon

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DOLLFACEDX 12/10/2012 10:55AM

    I like to read your blogs because you look at the world as it is not as you want it to be.

I'm a firm believer in owning whatever it is I want to change - in this case, obesity. So often peeps looks askance when I state out loud that I am fat - and I mean fat - but I believe owning it is the best thing that will help me to change it. . .

In the 6 months since I've begun to own my obesity, I have moved from Morbidly Obese to Simply Obese - an accomplishment I am VERY proud of!

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GINGERHAWK 12/10/2012 10:25AM

  What a great exercise this is for all of us. Also, I totally enjoyed reading through your list - it sparked some ideas for my own list!

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RG_DFW 12/10/2012 10:23AM

    Excellent post

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    this is an awesome blog. I'm really enjoying reading all of your blogs. very insightful, honest and real. I will also come up with my own list. One thing I've learned over the last few years, is that I must love myself no matter what weight I"m at. if I cannot accept myself now, I will not be able to accept myself even as a thinner version of me.

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ENLIGHTENED7 12/10/2012 7:24AM

  Once again, you have been right on. Visualization is key. So, Matt, continue your journey to self-improvement; it benefits all of us.

Since you so often are "right on," WRITE on....

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DEBRA0818 12/10/2012 4:25AM

    I can see freedom from my house in both senses of that term.

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WONDERFUL2BME 12/10/2012 3:50AM

    You have hit another nail on the head. This is what 'winners' do and what we should practice. I am going to picture my arms being toned and walking along the beach in a tank top with confidence and beautiful arms. I am picturing myself comfortably going to my closet and knowing whatever outfit I pick out, it will slide on like a comfortable glove! I was reading today in the Peaceful Warrior that we should not only visualize but we should use all five senses. I can feel the warmth of the sun on my naked arms, I can smell the sea air and hear the seagulls and the waves coming to shore. Woohoo

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DOVESEYES 12/10/2012 3:17AM

    Are you following me ?

Today I went out to the shops for the first time with a short sleeved t-shirt on and I was exhilarated. I know... so what... but it is the first time in soooo lllloonng as I was trying to hide my large arms.

today was 35 deg C and I just did it

no one fainted or laughed or picked up their children and ran

Oh the freedom.

Thanks for giving me the power to be me.

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TERRIH8118 12/9/2012 11:38PM

    Great post. I'm going to work on my own list and visualize them. Thanks for the inspiration

emoticon emoticon

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GARDEMON 12/9/2012 11:10PM

  Well done. A pleasure reading this. Thanks for sharing.

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JANIEG68 12/9/2012 10:55PM

    I can see it now! Thank you. Great post!

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