Motivation Articles

Seeing is Achieving

Picture Weight Loss Success With Visual Cues

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Visual images hold amazing power. We can all still “see” the Challenger disaster, the flag rising over Iwo Jima, even our own high school yearbook pictures. The images are still with us today. And so are the emotions that go with them.

You can use this power to your advantage to help you lose weight. If you surround yourself with visual cues, you have a great chance of meeting that goal. A picture of what you want (or don’t want) to look like; a vacation postcard that you’re using as a reward; a picture of your kids who you want to stick around for – these images can stick around and pull at you even when they’re not in sight.

Seeing is believing. Seeing is also achieving.

How Do Visual Cues Work?
First, let’s look at how the brain processes information. The mind simply can’t keep up with the 36 million bits of visual data that bombard it every second. So the conscious mind doesn’t bother trying. It simply passes most of the info along to be processed somewhere else.

According to brain specialist Amy K. Hutchens, 99% of learning is done on a non-conscious level. “That’s a fancy way of saying that vision dominates your brain activity and behaviors,” she says. Basically, what we see can determine how we act.

Seeing The Good Stuff
Your brain needs a method of filtering through the clutter and locking onto what’s important. This is where the science comes in. The “reticular activation system” (RAS) sorts through those millions of bits of data, making sure that you’re only aware of certain things. It calls your attention only to the details that you don’t want to miss, such as hearing your name in a crowd.

Have you ever bought a home or rented an apartment? Once you made a conscious decision to start shopping, it probably seemed like For Sale or For Rent signs were popping up everywhere. In actuality, the signs probably had been there for months, but you just noticed them for the first time. That’s because this specific priority was now “registered” with your RAS.

Weight loss is a priority that can be “registered” the same way. Mare Petras, a fitness expert who helped organize the first Great American Workout, sees this as a perfect reason to write down or put visuals to your goals. She explains, “If you put down a solid vision of how you want to look, your vision will pop up when you need it. In my experience, overweight people are sometimes powerless over impulses. Seeing a visual helps them to stop and think – and make better choices. It adds color to a black and white goal.”
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About The Author

Mike Kramer Mike Kramer
As a writer and artist, Mike has witnessed countless motivational stories and techniques. See all of Mike's articles.

Member Comments

  • Thanks for the advice! I'm going to write everything down and gather some photos. Great article! - 9/27/2013 9:22:58 AM
  • Thanks for drawing my attention back to the visual messages about health that are near my computer. I have a jeweled wire note card stand with an affirmation about well-being. There is also a watercolor miniature of a radiant being above the affirmation. It got moved out of the way recently. Now it is close to computer where I easily see it. - 8/25/2013 11:38:01 AM
  • Very interesting article, lots to think on. I will be rereading this one. - 9/23/2012 12:19:03 AM
  • As a mother with 2 dyslexic children, this article helped me to understand them and their learning struggles as well as me and my 18 year battle with my weight. Thank-you!!!!!! - 7/18/2011 10:31:02 AM
  • I'm def going to try this and see how it goes... - 7/8/2011 1:12:51 AM
  • I spend so much time commuting that the "message on the dash" seems like a good idea. - 4/22/2011 9:27:08 AM
  • Absolutely agree so thank you!

    Positive visuals create a momentum for positive results.....

    I am a believer ;) - 2/28/2011 11:31:50 AM
  • When my husband eats properly, it is easy for me to carry a healthy weight. - 2/26/2011 12:29:31 AM
  • Does this mean that if I post a pictures of my husband, he'll take control of himself instead of me? When he saw one picture he said, 'why did you take this, it makes me look fat?' Yet he takes lots of pictures of my backside (big side) because he likes to look at it.

    We also have some great pictures from a few years ago when he looked great. - 2/26/2011 12:27:06 AM
  • TORTOISE333
    I took a few "before" photographs when I first started on this journey and then, on a whim, I Photoshopped my profile image to greatly reduce my stomach size and the fat under my chin/jaw. The result was HIGHLY motivating to me. So much so, I've made it my desktop background image and put it on my Spark Page!

    I kinda/sorta remember being that size (about 20 years ago) and it's true what the article says -- seeing that image in my mind's eye helps me to take the actions necessary to achieve the result that I want. - 2/24/2011 3:00:06 AM
  • CONTRADICTION!
    Quote the article: "A picture of what you want (or donít want) to look like"
    Quote the article: "Positive pictures = positive progress"
    A picture of what you (don't want) to look like is negative. This does not "surround yourself with the positive." - 2/23/2011 6:59:13 PM
  • I enjoyed this article and reading the responses from other members. I, too, have discovered daily affirmations - not pictures but words. I think I will add pictures to that. Thanks for the good reminder and interesting article. - 2/23/2011 4:59:50 PM
  • SAC200
    This must be why when you are pregnant you see other pregnant people everywhere! - 2/23/2011 9:29:41 AM
  • This article reminded me of a time long ago when I was losing weight (which I'm still doing). I had cut out bodies of people in a magazine (that I thought I would like on me) and put a picture of my face on it and posted it. It did help and so by reading this article I find it runs along the same lines. So here's to posting. - 2/22/2011 4:29:49 PM
  • SHARON03GRIZ
    I have been saying my affirmations out loud every morning for a couple of mornings. I also have visuals images I look at every day. This is one of the tools that helps me stay motivated. Good article! - 2/22/2011 11:34:31 AM

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