Everyone knows that being active is good for your body. It improves blood flow, it builds muscle and makes you toned, it makes your skin look better — and, yes, it keeps your weight down. It also improves your mood, and it’s an incredible stress reliever.
In addition to all this, exercise gives you a mental edge, which can be your secret weapon in achieving your weight-loss goal.
Most of us approach working out as something that we have to force ourselves to do. And a lot of the time, we either pick exercise that we really don’t enjoy that much or else we keep doing the same thing we always do, over and over again, and lose motivation.
But having the right approach toward exercise helps you stick with it. And, in addition to the mental edge I’m talking about, it can help you set and achieve your goals.
But who cares? All you want to do is lose weight, right?
Well, as Tony Robbins says, “motion creates emotion.” When you move your body, you change your mindset. Robbins explains that being active disrupts your mental patterns and helps you break out of the ones that keep you stuck.
And it’s the negative, self-defeating mental patterns that contribute most to your inability to lose weight. Think about it. When you’re always saying things like “Losing weight is hard” or “I hate my body” you’re not very likely to succeed. You’re defeating yourself before you even begin.
So working out can help you change how you think and feel, and when you have the right attitude and are in the right mental state, you’re much more likely to be successful.
How exactly does exercise give you a mental edge? Here are three ways it helps you change your mindset to work in your favor:
1. Working out makes you happy. Working out creates a mini-stress scenario for the body. When your brain is triggered by a stressful event it releases a chemical that protects it. This chemical — along with the much-talked-about endorphins — makes you feel good.
If you’re happy, you’re less likely to make negative statements like “losing weight is hard” or to be hard on yourself . . . and therefore more likely to lose the weight.
2. Working out gives you energy. Sometimes it feels like you’re too tired to work out, but then when you do you feel less tired. That’s because working out energizes you. When you have energy, you’re more productive throughout the day. The more you get done, the more you do. And if you’re someone who gets it done, you’re more likely to also stick with your workout routine and achieve your weight-loss goal.
3. Working out gives you confidence. Moving your body makes you feel powerful. This is the opposite of how you feel when you’re dieting and trying to lose weight. When you’re focused on how much you hate your body and constantly trying to hide it, you feel small and weak — which makes you feel incapable of achieving a goal. You have to inhabit your body and take up space if you want to change it, and exercise helps you do just that.
The most important thing the right mindset does for you is that it helps you achieve other non-weight-related goals. Why does this matter?
When you work toward a more exciting goal, you generate enthusiasm and take the focus off your body and what it looks like. You feel more confident that you’re challenging yourself, and your attention will be on creating something (positive focus) rather than trying to get rid of something (negative focus).
You’ll also be so busy achieving the bigger goal that you won’t have time to obsess about losing weight or trying not to eat out of boredom. And one of the reasons you’re bored is that you’re trying to achieve a lame, meaningless goal in the first place.
What’s a more challenging goal you want to set for yourself? Is there something you’ve always wanted to do but never did? Leave a comment and let me know. (And then start making plans to achieve it!)
Having a mental edge is something we associate with athletes or ultra-successful people. I mean, all you’re doing is trying to lose some weight. You’re no athlete, and you’re not on Wall Street trying to make millions of dollars.
But maybe you should start to see yourself differently. Even if you’re not training for the Olympics, your life is more valuable than to waste years of it trying to lose weight. Maybe if you started living in a bigger way — and creating the mental edge that helps you do that — you would lose weight in the process.
I know that you would, because that’s exactly what I did. I’m no Wall Street trader, that’s for sure. But as soon as I stopped making my life about losing weight, I lost it without trying.
Start seeing things differently — starting with yourself. Give yourself this mental edge, make your life about more than losing weight, and I promise you will lose it. And you’ll have a lot more fun while you’re doing it.