While there is a lot more to weight loss than just visualization, visualization is a tool you can use to help you stay focused on your goals as you build healthy eating and fitness routines into your daily life.
Visualization and Weight Loss
“Changing the way you approach weight loss can help you be successful. Set goals and focus on lifestyle changes like being physically active instead of focusing on just weight loss itself.” – National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight can tell you how hard it can be; the challenge is that you still have to eat and you still have to deal with the same emotions and stressors that caused the weight gain in the first place.
I can’t even guess how many times I have latched on to one or two components of the weight loss process, like reducing calories or exercising a certain period of time, only to see initial success followed by disappointment – and I’m not alone – the $650.9 billion per year weight loss industry wouldn’t exist if I were the only person dealing with weight issues.
Visualization Helps You Change the Way You Think
One thing you can add to the mix to help you lose weight and gain a healthier lifestyle is visualization because it puts the unlimited power of your subconscious brain behind your weight loss efforts.
Alone, visualization won’t melt the pounds off your body, but it can help you build the confidence and self-esteem needed to make a physical change, and it can help you maintain your ongoing focus as you take the steps necessary for weight loss.
Weight Loss Visualization Tips
This is the easiest way to get started, but it costs a few dollars, and for many people the easy way is not always the most effective way – (you have to ‘know’ yourself) – you can buy or download weight loss meditation and visualization CDs or download them from the Internet, then listen to them several times throughout the day as you relax or as a complementary part of meditation.
Another way that takes a bit more effort is to write your own affirmations about weight loss, total fitness, and your health, then memorize them and add them to your meditation time, or if you don’t meditate, repeat them when you wake up, mid-day, and just before you go to sleep.
Visualization alone won’t change your body, but adding it to a healthy eating and exercise plan as part of a healthy lifestyle can help get you where you want to be.
Your self image creates the way you look at and measure not only yourself, but also your role as a friend, spouse, parent, employee, and every other role you have in this life.
A Bad Self Image Puts Healthy Relationships at Risk
If your self image is negative – if you lack self love and self respect – it puts you at risk of ending up unhappy and lonely – no matter how many people are around you or love you.
Your self image is how you see yourself and your role in this life – and it can be incredibly hard to change if you have a negative sense of self because it is our natural reaction to (generally external) events that happen in our lives.
No one else can develop a more positive sense of self esteem for you, it requires determination and effort on your part, but it is worth the effort.
When you begin to increase self confidence, it feels like a window is opening inside of you, letting in sunshine and positivity.
(It’s not a real window – obviously – it’s just an emotional sense of well-being.)
A poor self image doesn’t blossom into full fledged self confidence overnight – and it is unlikely to happen in a big, life changing “zap.”
Your self image most likely didn’t get damaged from a single tiny incident, so it takes more than a single tiny incident to restore.
Depression Is Only One of the Dangers of Poor Self Esteem
According to the University of Texas Counseling and Mental Health Center, there are several consequences of poor self-esteem:
Problems developing friendships
Problem in romantic relationships
Impaired academic performance
Poor performance at work
Heightened vulnerability to chemical dependency
Avoiding the pain of these situations can give you a pretty powerful reason to want to increase your level of self respect, but knowing you need a healthy self image doesn’t tell you how to build confidence so you can get one.
Luckily, there are tools to help you recognize unhealthy patterns and to improve your self confidence.
Tools for Developing a Healthy Self Image
You can use positive self talk, journaling, and visualization to help yourself from within, in addition to asking for help from others, to help increase your willpower and to keep you focused on building a better self image.
Positive self talk: Give yourself a break! Instead of saying negative, self-deprecating things about yourself, like, “I’m such a clutz,” or “I’m so stupid.”
Focus on the things you do well – and make a point to say something about your positive aspects, at least inside your mind, and never speak the negative.
If you catch yourself thinking or saying negative things about yourself, make a conscious decision to stop.
Journaling: Use the same approach to daily journaling that was mentioned above, but instead of speaking the positive words about yourself, write them – even if it’s only one positive sentence every day.
If you’re really depressed and down on yourself, to where you can’t think of one positive thing to say, you can seek help from a loved one or a professional, or find some positive self image quotes and write them in your journal.
Visualization: Visualization is a powerful tool in building a positive self image, or anything you want out of life.
You can use the positive things you write in your journal as the basis for visualization, or use a guided meditation, or plan out your own self guided visualization to increase your self confidence.
External help: While asking for help can be the hardest thing to do when you’re self image is damaged, it is a powerful tool if you feel able to ask for help – and there is always help available if you reach out for it.
Help can come in the form of a loved one who helps you see the good in yourself, or a professional counselor.
There are so many reasons to take action and avoid the risk of depression and loneliness that comes from having a damaged self image, but the real and best reason is that you will feel better if you build a healthy sense of self and increase your self confidence.
Visualization is quite simply using your imagination. You create a scenario in your mind, just like a day dream and imagine yourself as part of it. It’s important to know that people visualize differently. Some peoples’ visual clarity is vibrant, full of color and as real as everyday life. For many others, when they close their eyes, they see darkness. This is completely normal, there isn’t anything wrong with these people, and it certainly does not mean that they can’t visualize. It’s just that they visualize at a deeper part of the mind, a part that they can’t mentally ‘see’ when they are awake. But pretty much everyone has woken up after having a dream and can recall pictures of what they were dreaming about. This proves that everyone certainly has the ability to visualize, just like everyone else. Again, it’s just that it happens on a different level of consciousness that isn’t normally seen while you are awake. Even though the pictures may not be seen, they are still there, and most people can “feel” that the picture is there and at some level are aware of it. The good news is that the more you practice, the more likely you are to start seeing those pictures with greater clarity and awareness.
The key thing to realize about your mind is that it doesn’t think in words. You mind actually uses visual imagery to communicate or think. We can use visualization as method for directly communicating with our mind. By imagining something as vividly as possible it’s sends a clear message to your mind, directing it’s inner resources to make your dreams a reality.
Why does Visualization work?
Visualization works because the mind doesn’t really know the difference between regular waking reality, dreams or consciously directed visualization. The mind understands all of these experiences as if it were a true waking experience. We use our conscious selves to determine the difference between normal waking reality and the dream world, but to the subconscious mind, they are one and the same. Think of visualizing as a mental practice that over time will enable you to perform the visualized acts in real everyday life. So if we use this powerful visualizing ability that we all possess, we are utilizing all of our inner resources to help us succeed. At the very least, no one can claim that visualizing hinders a performance, so there certainly isn’t any harm in it. Please keep an open mind and give it a try as we go through the exercises.
How to make Visualization extremely effective
There are some things to be aware of about visualizing that will improve it’s overall effectiveness. To make sure that your visualization is as effective as possible, we have to make it as sensory intensive as possible. This means that visualizing should include much more than just visual stimulation. We also want to imagine our other senses; touch, smell, hearing and taste. The more senses included in the experience, the more believable the experience will appear to your mind, improving it’s effectiveness. Think of it as if we are trying to recreate reality within our minds, in a way fooling ourselves into thinking that we truly had the experience. The advantage in working with visualization reality over normal reality is that we get to write the script ourselves, allowing us to create a scenario precisely the way we want it to be.
Include yourself in the visualization
So what is the one thing that is always present in all of your waking life experiences? It’s you! You are always there, always present during any of your experiences. So this means that we also want to include ourselves in the visualization process. Sometimes we can get caught up in visualizing a goal, we create a visual movie complete with smells, audio etc. but we forget to include ourselves in the picture. So remember to also include yourself when you are doing your visualizations. It makes it more like a real experience that has happened to you in the past.
Now consider if you just visualize yourself in the movie as a passive character. Just there sensing what is going on around you. That really doesn’t include everything that you normally experience is it? Normally, while you are experiencing things in life, you are thinking about what it happening, reacting and feeling emotions. Well guess what? We want to include these as well. So when you create your visualizations be sure to include yourself acting, reacting, thinking about what you are experiencing.
The most powerful, and probably the most important thing about visualizing is to really feel the emotions. I mean really intensely, don’t worry if it feels silly, or childish, just do it. If you are visualizing kissing a girl in the rain, don’t just experience the kiss itself, also feel the rain running through your hair. Feel the intensity of the emotions of that passionate kiss, really feel everything just as if you were really in that situation. I promise that the more energy you put into these visualizations the more success you will have in achieving your goals.
Visualization is for everyone, particularly successful people.
The human brain thinks in visual imagery
Visualization is effective even if you have trouble ‘seeing’ the mental picture – just think the thoughts and feel the emotions
The brain can’t tell the difference between reality and imagination or visualization
Remember to include the following in your visualizations.
Visual Intensity, Clarity and Vibrancy
Include yourself in the action.
Intellect (What are you thinking during the visualization?)
Emotions (What feelings are you having during the visualization?)
Self improvement starts with self empowerment and leads you to a new, more fulfilling life. There has to be that one moment where you stop and go, “Oh wow! I can do this!” or “I am worth it!”
Give yourself permission to be awesome, then just do it! Your power is already inside of you, waiting as potential, like stored energy, so go ahead and use it.
Consider the tidbits of information below and then tell me what you’re doing to empower yourself to rewrite your life story – or don’t tell me – and just go live your best life because you deserve it!
Visualization is a powerful tool that you can use when you’re ready to take control of your life.
I remember hearing and reading statements like that in the past, and until I reached the point where I was ready, deep down, to move on to something better, happier, it sounded like – well – bunk – to me.
Then one day, I was reading a book, and while it wasn’t a book about visualization, it discussed how to effectively visualize, and explained the steps, and I gave it a try – just like that, visualization made sense to me.
Whether you are thinking about love relationships, relationships with your friends, or familial relationships, you can’t have truly healthy relationships without learning to love yourself first.
That, in turn, means self empowerment is the first step, and the key, to learning how to develop healthy relationships.
Self respect comes to visit you when you begin to let your inner strength grow and you take control of your life.
Building a better life – building the life you want to live – is all about action – and if you don’t take it, chances are you’re going to stay stuck right where you are.
Self confidence is like the cherry on top of the dessert. It’s your prize for your hard word.
It’s your reward for taking action and choosing self empowerment and for rewriting your life story so it turns out the way you want it.