100 lb. Club - If you don't think you can, you can't...




shannonmb
10-21-2010, 12:44 PM
I've been seeing this cognitive behavioral coach recently. It's a 6 week program where I'm to learn a bunch of specific techniques to use my mind to control, in my case, anxiety. They use this program to help people with other stuff, too, like chronic pain, etc.

Anyway, I am learning a whole lot about the power of my mind to think about things differently to change my reality. And something the coach said today really struck me and I thought I would share it, because I think it has huge implications for achieving any goal.

My coach watches some show called "Ultimate Fighter". I think it's a reality show where all the guys live in a house and train to ultimate fight, then they get paired up to fight one another. Something along those lines. He said that sometimes one of the guys is really scared to fight a certain person, that they don't feel ready, or the other guy is a lot bigger, or just in general they feel like they are going to get their *ss kicked. He said the trainers have the person work on actually visualizing winning the fight, being the victor, kicking the crap out of the other person. And they say that if they allow themselves to believe that the other person can win, then they simply have no chance - the fight has already been lost before they even step in the ring.

This is SO obvious, but how true is it?! I know for me losing weight, I have in the past CONSTANTLY questioned my ability to actually do it. I know I can lose weight - but actually make it to goal? And live my life the way I have always wanted to live it? Sometimes it seems like an impossible dream. But I know I'm going to spend a few minutes a day consciously BELEIVING it, until the doubt goes away and it is just a matter of time.

Just thought I'd share! :D


SCraver
10-21-2010, 01:04 PM
This is SO obvious, but how true is it?! I know for me losing weight, I have in the past CONSTANTLY questioned my ability to actually do it. I know I can lose weight - but actually make it to goal? And live my life the way I have always wanted to live it? Sometimes it seems like an impossible dream. But I know I'm going to spend a few minutes a day consciously BELEIVING it, until the doubt goes away and it is just a matter of time.

So true! I started listening to Inside Out Weight Loss (they are free podcasts on iTunes) and the woman talks about visualizing yourself as how you want to be. Visualize a slender, healthy you. She says NOT to pictuer how you looked when you were once at your goal weight, but rather to visualize how you will look in the FUTURE as a slim, trim, fit you. I thought that part was interesting - about NOT visualizing a past picture, but a future picture.

lottie63
10-21-2010, 01:40 PM
Hey! this is great, I do this with a lot of stuff in life, the old 'fake it till you make it' :)


xty
10-21-2010, 03:40 PM
One of my favorite quotes is "Argue your limitations, and they are yours."

So, so true! :)

time2lose
10-21-2010, 03:58 PM
To quote my grandmother "Can't never could"

kaplods
10-21-2010, 03:59 PM
I have a bachelor's and master's degree in psychology, and I do strongly believe that attitudes and beliefs affect behavior, but I think sometimes that "mind over matter" is overemphasized.

For example, it's long been believed that the martial artists who can break boards and even concrete with their hands, feet and foreheads can do so because of mind over matter - that they're essentially doing the impossible. However, xrays show that repeated injuries to these areas result in a significant thickening/stregthening of the bones. The resulting increased bone strength accounts for the ability to break the concrete and wood.

I have more doubts and less confidence than ever before (in almost 40 years of dieting) and yet I'm experiencing more success than I ever have before. In the beginning, I think I was almost losing "despite" myself. I decided that I would commit to a course of action, even though I doubted it would work. Doubting didn't stop me from succeeding, and I've gained confidence from the success. It doesn't always matter if the confidence comes before or after the action.

I'm not underestimating the power of belief and confidence, but by telling people they have to have it in order to succeed, I think some people decide they shouldn't even bother trying because they don't have that belief/confidence. They get the message, "If I think I can't, I might as well not even try."

Instead, I think the message should be "if you think you can't, try anyway, you might just surprise yourself."

time2lose
10-21-2010, 04:10 PM
kaplods,
As usual, you really make me think.

Eliana
10-21-2010, 05:35 PM
"Create Your Own World!" :D I have to put a big cheesy grin with that because it makes me think of my grandpa. He's a big believer in "positive thinking" and frankly, so am I. I grew up with it and was lectured about its power from a very early age. "Create Your Own World" was a set of tapes my brother and I listened to for children about creating your own world, or the power the mind has over you and the life you want to have.

I visualise myself being thinner all the time! All the time! And I always have. But it certainly made things a lot easier once I reached the point of believing this was possible.

rockinrobin
10-21-2010, 06:15 PM
"If you think you can, you're right; if you think you can't, you're right too."

lovemyboy
10-21-2010, 06:19 PM
I sort of bristle at this mind over matter stuff. Thoughts, beliefs, and opinions aren't necessarily reality. Thoughts don't change anything. Actions do. If thoughts did have the power to affect reality I'd have a severly incapacitated boss and some ex's missing kneecaps. I've had all sorts of thoughts and beliefs about myself during various weightless attempts and the only thing that had the power to change my reality in terms of weight loss was me sticking with the program. I'm not saying thoughts aren't disruptive or even counterproductive to our lives at times. They just aren't real (as in reality) and creating new thoughts or beliefs only creates new thoughts and beliefs not new realities.

carter
10-21-2010, 06:33 PM
I sort of bristle at this mind over matter stuff. Thoughts, beliefs, and opinions aren't necessarily reality. Thoughts don't change anything. Actions do. If thoughts did have the power to affect reality I'd have a severly incapacitated boss and some ex's missing kneecaps. I've had all sorts of thoughts and beliefs about myself during various weightless attempts and the only thing that had the power to change my reality in terms of weight loss was me sticking with the program. I'm not saying thoughts aren't disruptive or even counterproductive to our lives at times. They just aren't real (as in reality) and creating new thoughts or beliefs only creates new thoughts and beliefs not new realities.

Yes, I'm inclined to think this too. It doesn't matter so much (to me) whether I think I'll succeed, whether I wake up every morning shouting "yes I can!"

All that matters is that I drag myself to the gym a few times a week, and not stuff my face at every opportunity. All that matters is that I make the right choices every time I am faced with a choice.

Now for some people, that kind of affirmation of belief in your ability to reach the ultimate goal helps you make the right choices. I fully acknowledge that. For me, though, I almost have to forget the ultimate goal and concentrate with laser focus on the choice in front of me.

Put another way - do I have what it takes to get trim and fit - who the heck knows? That takes doing a thousand things right for a really, really long time - it's too much think about. But do I have what it takes not to put that donut in my mouth - yeah, that I can manage. After all, it's not the last donut I'll ever see.

Everyday Miracles
10-21-2010, 10:36 PM
I have been using "mind over matter" for a few years now. My husband suggested that I stop telling myself that I felt sick (or depressed, or whatever) all the time. It is true that I had a personal culture of illness. I have long suffered from stomach problems, and I was often saying I didn't feel well. Over time, I became convinced that my husband was correct. Now, even at the first sign of a sniffle, I tell myself that I feel *terrific!* and then head out to take a walk or take some vitamin C. I have been sick exactly once in three years and that lasted about four days. It was a minor cold.

Whether or not you believe in the Law of Attraction the way that it is "written," the results are still possible. We begin by cutting out the negative talk from our lives. We stop *saying* negative things. For example, I will stop saying that losing weight is impossible. The less I say it (and the more I tell myself that I can lose all the weight I need to), the more I will begin to think the thoughts associated with the words. "I can lose weight." Then finally the actions follow the thoughts. In this case, the process is more positive if it involves behaviors. I stop telling myself "Diet plans are impossible! I always feel hungry!" and begin telling myself "I can do this. I feel satisfied after a meal, particularly if I eat enough protein." Then the words become thoughts, and the thoughts, over time, become actions. In this case I may eat more frequently at consume more protein (since this is what works for me).

I don't believe that mind over matter works in a "magical" sense. I think that it works in a practical sense. You will act on what you believe. If you believe that you are destined to be fat your entire life (and deserve to be), it will be very difficult for you to stick to any kind of a healthy eating plan. If you believe that you deserve to be happy and healthy, then you are more likely to reach that goal because you will behave accordingly.

rockinrobin
10-21-2010, 11:04 PM
This is what finally hit me one day - others have done it, "why not me? Why NOT me??"

For me, in the end, when I finally decided to do this, it wasn't only that I can do this, but it was "I am going to do this. I AM GOING TO DO THIS!"

And when you decide to do this, you make darn certain that it happens. You MAKE it happen. You acquire the skills, the means it takes to get it done.

kaplods
10-21-2010, 11:09 PM
Cliche's usually have a ring of truth, but they're rarely the whole truth. I've seen many people succeed (including myself) without expectations of success. I've seen people surprise themselves, even when they were positive they were going to fail.

When I was a probation officer, I dealt with this a lot, and I suggested that people "try" for the life they wanted, even if they didn't believe they could get it. For some of them, it was getting a job (no one will hire me), for some it was being clean and sober, for some it was staying out of legal trouble.

A lot of people were cocky and sure of their ability to succeed, and failed anyway because they had little but a vision of success. They didn't understand the work and steps it would take to succeed.

A lot of people were convinced they were going to fail, but willing to at least try some of the steps towards their goal (for some of them, it wasn't even their goal when they started, just the terms of their probation).

Ultimately, you can sabotage yourself with lack of belief, but belief doesn't have to be your first step - it can be something you gather and build along the way.

angelskeep
10-21-2010, 11:20 PM
No matter how deluded I may be, I cannot flap my arms and fly. However, if I believe I can fly and I take action upon that belief to get myself a pilot's license or a plane ticket or a hot air baloon...then yes, indeedy, fly can I. I may be full of doubt, in fact I oftem and doubtful of my own abilities, BUT...I follow through and make improvements until my goals are met.

Perhaps "mind over matter" isn't as accurate as "belief with action". I can't imagine anyone who would try to do something if they believed 100% that they would fail. There has to be some tiny hope if not a full blown belief in the possiblity of success...no?

Barb

Jojo381972
10-22-2010, 01:04 AM
Barb, I totally agree with you. I never thought ten years ago that I'd accomplish a lot of the things I did without dreaming them, thinking them, and doing what it took to accomplish them.

I have been using "mind over matter" for a few years now. My husband suggested that I stop telling myself that I felt sick (or depressed, or whatever) all the time. It is true that I had a personal culture of illness. I have long suffered from stomach problems, and I was often saying I didn't feel well. Over time, I became convinced that my husband was correct. Now, even at the first sign of a sniffle, I tell myself that I feel *terrific!* and then head out to take a walk or take some vitamin C. I have been sick exactly once in three years and that lasted about four days. It was a minor cold.

Whether or not you believe in the Law of Attraction the way that it is "written," the results are still possible. We begin by cutting out the negative talk from our lives. We stop *saying* negative things. For example, I will stop saying that losing weight is impossible. The less I say it (and the more I tell myself that I can lose all the weight I need to), the more I will begin to think the thoughts associated with the words. "I can lose weight." Then finally the actions follow the thoughts. In this case, the process is more positive if it involves behaviors. I stop telling myself "Diet plans are impossible! I always feel hungry!" and begin telling myself "I can do this. I feel satisfied after a meal, particularly if I eat enough protein." Then the words become thoughts, and the thoughts, over time, become actions. In this case I may eat more frequently at consume more protein (since this is what works for me).

I don't believe that mind over matter works in a "magical" sense. I think that it works in a practical sense. You will act on what you believe. If you believe that you are destined to be fat your entire life (and deserve to be), it will be very difficult for you to stick to any kind of a healthy eating plan. If you believe that you deserve to be happy and healthy, then you are more likely to reach that goal because you will behave accordingly.

I totally agree with you. Negative self-talk and beliefs will ultimately lead to failure just in my experience. With positive thoughts and visualization I can think it, see it, and act upon it to accomplish and fulfill the beliefs. I'm a huge believer in the mind-body connection. The way you think about something is a vicious circle in a lot of respects. If I'm thinking that I'm a failure and thinking negative thoughts, then I'll end up eating too much, and then I'll feel sick, gain weight and not get anywhere.

If on the other hand, If I think positive, 'I will do this' and visualize myself having a super day' then I act on that, and feel good about my choices, physically and mentally. I've been on both sides of the fence, and would much rather be on the positive side. An excellent book on the subject is, 'The Power of Positive Thinking,' by Dr. Norman Vincent Pearle.

Mantras is what many people use to change their lives. A mantra could be as simple as a sentence or two that you say more than once thoughout the day. Saying a mantra will help you visualize and turn your day into something positive that you want to accomplish or something you want to change about your thoughts, so you can start believing it and acting on it. :)

I've worked hard to get rid of the negative self-talk, and people that know me call me a super positive person, just because I know how it has worked for me (I'm not always positive though). We can do this! :)

kaplods
10-22-2010, 01:37 AM
I think you do have to believe in the possibility of success, or you wouldn't waste your time even making a half-baked attempt. However, I think the cliche "If you think you can, or you think you can't... you're right," can steer folks away from even attempting action unless they have perfect confidence in their eventual success. Sure that kind of confidence is helpful, but I don't think it's necessary - at least not to get started, and it's definitely not sufficient (belief without action isn't usually going to get you where you want to go).

It (confidence, belief) is a part of the puzzle, but it isn't the entire solution.

precieuseamande
10-22-2010, 02:33 AM
Kaplods & lovemyboy, you both make good points, and I agree with what you've said. Kaplods, I'm studying for my M.A. in counseling psych right now.

During my undergrad work I came across a very interesting study that showed using these positive affirmations in cases of depression actually made the depression worse. The speculation was that the discordance between the positive affirmations and the person's actual situation was so great that it only deepened the depression. I don't think our inner selves are easily hoodwinked by wishful thinking. Yes, it is important to have a hopeful attitude, but if we try to convince ourselves of things that are not in line with our inner experiencing, and what history has shown us to be true, we can actual do damage to ourselves. I think it is much better to acknowledge our lived experiences and honor our realities. At the same time we can also take the steps to make positive changes and take hopeful looks at alternative possibilities. Denying reality does not help anybody. I think we should try to embrace that reality in a higher vision that encompasses alternative possibilities.

shannonmb
10-22-2010, 06:07 AM
Yes, it is important to have a hopeful attitude, but if we try to convince ourselves of things that are not in line with our inner experiencing, and what history has shown us to be true, we can actual do damage to ourselves. I think it is much better to acknowledge our lived experiences and honor our realities. At the same time we can also take the steps to make positive changes and take hopeful looks at alternative possibilities. Denying reality does not help anybody. I think we should try to embrace that reality in a higher vision that encompasses alternative possibilities.

I don't know -- if I chose to just trust in my inner experiencing and what history has shown me to be true, I would be truly doomed on the weight loss front.

I'm definitely not suggesting that we all try to be birds, grow wings and fly, or even win an ultimate fight against a bigger, stronger opponent (though that was the example I gave). I'm definitely fully grounded in reality. But I believe that the REALITY of weight loss is that it is completely doable. It's not even a long shot. Every single person on this forum has it within their power to lose weight for the long term.

I just singled out this post because it was the last one. But I noticed that even those who are less likely to be inclined toward "mind over matter" have acknowledged that a positive attitude is helpful toward acheiving goals. So I think we are all basically saying the same thing. I think when I was driving home from my session and was thinking of posting this, I was thinking of all the gals (and maybe a rooster or 2), who come on here posting "This is hopeless", "I'm this close to just throwing in the towel", "Do you ever feel like you will NEVER lose weight?", "I am such a loser", etc, and how that can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Thanks to EVERYONE for the responses!!

ValRock
10-22-2010, 06:53 AM
This is so interesting and complex to think about!!

I spent a lot of time saying to myself "I'll never be thin... or I'll never weigh under 180 lbs... it's just not in the cards for me". DUMB things to say to yourself. I have so much confidence in other areas of my life. WHY NOT THIS? I've spent a lot of time failing and most of it is hitting a certain point where I have this mental barrier and simply giving up. WHY? There is no reason for it. I CAN do this if I say I can do this.

I spend my days now teaching special needs kids. I see them pick up on a concept and it fills me with absolute joy. I see the feeling of accomplishment on their faces. They don't have that tainted world view yet. I don't hear them say "I can't do this" they just keep working at it until they can! Sometimes it takes only a couple tries and sometimes we work on it for what seems like FOREVER but we still get there! If I can be a part of that I can certainly lose this stupid weight!

I refuse to say "I can't" anymore. Sure, I may fall down... or fail in the short term... but I refuse to believe that failure is an option in the long term! Life is too wonderful to accept that :).

time2lose
10-22-2010, 12:59 PM
I think that I fall on the middle ground in this discussion. If I believe that I can't do something, I usually can't do it. However, I don't have to believe in the big picture. My freshman year in college, I didn't have to believe that I would get my BS and then my Masters but I did have to believe that it was possible that I could pass the courses I was taking that semester.

When I started losing weight, I did not believe that I could lose 100 or 150 pounds. I did have to believe that I could lose 1 to 5 pounds. Once I accomplished that, I just had to believe that I could do it again. I still am not convinced that I can get to a "healthy" weight of 137. Heck, I am not even convinced that I need to get to 137 to be healthy. It does not matter though, I know that I can lose a few more pounds. )