Weight loss affirmations – just feel good thinking or is there solid science behind these?
I want to talk about this topic because my good friend Paul used Weight Loss Affirmations to lose weight and keep it off.
Specifically Paul lost 22 lbs about 2-3 years ago. Can you believe that?!
Paul’s weight loss journey began when Paul was invited to speak at a high profile event. However Paul got really surprised when he found out his pants no longer fit as tightly!
In this interview with Paul, I discovered some of the secrets to Paul’s lasting weight loss:
- specific, simple affirmations Paul used on himself to soothe his inner child
- why soothing your inner child is so important for lasting weight loss
- Paul’s thoughts on creating new habits
As for affirmation’s effectiveness, my answer which I explain below in more depth, is that weight loss affirmations can be a useful.
However, weight loss affirmations must be taken in context, and not thought of as some magic solution.
In San Jose, located in the heart of Silicon Valley, we constantly hear about ‘unicorn’ companies that get a lot of seed money, but then don’t go anywhere.
Now, here are my thoughts an Eating Disorder Therapist:
One of the main slogans I believe in is …
Thinking different than traditionally, at least in terms of weight loss.
What do I mean by thinking ‘differently’ in terms of weight loss?
I mean that normal diets and weight loss programs don’t take into consideration:
- long-term expectations
- inner stories, narratives, and beliefs
- how to expect relapses and binge eating and how to recover
- how to modify a nutrition plan if it isn’t working
Essentially the traditional diet program formula is this:
Eat Less + Exercise More = Weight Loss.
But in weight loss enlightenment, we think different.
Weight loss affirmations are a part of getting rid of obsessive thoughts
The reason I’m spending some time providing some context here …
Is because sooo many times you’re told that this ONE THING will solve ALL your weight loss woes.
And it’s just a load of BS.
Same thing with weight loss affirmations.
They are useful in the mental domain, but a different conversation is necessary, especially in terms of nutrition and physical hunger.
So here’s how weight loss affirmations work
First you have to become aware of your thought patterns.
This is essentially practicing mindfulness and making a sincere effort to notice your thoughts.
Some people go crazy during this stage, and feel incompetent. The key feeling is noticing if you feel incompetent. It’s quite natural to feel that you are going crazy once you start noticing your thoughts.
I remember that once I started listening to my inner dialogue, I did think I was crazy!
Buddhists have a phrase “watch the monkey mind”. Your mind is like a monkey, hopping from one thought-branch and then going to another thought very quickly.
You have to start noticing your thoughts.
Unfortunately this is an incredibly rich topic that I’m not doing justice on in this blog post because I want to cover the topic of affirmations here.
Then, you must come up with affirmations that feel true to you
Paul gave some guidelines to creating affirmations.
He said to keep the affirmations short. For example, Paul would say to himself when he was losing weight:
- I am brave
- Also, I am strong
- And, I can do this
So whenever Paul was feeling anxious or nervous, instead of repeating his old stories …
Paul would substitute his old thought patterns with these new phrases.
Now Paul was already an advanced meditator. So Paul was familiar with his monkey mind. And he was able to stay calm in the midst of his crazy mind.
We all have crazy minds. It’s not just you. 😛
The key is practicing and developing an ability to stay calm in the midst of this craziness.
Then if you can ‘catch’ and notice your thoughts, you have a chance to ‘replace’ them with your affirmations.
Imagine you were speaking to a child.
Because when you say these affirmations to yourself, you are speaking to your inner child, or subconscious mind.
Now just like a child …
A child’s brain doesn’t develop overnight.
It takes time. Years even.
That’s why in Weight Loss Enlightenment we emphasize taking a long-term perspective.
You need to condition and train your brain to say these things to yourself over time.
And you need to speak gently too.
As you say these things to yourself, speak gently. Don’t be a perfectionist!
To truly re-wire your brain, print out your affirmations and have them somewhere you can see them
Here are my affirmations.
I have a copy by my desk and in my bathroom.
I try to read them 1x per day.
Sometimes, admittedly, I don’t. Other times I forget.
Most days I just glance at them.
But I see these affirmations every day.
And I don’t know, maybe a few times a week, I read them. Sometimes I read them out loud.
Sometimes when I’m feeling dazed and confused and not sure about my direction in life …
I’ll visualize these and try to remember my purpose in life.
These have become my compass.