New statistics show that more than fifty-percent of Americans are overweight. If you’r one of them, you’ve probably lost weight on one or more of the diets that scream out from every magazine, TV show, newsstand, and insane sounding infomercial. Be it vegan, vegetarian, or if you’re older, you might have tried The Pritican, The Stillman, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, The Zone, Eat for your Blood Type, Optifast, or even the Ice Cream and Cookie diet. Maybe you’ve tried them all. And still, you struggle with your weight.
Doesn’t that make you angry, frustrated, and feel as if you just want to give up? If the answer is, “yes,” then that’s the precise problem. You’ve simply re-programed your brain into failing. According to Martin Seligman, PhD, author of Learned Optimism, and father of “cognitive behavior therapy,” that’s called “learned helplessness.” In a nutshell, what’s happened is that because you’ve failed already, your own subconscious, unconscious mind makes “the premature, cognitive commitment” that it’s simply impossible for you to lose weight. Ever. You think, “Why should I even try?” And you just give up.
But don’t! Take heart. Your brain is just badly programed right now. New research proves that you can learn how to re-program your brain. It’s a learnable, doable, and easily acquired skill set, just like riding a bike. Once you learn how your brain works, you can learn how to control your thoughts, and then you can control your reactions to stress, and the self-destructive behaviors that stress sometimes triggers. You can free yourself from addictive, obsessive compulsive thinking. And because of that, you can lose weight and keep it off forever.
And that’s what the new brain research proves without a shadow doubt. In the past ten years, this veritable explosion of brain research proves that by reprograming your subconscious mind through hypnosis or mindfulness training, which are simply forms of “focused concentration,” in conjunction with cognitive behavior therapy (proven to be more effective than psychotropic drugs), you can change the very structure of your brain.
Sharon Begley, science writer for the Wall Street Journal, in her book, Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain, walks her readers through all the scientific research that proves exactly how and why your own thoughts can and do change your brain structure. Begley, who co-wrote The Mind & The Brain – Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force along with UCLA’s Jeffry M. Schwartz, M.D., explains how “obsessive compulsive thoughts,” can be easily deleted from the “software” of your brain, its neuropathways. In Schwartz’s newest book, You Are Not Your Brain, he continues his groundbreaking work with obsessive-compulsive thinking, and shares his four part system for “deleting” sabotaging thoughts, by simply viewing them as faulty wiring, learning how to focus away from them, and then “inserting” new thoughts instead.
Harvard’s John J. Ratey, MD, the author of Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain spends an entire book explaining the biochemistry of your brain, and shows how simply getting outside and walking can be more effective than addictive, anti-anxiety medications. He also explains why there is so much “resistance” to beginning. He inspires his readers to “spark” their own brain cells so they can override those “premature, cognitive commitments,” and get started.
Ready? Here’s how: First, overcome your own resistance to change. Believe that you can change, and you can learn to “override” your self-sabotaging impulses. Think of them as faulty wiring in your brain. Then become aware of “what you choose to think.” Because scientifically, what you choose to think, leads directly to what you choose say to yourself. In order to change, you must be aware of what you’re saying to yourself, because what you say yourself, leads directly to the actions that you choose to take. Once you learn to be aware of what those actions are, you can gain control over them. You can make choices in the moment that are in line with your intention – to lose weight. So begin at the beginning and get control over your thinking, and you’ll lose that weight and keep it off forever.