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Visualize Weight Loss Success


Posted on Aug 06, 2009 12:00 PM in Dieting & You

By Diane Petrella, MSW, CPCC

Do you know there’s an easy strategy to assist you in achieving your weight loss goals?

It’s the power of visualization.

That’s right – visualize yourself losing weight and becoming fit. Rehearse in your mind choices and behaviors that you want to create in reality. These pictures become the mental blueprint guiding you towards your goal.

We all do this whether or not we’re aware of it.  Think of other goals you’ve accomplished. You created the vision first.  For example, seeing yourself driving that sporty car, imagining yourself in a particular job.  Anything you’ve wanted and received in your life first began with a picture in your mind.

Elite athletes, business sales consultants and performance artists routinely practice visualization techniques. For example, golfers mentally rehearse their shot in great detail, dancers imagine the joy of the applause at the completion of a smooth performance and the savvy sales woman pictures herself closing the deal. These successful achievers learned how to apply this proven technique to assist them in reaching their goals.

How does this apply to you? Positive images set the mental stage for positive results. When you visualize yourself making healthy choices at a restaurant, when you see yourself confidently walking on the treadmill, and when you imagine yourself joyfully buying clothes two sizes smaller you are training your mind to assist you in making those choices in reality.

How you see yourself is the greatest predictor of your weight loss success. For example, if you are determined to lose fifty pounds yet hold onto the mental picture of yourself as a “fat” person you will continue to make choices based on that “fat” image of yourself rather than choices based on seeing yourself as fit and healthy. As you visualize yourself reaching your goal weight you more naturally make healthy choices based on this new image.

Visualize yourself succeeding. If you feel stuck, most likely you’re holding old negative pictures of past failures and self-defeating experiences. Change that picture and replace it with the new successful you!   For instance, my client, Sarah felt stuck and demoralized when she reached a plateau in her exercise and weight loss plan. Instead of berating herself as she had in the past she created a new self-image. For five minutes every day she imagined herself with a smile on her face walking in a park feeling happy, confident, loving her body and moving with ease and grace. This commitment to daily visualization helped her regain momentum and set her back on track.

Here’s a visualization exercise to do every day.  This simple technique is easy and fun.

  • Sit in a quiet place and take several deep breaths to relax.
  • Now close your eyes and picture yourself having reached your weight loss goal.
  • Notice and experience the feelings associated with your goal rather than the specific outcome of numbers on a scale. For example, visualize yourself confidently walking along the beach in your bathing suit, feel the exhilaration of exercising your body, or imagine yourself experiencing peace of mind while eating at a restaurant with friends.
  • Do this for five minutes daily.

Consistent positive visualization feeds your mind images of success. This strengthens your motivation, improves your confidence and keeps you focused on your goal.


Your thoughts....

What pictures do you hold of yourself today?
What new image would you like to create?



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Comments


I plan to try the 5 min a day visualization I need every ounce of help.  I also cut out a picture from a clothes catalog I loved the outfit and know it would look awful on this body. I pasted that pic in my health journal that is the body and look I want and am aiming for. Thanks for all the help in this site its wonderful!



This is exactly what the book, www.ThinkingSkinny.com is all about. Bravo.



This is what I did last summer and it was so helpful, even though some turdburgers on CC made fun of it.  It really does help you lose weight, in conjunction with actually going and doing what you are visualizing.  It just makes you feel more confident and relaxed about the process.



I have just started doing it, it really helps!! I am more motivated now!! But i can't imagine seeing myself skinny in a mirror. Any suggestion? I think it's important too , isn't it? hehe...

 



I visualize myself slimming down as I shower and the water flows over me and the weight melts off.



Mind over matter, eh? Laughing

I'll try it!! I like this idea...and I think you are right on!

The way I see myself today is kind of like half-positive/half-negative ~ I feel good, I have a happy life with my family, and yet, my own body self-image is not good. I see myself in pictures and I look totally different than I did years ago before I had my children.

I was slender (for having big bones), and at 5'6'', was only 138 lbs when I married...now, I am tipping the scales @ 228.

I wish I had "visualized" myself back then, when I first started having my babies, eating only when I was hungry, getting more exercise! Maybe today I would look as good as I feel...

As for my new image, I think I would just like to feel like I could walk through the park feeling light on my feet, fitting smaller clothing, being able to move with ease again!

That would be amazing!!! Wink



I've tried it for years and it didn't help at all.



A casual acquaintance told me he lost weight this way.  I dismissed it as something that wouldn’t work for me; a rational person.  This morning I tried the 5 minute visualization. I’m holding onto that image.  I’ve been walking taller and moving with light, smooth, more graceful steps.  I’m going to stay away from mirrors today because, right now, I’m sure I’m slim and firm.  It really is helping,but it’s just been a couple of hours.  Anything’s worth a try.



I think visualization is how we build the perceptions of ourselves, 'create our reality'.  I've had many messages from myself and others that helped build the current self image I have and now am trying to refocus the negative.  

I use visualization/mediation daily and it has helped me in many areas of my life.  I also know that I still look in a mirror and see a fat person, but all of my clothes are now too big and the scale records that I have lost 20lbs so far.  So my self image hasn't caught up with the facts....  Wonder why.



I had success with visualization years ago. 

It was summer term, and I was a graduate student. In the fall, a dear friend would be returning from holiday. Everyday, I would daydream about picking up this friend at the airport and their reaction to the "new me".

It was very motivational and paid off in pounds and inches.

I haven't had as much success with visualizing imagined events.  I do better when it is something that is really going to happen and is going to come with big emotional rewards.  All these years later, I still smile when I think of my friend's reaction.



I think many of us have pictured ourselves skinny, but I don't think I have ever thought about myself not eating something!  Perhaps if I start visualizing healthy eating behaviours as well as how great I will look in the end, it may give me extra strength needed to say no to that extra handful of M&Ms. I guess it provides a clear path to the end result that you can see and follow.



Original Post by: flabbynomore

I have just started doing it, it really helps!! I am more motivated now!! But i can't imagine seeing myself skinny in a mirror. Any suggestion? I think it's important too , isn't it? hehe...

 


"But I can't imagine seeing myself skinny in a mirror."

If you can't yet visualize a particular image, that's fine. No need to force it. Just refocus to images that come more easily and naturally for now. The rest will follow. The key is to access the positive feeling of well-being underlying the image.

Best Wishes!



Original Post by: annschmech

I think visualization is how we build the perceptions of ourselves, 'create our reality'.  I've had many messages from myself and others that helped build the current self image I have and now am trying to refocus the negative.  

I use visualization/mediation daily and it has helped me in many areas of my life.  I also know that I still look in a mirror and see a fat person, but all of my clothes are now too big and the scale records that I have lost 20lbs so far.  So my self image hasn't caught up with the facts....  Wonder why.


So my self-image hasn't caught up with the facts

This most likely has to do with your sub-conscious beliefs. Even though you consciously "see" a fat person your feelings about what you see may be beginning to shift in a more self-loving, positive direction.

Seems you're on the right track - keep visualizing and doing what you're doing!



I am seriously planning to do this!!! I hope this way I can change the way I feel about my body & my size!!! Spending 5 minutes visualising about ourselves is hardly any time!!!

This year, I am losing weight for sure!!! I am going to fit into the clothes that I used to wear when I was 25!!!



Before I lost my 10 pounds and I wasnt "overweight by any means" I was 5'3 and weighted 130lbs, but I personally felt overweight, so I pinned up a picture of my self on the refridgerator. When I wanted that late night snack I was reminded of what I didnt want to look like.

The good news is that I totally changed my lifestyle in regards to eating and excersing. I dropped 10 lbs in 5 months. Now I still have the old pic on the fridge to remind me what I dont want to revert back to. That keeps me motivated.

 



I am going to try this. I know it has to work. I have been trying to lose weight then totally lost all my motivation. SO today I started by journalling my food and it seems to do good. Just hope I continue this later. The visualization thing seems to be a good idea. I am going to start this this morning also. Bye Shawna



Original Post by: sdroyce

I've tried it for years and it didn't help at all.


Just because something didn't seem to work in the past doesn't mean that it won't work in the future....Our mind is truly powerful and by setting a more hopeful intention your results can be different going forward this time.
Perhaps you would be open to doing it again?



This sounds like a GREAT way to not only boost your confidence, but also to relieve the stress of managing a weight-loss program. I can't wait to give it a shot!!



Visualization sounds very interesting



This sounds like a very positive, (and maybe even kind of fun) way to go about it - I'm excited to do it!  :o)



I'm going to use this tool, not only in my weight loss/fitness quest, but also to stay positive as I start my search for a new job.  Thanks, CC.Kiss



That time of the month is due at any second now and the scale shows me down a miraculous two pounds. This is a life time first and it is due entirely to this new vision/daydream I have been having of myself as an athlete. In real life I have a physical I.Q. of 2 and was always that poor last kid picked for dodgeball. In my dreams I am an athletic goddess who masterfully kite boards over wild blue seas.

Screw my current reality. I am happily living in my dreams and it is making them come true! I may dreaming my life now but soon I will be living my dreams.



The law of attraction this is called.

Works with everything you will ever want in live, watch the film 'The Secret' it explains this in nept. :)



I will start visualizing today, I want to feel sexy. I am 40 something and seems it has been harder to lose and keep off at this age, at a younger age I could gain and lose from 5 to 10 lbs at a time with no problem, now gain a couple, it takes forever to get it off. I am about 5'51/2" and am about 150, I am trying to get to 135, this is 10lbs over what I have been most of my life, but my main goal is to try and get fit as I have 2 young grandchildren and I want to enjoy them fully and be around for them. I have been watching calories and walking every day, now I am ready to visualize myself as a sexy 40 something.



Honestly, I do this every morning.  When I get out bed to walk I look in the mirror and visualize the size I want to be.  When I'm walking I think about my posture, how I feel (lighter) and the benefits that I'm gaining just by walking everyday.  When I get home to take my shower to get ready for work, I'm still visualizing how the walking helped my body get to that shape I'm looking at. It makes things fun.  Everyone should try it!



Visualization is a Great Idea! Many people think that the movie "the secret" was an original idea, but it actually is based on the Bible. The Bible says, "Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you receive it and it shall be yours" also "Faith is being sure of what we hope for, the evidence of what can't be seen"

Believing that you are what you want to be and seeing yourself that way has been around for eons and still works today.

Thanks for the post

Sharron



Thank you for your input. I think visualizing while I walk is a perfect time to do it. Sometimes I walk in the morning and sometimes at night. I try to alternate mornings with 30 min workout video, so I will try to fit the 5 min in at that time.

thanks



I'm going to visualize taking my daughter to her first day of school without being worried whether or not she's embarassed by me.



Original Post by: schooni

That time of the month is due at any second now and the scale shows me down a miraculous two pounds. This is a life time first and it is due entirely to this new vision/daydream I have been having of myself as an athlete. In real life I have a physical I.Q. of 2 and was always that poor last kid picked for dodgeball. In my dreams I am an athletic goddess who masterfully kite boards over wild blue seas.

Screw my current reality. I am happily living in my dreams and it is making them come true! I may dreaming my life now but soon I will be living my dreams.


I hear you about visualizing for athletic endeavors.  When I grew up, girls just weren't that athletic, and so I lack basic skills (although the men in my family are very agile, so I think it's a matter of training and practice).  Anyhoo, whenever I have to ski down a mountain (so fast, so steep, so out-of-control!), I become Nancy, gal from California (think Picabo Street), and I (or Nancy) perform with grace and lust!  It works every time.  Fear and negativity is OUT; visualizing is IN!



I am trying to use the idea of visualization by actually looking at old pictures of me when I was fit four years ago before I blew my knee out.  I now have a picture of me 40 pounds lighter as the background image on my iPhone so I see that wonderful shot of myself many times each day....I realized it is so much better than looking at some picture of a model and trying to aspire to that...but trying to aspire to what I was just a few years ago, does not seem so impossible! I am seeing results and am two pounds down from last week! 



Original Post by: sfnativechick17

I am trying to use the idea of visualization by actually looking at old pictures of me when I was fit four years ago before I blew my knee out.  I now have a picture of me 40 pounds lighter as the background image on my iPhone so I see that wonderful shot of myself many times each day....I realized it is so much better than looking at some picture of a model and trying to aspire to that...but trying to aspire to what I was just a few years ago, does not seem so impossible! I am seeing results and am two pounds down from last week! 


That's great! Visualizing is most effective when you use images that feel real, reachable and inspiring. It's also a cool idea to use motivating pictures and affirmations for things we use and see everyday, like cell phone/computer backgrounds, passwords, calendars, etc.



Woohoo! So encouraging to see so many motiviated by the law of attraction and visualization. Will apply it as well!! I visualize the scale at 134.5 tomorrow morning for my weigh-in.

I visualize putting on my size 2 clothes again! I can do this the healthy way.

 



Hello!

I'm currently studying the guidelines set forth in the Beck Diet, which isn't a diet, but a cognitive therapy 6 week plan to help with dieting difficulties. Your Journal entry falls right in line with the first step-- writing down the advantages of losing the weight you want to lose...

This is to be graded in importance to you, then placed on index cards to be read twice daily, and whenever you need re-enforcement to stay on track. I've begun doing this, and am being Successful at doing it-- but I've found it amazingly difficult!

I've only reached a healthy goal weight once in my life-- briefly-- and Loved how I felt... but it was so brief that it is hard to grasp firmly in my mind. It is an intellectual effort, imaginary and unclear...

Your thoughts ring True to me, as important to accomplish-- but I'm finding that imagining what you've almost never experienced, is actually terribly hard to make REAL... And I feel that their REAL-ness is important in their Motivational Power...

Do you have any thoughts, from your wide experience, on how to overcome this weakness in my being ABLE to Visualise my Goal?



Just another thought-- my reason for Believing this IS Important-- is another Biblical thought...

"As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." Laughing



No matter what we all visualize, we can do it, just taking time each day for ourselves is a big step. I think with most of us being women on this site, I can say for myself that I have forgotten about myself with kids, husband and now grandkids, our mission is to make everyone happy, it's time to make us happy. That is usually when we discover that we need to do something for ourselves.

 



I've been watching these videos called Your body His temple and it goes into great detail about the brain and if you understood how your brain creates, stores good and bad memories the visualzation  technique would work to renew the bad memories and turn them  into something beautiful.



Well, I have been very good, with the exception of yesterday, ALL month! Ha!  Any one else out there starting over every darn first of the month all year?  What/where did July go???  Yeah, man, I been visualizing fitting into my summer clother of '07 for a couple months now.  Gone so far as to put pics of before summer '07 and this June on my frig.  Considering the drastic action of posting on line, creating a Facebook(?)/blog.  Maybe public humiliation AND Good Old Fashioned Pride will bring the gluttony and lazieness to a screeching halt?  Any thoughts?  Geeze, there was a time, 25 years and 25 pounds ago when I bartended on Ft. Laud beach in a bikini.  What is a bikini again...???  Need some encouragement! Scream

 

 



I am having trouble doing this.  I used to have a good imagination, but now...not so much.  I am over 50.  That a part of the problem?



This is hard to do, since I have spent most of my adult life overweight.  I mean I know what I looked like when I was a fairly normal weight up to age 18 or so.  I just have no idea what me, 11 years later, at a healthy weight would look like. 

I might try what someone else suggested and find someone wearing an outfit i'd like to wear or having the body that I want to have. 

Maybe i'll paste my face on the body!!!



When I was new to mountain biking a number of years ago my riding partner gave me some very sound and simple advice:

Look exactly where you want your front tire to go and it will go there, if you keep looking at the rocks your going to kill yourself, look between the rocks and at the good places on the trail!  He was so right!  The mind/body connection is simply amazing!!!!



I visualize going shopping and buying that cute outfit.  Over 40 or over 50, come on, slipping into that size 8/10 at the store or in your closet is FUN!



Original Post by: 2beittybitty

Hello!

I'm currently studying the guidelines set forth in the Beck Diet, which isn't a diet, but a cognitive therapy 6 week plan to help with dieting difficulties. Your Journal entry falls right in line with the first step-- writing down the advantages of losing the weight you want to lose...

This is to be graded in importance to you, then placed on index cards to be read twice daily, and whenever you need re-enforcement to stay on track. I've begun doing this, and am being Successful at doing it-- but I've found it amazingly difficult!

I've only reached a healthy goal weight once in my life-- briefly-- and Loved how I felt... but it was so brief that it is hard to grasp firmly in my mind. It is an intellectual effort, imaginary and unclear...

Your thoughts ring True to me, as important to accomplish-- but I'm finding that imagining what you've almost never experienced, is actually terribly hard to make REAL... And I feel that their REAL-ness is important in their Motivational Power...

Do you have any thoughts, from your wide experience, on how to overcome this weakness in my being ABLE to Visualise my Goal?


Hello!

I'm not familiar with this book but it sounds great!

Many people experience the same difficulty you're describing about how to imagine something that doesn't seem real.  It's not a weakness!
Here are a few suggestions:

You mention that the one time you reached your goal weight you "loved how you felt."  What was the underlying essence of that emotion? Was it inner peace, self-love, confidence?  Even if you now can't access the feeling as associated with your weight loss, think back to other times in your life that you "loved how you felt" as unrelated to weight.  Call forth that same emotional state as a starting point and stay with that.

Suspend disbelief.  Even though it's important to visualize something that feels real, for this exercise it's ok to fantasize just for the thrill of experiencing a certain feeling - like daydreaming. Any image or memory that serves to put you in a good feeling place is the goal.  Think of the underlying essence of the feeling you described and let yourself have fun in fantasy. Whether or not the fantasy is "real", the feeling it evokes is a real feeling and that is the key.

The power behind all this is what others have mentioned above:  the law of attraction.  The feelings associated with the thoughts we think have a magnetizing power.  So even if the image isn't "real" it is real in your mind and the "magnetic" pull is the same.

Hope this helps!



Thank you! Laughing

Ummm... I DO feel a magnetic pull to return to the way I felt-- it was Sooo Good, and seemed 'Right.'

Underlying essence of that feeling...? I can see it better now, from those guide words-- but, more precisely, it wasn't inner peace, but inner Peace-at-Last, with myself and how I looked... A totally new experience for me...

Self-love was more a sense of self-Approval, and love of how I now appeared to myself and others-- and the approval of those around me was very wonderful and new for me...

Confidence was a new experience-- in a kind of feeling of 'Success-at-Last!'... for the first and only time in my life, in weight loss. 

I had done it!!! Laughing

'I' had done it... Wink

'I' Could do it! Cool

These were Very powerful emotions, indeed, and rare for me... I DO want them back...!

The closet I've come to these emotions, other-wise, is when I do very well in playing/singing a song I've written or learned, and hear from others that it was good....... Other times are when given Approval from someone whose opinion is very valuable to me... Those are strong feelings!

I now Believe that this IS my Last Diet, on the way to a Way-of-Life... Laughing

Thank you for helping me 'pin-down' those long-ago feelings that do have a very powerful pull on my mind and heart-- that helps! I am Confident that I'll attain those feelings again, and find them sweeter now-- through doing it right this time-- and, also, through Knowing my new, Healthy weight is 'For-Keeps!' Wink



* closest-closet, lol *

Spell checker didn't catch me!



I love this idea!  I've been collecting images for my Vision Board of what I would like to achieve.  Images of healthy women, women running (I just had a hip replacement), women "Walking for the Cure", pictures of healthy foods.  I'll have these images in front of me daily.  I'm an artist and therefore a  very visual person.  I'm sure this will keep me focused and confident that I'll reach my goal.  This is not my first time encountering this idea.  It works for other successful people, so it'll work for me.  I wish everybody success with their weight loss journey!  Cheers!Laughing



I think I do this just about every other day.  I visualize what I looked like BEFORE I gained all the weight.  And, then I visualize being able to buy off-the rack clothes in my favorite store, and not having to buy them from a specialty store, anymore.  However, what gives me even more impetus to keep going is picturing, for example, 24 pounds of ground beef.  That's a lot of ground beef, and 24 pounds is what I've lost in the past 2 1/2 months, or so.  May sound strange, but it works for me.



Original Post by: tpoet

I love this idea!  I've been collecting images for my Vision Board of what I would like to achieve.  Images of healthy women, women running (I just had a hip replacement), women "Walking for the Cure", pictures of healthy foods.  I'll have these images in front of me daily.  I'm an artist and therefore a  very visual person.  I'm sure this will keep me focused and confident that I'll reach my goal.  This is not my first time encountering this idea.  It works for other successful people, so it'll work for me.  I wish everybody success with their weight loss journey!  Cheers!Laughing


Well, as one Artist to another, I agree! Wink

I don't have a board of "goal pix" but I do keep one running in my head all the time...as I lose this weight, I imagine myself becoming healthier all the time. My eating habits have drastically changed for the better, so even if I never lose it all, I will still be better for it.

Good luck to you on your own journey here @ CC ~ and all the best with your new hip!



Hey Whitewave!  Thank you for your well wishes! I was able to dance for a little bit the other day--haven't done that in years--felt really good!

Everyone have a fabulous weekend!



Great article.  Visualization goes hand in hand with my own technique for success.

What does it take?  Do you ever ask yourself that question about weight
loss and motivation?
I don't have the definitive answer to this question, but I can tell you
the way my mind works this question out to achieve sustained weight loss
and motivation.  I base my health and fitness on Decisions.  We all have
the power to decide our outcome.  I decided nine years ago to change my
diet and nutrition plan.  I like calling it a nutrition plan because when
I say diet people get scared.  This Diet, that Diet, Diet, Diet, Diet.
Let the word Die.
Back to the matter at hand.  Right now you are deciding to read this, or
deciding to stop and go do something else.  You have the power.  I can't
tell you, "hey I'm deciding that you finish this article and then go
dress up like a clown and walk around the park".  You and only you have the
Power to decide your next move.
Another thing I do is strengthen my own belief system.  The key is "my
own" belief system.  Example: If someone wholeheartedly believes the
teachings of their religion, then that's the way it must be and they
live their lives according to this.  Also, if someone believes their
lack of exercise keeps them overweight, guess what?  They believe in
lack of exercise.  They believe it, so it happens.  Instead if they
believe that exercise is a must because it energizes and helps burn fat,
now MUST exercise, energy and fat burn are embedded in their belief
system.  Belief, Belief, Belief...Strong Stuff.
Here's my trick.  I Believe that I will make time for exercise 3 times a
week.  I Believe that my body needs 3 meals a day and a small healthy snack in between each meal. I Believe that  with these two things I can
maintain my current health and fitness.  I Believe, Believe, Believe...
The third weapon in my arsenal for strengthening my Decision and
Believing muscles is Knowledge.  Whatever goal I am seeking, I educate
myself on that subject.  The brain takes in all this knowledge and
manifests results.

Decide
Believe
Knowledge

I make the best Decisions for me, and I justify them with my Belief
system and Knowledge.  This is my mind map to success in whatever I
want.  I have been successful beyond my wildest dreams in my personal
health & fitness and wanted to share in hopes that it helps someone else.

You and only you have the power to decide your next move, based on your
own belief system and knowledge, to manifest results.  No one can take
this from you.  No one.

Thanks, and Much Success to all,
Mike Guardiola

www.mikescreativefitness.com



I have been doing this now for the last month and it is really helping my will power. I bought a designer dress 2 years ago and it has never fitted me and still has the tag on. I have dusted it down and it is now in easy sight when I open the wardrobe which means that I can see what I will look like. I plan to wear this dress on valentines night. Even though I still have 50lbs to loose I know I can work on this and I want it more than ever before.



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