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Setting Your Mind Towards a Healthy Lifestyle

Good health begins in our mind.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy asserts that our actions and behaviors are a product of our thoughts and feelings. Therefore, if we want to change our actions and behavior, we must change our thoughts and feelings. 

Does that make sense?  

Indeed, it does, especially in the health and fitness field — for the road to health, fitness, and well-being begins in the mind.

It starts as a feeling.

We often feel dissatisfied by our body shape – especially when we reach a certain age when what used to be lean and mean becomes rounded and saggy. 

We often feel dissatisfied with our energy level or the decreasing amount of work we can do before we feel tired. We begin to ask ourselves what happened and why.

Sometimes, we don’t notice the subtle yet dangerous changes in our body and our physiological responses to stimuli until we end up in the emergency room or the doctor’s office. Then, when the blood chemistry or scan reveals what is wrong, we get scared and anxious.

People try to ignore these feelings of discontent, frustration, fear, and anxiety about the state of their health. Some deny that they have these feelings.  

But, these feelings are essential.  

They can bog us down with self-pity and paralyze us in hopelessness, or they can be the stimuli for positive action. These can be feelings we don’t want to feel ever again. So, we do all that is in our power to get back into shape and live a healthier lifestyle to prolong the days of our enjoyment of life and all it offers.

If you are concerned about your health and lifespan, are thinking about chronic illnesses, and are at risk for such, you are not alone.

Maybe you have been diagnosed with a lifestyle-related medical condition or know someone who has, causing you to re-examine your health status.

At some point, all of us begin to consider such issues seriously, and good for you! It can motivate you to take action. Once you’re on the edge of action, go further and set your mind and behaviors to a healthy lifestyle.

Step 1: Let your fingers do the walking! 

Get on your smartphone or tablet PC and start browsing the internet for information. Be careful, though; many sites out there can scare you with disinformation and leave your pockets bleeding.  

Go to trusted sites and get relevant and accurate information about healthy diet and fitness. Read all you can to find out what that looks like, and then take action. 

Step 2: Make a choice! 

Armed with your education from step one, you can now examine all unhealthy aspects of your life and make a list of goals with specific action steps to reach them. 

Step 3: Get moving! 

Join a gym, follow a healthy eating plan, hire a personal trainer, or attend an aerobics class at a nearby community center. Ask your doctor for advice. 

Make small changes that will result in significant changes in time.  

Want to lose 100 pounds? Begin with losing 100 ounces. Begin by shaving off 100 calories from your diet by skipping your usual glass of soda, candy bar, or bag of chips.  

If you drink 3 cups of coffee daily, try cutting it to two. If you take sugar and cream with your coffee, cut the cream and sugar in half or strive for black.  

Skip the cake, choose an apple or an orange for dessert three times a week, and build up from there.

The power of visualization.

If and when you are trying to lose weight, it helps if you visualize your goals. By visualizing yourself reaching a goal, you’re actually training your brain to interpret that imagery as reality—and creates new neural pathways to support that reality.

  • Create an image of what healthy looks and feels like in your mind. Find short phrases, written words, or find a picture.
  • Visualize yourself succeeding at your goal. You might picture yourself crossing the finish line of your first 5k, or stepping on the scale 20 lbs lighter.
  • Create a vision board of images of your goal body, and put it somewhere so you can see it daily.
  • What is your favorite thing to do in the world?  Is it carrying your kids? Is it playing basketball or football with them? Is it driving your car? Is it going camping or traveling? Imagine how you are going to do those things (if you can still do those things) if you’ve lost the use of half of your body because you’ve had a stroke.  Sobering visions, aren’t they? And they work. They stop your cravings! They distract your mind from unhealthy desires and sway you towards a healthy mindset.

The battle is in the mind.

The mind is a powerful thing. It can make you do certain things that you would otherwise not do. A man diagnosed to be in the initial stages of coronary artery disease – his arteries were narrowing because of arterial plaque, which motivated him to go on a diet and exercise.  

He took pictures of his kids and put them in front of him every time he ate. Each mouthful of vegetable and fruit meant that much more time that he would be around to watch them grow.   

Whenever he felt like skipping his morning walk, he would imagine his kids living without his support and love. Immediately, he’d get up and walk like his life depended upon it – and it did. Happily, he was able to reverse the coronary artery disease through small lifestyle changes – his kids are now in college.

Use your mind to be informed. Use your mind to choose what is good for your health. Use your mind’s eye to motivate you toward your health and fitness goals. It all begins in the mind.


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