When most of us decide to get fit, lose weight, or achieve some other goal related to our health, we tend to focus on the “how”. We create an eating plan or workout schedule, or otherwise craft a regimen that we believe will lead to our success. And those things are certainly important! After all, most people don’t achieve a goal simply by thinking about it.
But as it turns out, “thinking about it” might be more important than we think. In particular, visualizing the results you want to achieve has now been scientifically proven to lead to greater weight loss and overall fitness results.
In a recent study, published by the International Journal of Obesity, participants were divided into two groups. The first group received motivational interviewing, a counseling practice in which you receive counseling aimed at creating behavioral changes. The second group received Functional Imagery Training (FIT), a a technique that uses mental imagery to strengthen motivation and promote change”. The concept is based upon the idea that mental imagery is more emotionally charged, and therefore more motivating, than other types of thinking.
After six months, the first group lost about four pounds, on average… Whereas the second group, who learned FIT, lost an average of nine pounds!
Even more impressive, after an additional six months, follow-up interviews showed that the FIT group had lost an additional five pounds. Meanwhile, the first group had actually regained a bit of their previously lost weight.
How does it work? Researchers believe Functional Imagery Training increases the desire for healthy behaviors, by linking motivation to emotion. It translates abstract intentions into actual, measurable choices – such as consuming smaller portions, opting for healthier foods, and committing to an exercise plan. These changes might even happen at a more subtle, subconscious level; in other words, FIT might simply make it easier for you to stick to the plans that help you achieve your goals.
So, how can you do it? Spend a few minutes each day visualizing the results you want, either through meditation, creating a vision board, looking at old pictures from a healthier time in your life, or any other strategy that helps you see your desired results. You might even practice this technique when temptation (to indulge in junk food or skip a workout) strikes.
Of course, you also need to learn the fundamentals of nutrition, so that you can make those healthier choices. We can help with that part. Give us a call to schedule an appointment, and we’ll help you craft a weight loss plan based on medical science.