25/05/2016

Davide Alfonsi Takeover Part 3; Resetting Your Self Image

I know that feeling. Looking in the mirror and feeling repulsed by your own reflection. Unsatisfied and hopeless. Hating yourself.

In my young years I experienced it a lot. The initial phase of change is always the hardest. It's like jumping in the void without knowing if you're going to land safely.

But hope, consistently and perseverance are qualities that I had to build up. I have transformed that hopelessness feeling first into challenge then into passion…and slowly I changed the image in the mirror that I mostly hated into something I felt I could be proud of.

Like me, many people didn't give up on their physical transformation and therefore conquering the struggles of a most needed mental transformation.

You can do it to. You just need to work on your SELF IMAGE, together with your body.

Maxwell Maltz

Maxwell was a plastic surgeon and more than 50 years ago wrote a book called “psycho cybernetics”. He saw that more often than not, his patients didn't get any improvement on their level of happiness from the plastic surgery. They couldn't find satisfaction in the new look and found rapidly some other “imperfections” that had to be fixed. Making modelling their faces and bodies a real obsession.

Maxwell wasn't satisfied and started studying his patients closely. He found out that no matter how perfect his surgery was most patients couldn't see in the mirror what they were looking for. They changed their features but they didn't change the MENTAL IMAGE they had of themselves.

That's why he started doing preliminary psychiatrist sessions with his patients. He asked to do a 30 minutes visualization exercise for 21 days before they could undertake surgery. If at the end of the 21 days they still wanted to do the surgery then he would perform it.

What he found is that most people could actually get rid of their obsessions simply by doing that simple exercise. Over the course of 21 days they trained the brain to see different things in the mirror. The illusion of being imperfect faded and they started to like themselves more and more.

Obese people started losing weight simply because they started to believe, and therefore behave, as if they were slimmer already.

I know this can sound odd but I have recently had a chat with my friend Greg. He's a successful entrepreneur with a lovely family. He has a trainer and a nutritionist but he told me he just couldn't get rid of his belly. “I have always been fat and I'll always will be” he said. That's when the story of Maxwell Maltz came back to my mind. Greg had a fat self-image and therefore he was subconsciously sabotaging himself.

Do not sabotage yourself

This may sound weird but most people think themselves as fat. As long as you have a clear image of you being fat and keep telling yourself you will always stay fat, the chances of changing are very little.

The mind is a powerful tool. No matter how ambitious your fitness goals are or high your motivation may be, if you think yourself as fat sooner than later you will act accordingly.

I have made the mistake of giving strict diets to overweight clients and they always had a backlash. After two or three days of compliance they ended up binging like never before, lying to me about it and creating excuses such as their metabolism being the problem.  

Only after I've learned to set mini goals and advised them to eat only foods they enjoy I was able to deliver great results. Starting from a purely mental approach I slowly introduced little dietary restrictions. Week after week I could replace a little treat with a healthy alternative. The more they could see the scale dropping and their pants getting loser the more they believed they could be slim sooner than later their self-image switched from “I'm a fat bastard” to “I'm transforming”

Tips

1)    Be easy on yourself. Acknowledge that it will take time to change and, if you do it gradually even this journey can be enjoyable.
2)    Forgive yourself if you eat a bit too much. Be ok with it. Don't say to yourself “this is me I always screw up everything”. It was just a treat, now you can go back on track and it won't affect you too much. Is ok to be human at times.
3)    Close your eyes and visualise yourself wearing tight clothing and looking great. Imagine colours, shapes, sounds. The more vivid the visualization the better are the chances you will work harder to achieve it
4)    Dream big but plan small. If you want to become a fitness model there's nothing wrong about it but remember to plan mini steps so easy to accomplish that may even feel stupid. You can start with going to the gym once this week. That's little and easy right. Then next week you can commit to not having sweets on Monday. The week after you will go two times to the gym and avoid sweets for three days. And so on.

5)    Learn patience. Lao Tzu in the book of the Dao said “a journey of a 1000s miles begins with one single step”. Little things are what really make a difference in the long run. Make sure you get that right and try to enjoy the rest. Who knows maybe you will become the next number one fitness model. 


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