Healthy Living

Visualization: A Picture is Worth a Thousand Weight Loss Plans

02D27338Ever notice how, after you read a book, the think you recall most is the visual imagery you created in your head to go with it?

That’s probably why watching a movie after we’ve read the book is such a letdown. The film doesn’t match the characters’ physical features and the settings we imagined. Our mental version feels more real than the director’s rendition.

The human visual system is quite possibly the most fascinating—and bossy—part of our brain.

Fascinating because it has the ability to take words and abstract ideas, and make them clear and tangible. Math students grasp complex concepts when a teacher draws a graph on the board. We grasp how to assemble an IKEA bookshelf when we skip the novella of instructions and look at the diagram.

And bossy because what we see in our mind dictates our reality.

The average person has about 70,000 thoughts a day and many are accompanied by mental images. Academic research has found that our visuals create our perceptions of the world and of ourselves. It’s like an infinite reel of images running through our head throughout the day, unconsciously guiding our thoughts and actions.

So you see, what we picture in our mind, we manifest. If a picture given to us is worth 1,000 words, the gallery of mental images we have created in our own mind is worth 1 million.

You are, no doubt, familiar with the premise of IdealShape’s new book Think: Use Your Mind to Shrink Your Waistline: in it, David Meine reveals the top 10 behaviors that prevent people from losing weight. But did you know that one of those behaviors has to do with how we use our visual system—or don’t?

A mental image of our ideal shape is the difference between a pipedream and a goal, David explains. It takes our weight loss plan from a nice set of words on paper, to something we are passionately working toward, and that we believe we can achieve.

David writes in Think: “It is my experience that until someone can truly visualize their new body shape, they are a nonbeliever in their ability to achieve it. What happens when you don’t truly believe you can accomplish it? You don’t make a concrete commitment to do so.”

Failing to use our visual system to achieve our health goals is possibly one of the biggest mistakes we can make. That said, let’s talk about how it is easier said than done.

I distinctly remember buying the book “Creative Visualization” a few years ago and plopping down on the beach in Hawaii to read it. I loved the idea of manifesting what I wanted in my life by seeing it in my mind. I fully believed in the power of visualization to affect my actions.

I sat in the sand and read the book from cover to cover, wondering when my own visualizations would begin to take shape. They never did. At least not during that vacation and for a few years after.

The reason, I finally discovered, was that I didn’t believe I could manifest what I wanted in my life. I felt sheepish about imagining future rewards that I didn’t think I really deserved to claim. I didn’t dare be so bold as to heap myself with riches like happiness, creative success, new friends and a more attractive physique.

My visualization block wasn’t because I lacked the mental tools to imagine what my success would look like. I used to be a painter and a clothing designer; I am very good at turning ideas into pictures. Rather, when it came to what I wanted in my life, well, I didn’t really want it; I didn’t have the confidence and courage to.

Point being: I understand why, although you may not doubt the power of positive mental imagery, you may not quite know what it is or how to do it. Or you may be thinking, how am I supposed to see myself with a six-pack, or in a size 6 dress, if I’ve never actually seen it?—and if, deep down, I’m not sure I ever will?

There’s no denying that visuals are our most powerful tool for understanding and shaping our world, but unfortunately, we aren’t blessed with the innate knowledge of how to shape our inner slideshow.

This is why guidance helps. David uses Think to illuminate the process of creating clear visualizations. He provides guidance on how to make a mental picture that will manifest your ideal shape and helps you see which psychological blocks may be commandeering your mental imagery, filling your head with negative pictures that lead to unhealthy behaviors.

Above all, the book will empower you to see that you deserve to manifest your ideal shape in your life. Once you believe that, you can achieve it and you will. Get the book and free audio downloads here.

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Chelsea Ratcliff

Chelsea Ratcliff

Writer and expert

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