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It's about Mind over Body

Look, thereís about a billion books out there on exercise and eating right, so Iím not going to repeat whatís in them. If you want specific exercises and diets, then go to your nearest library or bookstore, and get some of those books. Or, if you prefer to get your info online, then do a serach for exercise and fitness on google.

Instead of giving you specific how-to info on dieting and working out, I want to focus on your mind. Thatís right, your mind. See, the problem with dieting and working out isnít a lack of information about the best diets and the best exercises. The problem is about developing the mindset that gets you started on a fitness schedule, and keeps you sticking to that schedule.

The problem with dieting and working out isnít a lack of information about the best diets and the best exercises. The problem is about developing the mindset that gets you started on a fitness schedule, and keeps you sticking to that schedule.

So thatís what I want to do. I want to talk to your mind, and help you develop thinking patterns (mental exercises) that will allow you to really get into your fitness patterns (physical exercises).

Hope this sounds good. Because, although you may not believe me at first, itís more important to think the right way about getting fit, than it is to try all kinds of fitness fads and schemes.

The simple reason is that there really is only one single way to get fit. And that way is: hard work. And for hard work, you have to be determined. And to be determined, you have to be thinking about it the right way.

Makes sense, right? It also explains why you or your friends or family may have tried, unsuccessfully, oh, who knows, maybe ten or twenty fitness and diet programs? Fact is, it's easy to get started, or to choose the latest and "greatest" diet and exercise routine. But itís a lot harder to stick to it once you start. Like Mark Twain once said about smoking: "quitting smoking is easy, Iíve done it a thousand times."

Hereís the general theory for exercising your mind (other pages have the exercises)

Common sense tells us that when things happen and we get unhappy about them (or happy about them), thatís because we canít help but be affected by whatís happening. To put it another way, If someone spills coke all over one of my quinceanera dresses, Iíll be really upset and my night will be ruined, and if my night is ruined, that's the fault of the coke spilling on my dress. That sounds right, right? Wrong. Psychologists and other scientists have found that we donít get unhappy (or happy) because things happen. We get unhappy (or happy) because of how we interpret what has just happened. In other words, if someone spills coke all over my dress, how I feel about it depends on what I think about it. I can think that this is the worst thing that could ever happen, and then I will feel really horrible and as if my night is ruined. Or I can think that it's not such a big deal, and then I won't feel so bad and will probably keep right on enjoying my night. The theory, then, is that itís not events that make you feel bad or good; it's what you think (or believe) about them that makes you feel bad or good.

Things that happen in the world donít make you feel bad (or good). You make yourself feel bad or good about what happens in the world. How? By interpreting what happens as good or bad.

How do we know that this theory works? Think of the coke incident. It happens to three girls. How will each of them react? One may have a fit and disappear into the restroom and not come out again. The other one might decide this is unfortunate, but still not something to cry about, and the third might not be affected at all--hey, sh*t happens. So here we have exactly the same event, but the reactions are different. This tells us, clearly, that the three girlsí feelings are not being caused by the event itself, but by the way theyíre thinking about whatís just happened.

Hereís the general theory again: things that happen in the world donít make you feel bad (or good). You make yourself feel bad or good about what happens in the world. How? By interpreting what happens as good or bad.

So whatís so great about this theory? Very simple: if itís you who makes yourself feel good or bad about things that happen in the world, then you can also control and change those feelings. That means, that whatever happens in the world, you can choose to be affected very badly by it, not so badly by it, or not affected at all by it.

Is this true only for spilling coke on one of her quinceanera dresses? No way! This theory is so powerful that you can use it in relationships, you can use it in preparing for college, you can use it in dealing with your parents, you can use it in feeling great about yourself generally and for handling lifeís little disappointments, you can use it for test taking, and yes, you can even use it to help you exercise and eat right so that you can look your absolute best for prom. In other words, thereís a lot of power in this theory, and if you use it well and wisely, you will probably get far in both your short term and your long term goals.

This general theory is important for exercising and eating right in this way:

This has probably happened to you: You look at the exercise equipment, or you look at the dieting schedule, or exercise schedule, or all the veggies youíre supposed to eat, and you sigh and feel vaguely depressed about "it" (you donít know exactly what that "it" really is). Or you feel as if itís all useless and a big waste of time because "itís" not going to work out anyway. Or you feel like you just canít do this, because youíve tried it before and it hasnít worked, so hey, why should it work this time? Or, you feel overwhelmed already because you have to do so much in your busy life that how could you possibly find the time to diet and exercise as well?

If itís you who makes yourself feel good or bad about things that happen in the world, then you can also control and change those feelings.

If you feel or think anything like this when youíre going to start your fitness routine, itís because generally, before you even start to exercise and diet, you have the following mental block about it: youíre telling yourself that itís going to be hard--maybe too hard--that you donít really have the time to waste on such things right now; that in any case, it will take a long time for the effects of diet and exercise to show up and you just canít wait that long at the moment. If you're telling yourself any of this, then youíre probably also telling yourself the following: Itís just too damned hard right now! I canít face it! Iíll do it later, when itís easier!

And what happens when you're thinking like this? You may draw up a bunch of schedules for eating right and exercising hard, which you post on the fridge, or in your room, or next to the treadmill in your basement. And then, for some mysterious reason, you never get started.

But letís say you actually manage to overcome those general thoughts about exercise and diet and do get started on a routine. Letís say you do it a few times, then one day you put it off, and the next day you put it off too, and at last you abandon the routine altogether. Does that sound familiar? Well, what could you be thinking that causes you to abandon a routine well started? Perhaps something like this: this isnít working fast enough so thereís no point in continuing because the effects wonít show up in time; this is too difficult right now so Iíll do it later; Iím not feeling too good right now because my parents shouted at me (or my boyfriend left me, or my teachers were a**holes today) so Iíll do it later; this is stupid, how am I expected to exercise and eat well when Iíve got a gazillion other things to do--so Iíll exercise later. Etc.

And the result of thinking any or all of this stuff? Youíve started your routine (probably for the hundredth time) and youíve abandoned it (probably for the hundredth time). Like quitting smoking was for Mark Twain: "itís easy, Iíve done it a thousand times!"

Anyhow, I just laid out the theory of mind over matter for you, and I tried to show how what you're telling yourself about exercising, is responsible for you not getting any exercising done. It's not the exercises themselves that are too difficult, or the events in your life that are too complex and get in the way. It's what you think about all of the above. And if what you're thinking about all of the above is what's preventing you from succeeding at exercising (or anything else), then why not change what you're thinking? So just go to the next page, where you can try out a few exercises that might actually help you bring about this change, at least where it concerns your mental block to fitness.

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