“You can chain me, you can torture me, you can even destroy this body, but you will never imprison my mind.” Mahatma Gandhi
Brain. Mind. Some think these terms are interchangeable. They aren’t. It’s like comparing apples to oranges — no, because apples and oranges are both fruits. It’s like comparing a computer processor with the wind. A brain has physical form. It is touched and studied. It has a system of electrical pathways responsible for everything in the mechanism known as body. The mind is without form. It is only slightly predictable, and it is the reason you may be struggling with your fitness program. While the brain carries and stores tons of information it does not generate concepts or phobias or excuses. That, my friend, is the mind.
Mind is powerful, it is energy, it is consciousness. Christina Sarich has written a wonderful article about the mind and the brain which you should read when you get a chance, but the emphasis of this piece is how the mind can be a saboteur.
When you struggle with your fitness program I believe it’s because you’re not in charge. Your thoughts are “on a roller coaster-marching to a different drummer” almost 100% of the time. When I teach Deep Relaxation classes we do an exercise in free thought. Tracking the way your mind works can be a real hoot when you allow it to float around the room and into the beyond. The mind accesses memories much like Dumbledore does from the Pensive. The thoughts swirl around (figuratively speaking) and we pluck them out one at a time. Sometimes some of the greatest discoveries and creative ideas come from this kind of thought. Sometimes it can be a huge waste of time. Random thinking is okay if we are in the mode of free thought, but when it comes to staying on track with your fitness program your mind will ruin everything.
Here’s a sampling of how your mind may be throwing your fitness plan out the window. You’ve designed a fitness program you feel you can handle (Remember the FITT and GAP from last weeks post? If you don’t go back and read ZWL-NY Times-Trainers). You go for a walk or go to the gym — feeling really good about yourself — and you look over and see someone who seems to have lost weight. You wonder if you should be doing the same diet they did because OBVIOUSLY it worked. They are thinner, but you aren’t. Need I remind you that 5 seconds ago you thought you felt and looked healthier? So now you are risk for failure – and you just got started!
The worse thing you can do is to actually change your program before you’ve given it a chance. Give your body time to respond to dietary and exercise changes. Don’t allow your mind to fill your head with self-doubt, or limitless options. Use a journal to keep yourself honest, and stay on point with your health campaign. Using that journal will keep the saboteur from planting useless information, and guarantee your continued success.