Tag: mindset

Mindset and Your Health

Half Full or Half Empty?

Have you ever known anyone who is constantly looking at the down side of everything? If someone walked up to them and handed them $1,000,000.00, they would bemoan the way that the gift might change their taxes and turn that windfall into a negative event. In some ways we’re all geared that way a little. It’s called the negativity bias. We are all hardwired to focus on the negative as a way to survive. In times past, the ability to focus on the negative was a way to stay safe in a dangerous environment. It’s the part of our brain that is aware of the lone predator under the bush when everything else around us looks just fine. Unfortunately, this pessimistic trait has been passed down to us because our ancestors who were a bit paranoid are the ones who survived to pass on their genes. We have a lot to overcome where perception is concerned, and the winning mindset is illustrated by something that David says, “It doesn’t matter if the glass is half empty or half full, refill the glass.” In other words, take control of the situation.

“What Gets Fired, Gets Wired”

There is potential for this negative mindset to profoundly change our lives in a devastating way. Whatever we dwell on increases. This is called Hebb’s Rule in neurobiology. It’s explained as “What gets fired, get’s wired.” (2)Whenever we continually fire the same neurons in our brains, our brains begin to hardwire it in as our reality. This can be a disaster if we continually tell ourselves that we have bad health genetics or that we are unable to control our habits concerning food choices and exercise. If we tell ourselves over and over that we cannot positively impact our health, we will begin to believe just that. It will become our reality. We will not even attempt to make healthy choices and we will suffer the consequences. If we get anxious about our health and feel helpless to change, it will increase our cortisol levels which will drive our blood sugar up, cause an insulin dump into our bloodstream and a corresponding hunger. Anxiety and a negative mindset will almost always make most people overeat.

Positive Aspects of Hebb’s Rule

Just as the brain begins to accept negative programming as fact when it is programmed with it continually, it will also begin to accept positive programming when we make a conscious effort to fill our minds with positive thoughts. As we change our thinking, our thinking changes everything about us. In a study by Crum in 2007, (3) mindset was shown to cause positive changes in weight, blood pressure, body fat, waist-to-hip ratio and BMI. This is believed to have happened as a result of the placebo effect and showed the profound impact that mindset has on our health. Sometimes if we believe that we are making healthier choices, and begin to see positive changes, we will develop momentum to continue with more positive decisions.

Change Your Brain

You may say that you’ve been trying to do that for years with no success but there are ways to sway a negative mindset.

  • Have a positivity stockpile. Fill a jar with written memories of instant mood boosters such as a favorite vacation, pictures of you at your best weight or encouraging quotes to spur you on in your journey to health.
  • Question and reframe your negative thoughts. This is a type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. If you have a thought that says that you will never lose the weight ask yourself why? Ask if that’s an opinion or a fact. Ask if you would tell someone else that same thing and then come up with a better response to the negative thought. You may be able to reprogram your brain with this method alone.
  • Surround yourself with positive, supportive people. Dump the negative people who are constantly trying to pull you down. You might read my article Osmosis to read about a phenomenon called “social contagion” that can be deadly.
  • Focus on what you CAN control and do just that. We are more powerful than we know. If we exercise control where we can, we will become more confident and adept at correcting even our most negative thoughts and habits.
  • Use “Failure” as a stepping stone. In weightlifting. I face a lot of “fails”. There are many times that I just can’t get one more. David reminds me that although I may fail at some point, I have still gotten a great workout in the attempt. Everything is that way. We grow from the attempt as much as the mastery of anything. It is the sincere, grinding attempt that makes us strong and teaches us where we are missing the mark. Whenever you fall back into negative thinking, remember where you went wrong and avoid that pitfall the next time.
  • Seek calm. Whenever the urge to panic or become distressed sets in, remember that you have to remain calm to be in control. When you are calm, you can make rational decisions about food choices and exercise. Anxiety and panic cause emotional eating. Avoid drama at all costs.
  • Seek clarity. State your goals clearly and execute your plan to move towards them. If we don’t clarify our goals we will be confused and discouraged. Always move in the right direction. Every bite of food that you eat should benefit your body. Live with purpose.
  • Concentrate. Focus on your health and to Hell with everything else.
  • Stand Your Ground. Be your own best advocate. The World will tell you that you are self-centered. That’s okay. You will be healthy when they’re all dead. Remember, it’s up to you.


(1) (2) https://www.psycom.net/positive-thinking

(3) https://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/3196007/Langer_ExcersisePlaceboEffect.pdf?sequence=1#:~:text=These%20results%20support%20the%20hypothesis,(mindless%20beliefs%20and%20expectations).




“I Just Don’t Feel Like It”

There is a Truth that all heavy lifters are aware of, “feeling like it” isn’t required to have a great workout. What IS required is commitment. All too often, people fall into the trap of thinking, “If I could just get my mind right, I could be successful.” The only thing necessary to get your mind right is to be fully committed to your program. I have heard all of the excuses for why someone can’t, or won’t, get fit. In years past, I have made most of those excuses. What had to click for me was the simple fact that there are no shortcuts. It’s never, not one time ever, going to be easy. Since it’s not going to be easy then I have to prepare for my workouts like it is my job. I have to eat my specified number of calories in the proper ratio of carbs and protein. I have to get some sleep. I have to hydrate. I have to control the stress in my life and remove emotional clutter.  I have to make my fitness and health my first priority. It’s not something that can be hurriedly tacked on. It is my life, literally. Whether I feel good or not, the show goes on.

“It’s Just Not Fair.”

A common definition of “mindset” is, “the established set of attitudes held by someone”. Wow, think about that the next time you hear someone lament how unfair life is to them in the context of weight, level of fitness and appearance. I am NOT talking about those moments when true tragedy strikes and you feel like you are being singled out by God for target practice. That’s another issue altogether. What I’m talking about here is those remarks that everyone has heard about genetics, or what they thought were “genetics”. You know, “Just look at her, I wish I had those genetics.” Those types of comments are merely excuses to be lazy. While genes do dictate basic body type, what you do with that type is what makes you either fit or paunchy. The choice is yours. Don’t blame genetics. A lean and fit body, regardless of type, will always look good.

“If I Had Her Money”

Another common misconception is that “If I had her money, I would look like that too.” Probably not. As a matter of fact, regardless of what “she” does, unless she commits to excellence, she won’t look like that long herself. I know of super-fit Instagram models who have done some crazy things to look the way they do, things that I would never do, but they also work their collective asses off and build on what they bought at the doctor’s office. That’s how they keep it up. You can’t just go get a surgically altered body and let it go to Hell and expect to keep it. Those women are in a highly competitive market and most of them are aware that they need to protect their investments. I personally know a woman who is not a model but inherited a bit of cash and spent it all to reshape her body. She got what she wanted but after a few years of neglecting her eating plan and exercise, she will barely get your attention. She is slowly returning to what she was before the surgeon’s knife made the first cut because she never committed to work hard to keep what she bought. It would have been a lot cheaper and safer to have just worked out.

“Oh, But Food’s So Good!”

It’s fairly common to hear people say, “I would “diet”, but food is so GOOD!” Well, yeah. It’s supposed to be good so that we don’t starve. If everything tasted like gruel, we would have no fat stores at all and we need some fat. Without it we will die. It holds our organs in place and affects our hormone levels. Food is good to everyone. Super healthy, fit people like food just as much as obese people who refuse to change. There is probably no food that you can mention that I don’t like. There are some I have never tried but the odds are, if I tried them, I very well might like them, even the “disgusting” ones. I learned to control my weight out of necessity. I always had a voracious appetite and ate plenty. You are not special in this regard. I realized at one point that no matter how much chocolate cake I ate, I would still want chocolate cake, just as much. I could not ever be satisfied no matter how much I ate, so I quit eating it. If I was going to crave it incessantly regardless of how much I ate then it made no sense to even start eating it in the first place. As a result of that decision, I never crave chocolate cake. We have all kinds of chocolate desserts here on the website that are sugar-free and healthy but because I really don’t ever think about eating cake anymore, I seldom even make those recipes. It is necessary to realize that food tasting good is not an excuse to eat too much of it or to eat empty calorie laden junk foods that do not nourish your body and cause additional cravings.

“I Just Don’t Have Time.”

Are you serous? David has written about his schedule. It is grueling and he’s the most dedicated person that I have ever known in regards to his fitness initiative. My schedule is no cakewalk either. I work a very hard, full-time nursing job and take care of a special needs family member. You will quite often find me in my “Dungeon” lifting weights in the middle of the night. I learned a while back that I have to take the time to prepare food before I go to work. I encounter people on a daily basis who get to work with nothing to eat. Plan your work and work your plan. It takes less time to just get it done than it does to come up with excuses to avoid exercise and eat garbage that you waited for at the drive-thru. Again, it’s a decision.

“Healthy Food Is Too Expensive”

David just addressed this but honestly, this lie is killing people on a daily basis. Plain, whole foods are not expensive. Eating out is expensive. Doctor’s office visits are expensive. Medications necessary because of obesity are expensive. All kinds of lean meats go on sale and potatoes and vegetables, including beans are always cheap. And then there’s the Incredible Edible Egg, it’s highly versatile and adds a cheap punch of protein to any meal. Processed foods are insanely expensive because you never feel satisfied eating that junk and you just keep eating more and more. An egg or two is a lot cheaper than a box of breakfast pastries.

“I’ll Do It When I Can Focus.”

I have actually heard this excuse. “There’s just too much going on in my life right now for me to think about what I’m eating.” If you are profoundly over-extended and stressed, this is not only a good time to get your eating and fitness under control, it’s probably the best time. Then your body and mind will be better able to handle everything else.

The Truth of the matter is this. Regardless of what excuse or lie that you perpetuate to yourself and others, it won’t change the reality that a healthy body fat percentage and exercise that has been approved by your doctor will help your self-esteem, your ability to function and your overall health. Face the Truth and start counting those calories today! You can use the Calorie Counter Pro to determine how many calories you need to eat to lose a pound a week. What have you got to lose? Always get your doctor’s approval before beginning any weight loss or exercise program.