Lose Weight with Behavior Modification Weight Loss Program

Lose Weight with Behavior Overrides

Make no mistake about it. You are a pleasure seeking organism. Let me repeat that again, you are an organism that seeks pleasure. That is what human beings are. It is hard wired into our human nature that we tend to focus and are attracted to things and activities that give pleasure. Similarly, we tend to run away from things that provide pain or discomfort. If you think about it, this makes all the sense in the world. After all, five cave men walking through some grasslands thousands of years ago, you would notice that they would look for things that are sweet or have a lot of fat. Also, they would run away from things that are scary or that looks scary.

The reality is that, if you were a cave man that stuck around when something scary showed up, like let us say a lion, chances are your genes would probably not make it to the gene pool. Eventually, your genes will be wiped out. This is why we are hard wired this way. We gravitate towards things that are pleasurable, and we tend to run away from things that are scary. While this may have helped our ancestors thousands of years ago, it does not really help us now. In this day and age, it is the people who are able to deal with unpleasant tasks day in day out, in exchange for a great reward in the future, who make it. Those who tend to shy away from inconvenience or hard work tend to settle for whatever is left. Make no mistake about it. In life, the eighty-twenty rule applies. Over eighty percent of all wealth is owned by the twenty percent, eighty percent of all good results are monopolized by the twenty percent.

This means, eighty percent that is left of the population will have to settle for the remaining twenty percent. If you are tired of failing to meet your weight loss goals, if you are tired of feeling crappy because you can not seem to lose weight, you need to understand how this principle works. You have to wrap your mind around the concept of the pleasure pain-principle and make it work to your advantage. The good news is that, you can override the tendency to avoid unpleasant activities. By doing so, you will be able to eat less and move around more. When you do this, you can lose weight. It really is that simple. However, just like with anything else that is simply said or can be simply written on paper, it is one thing to understand it as a simple process, it is another to actually follow through with it.

The Pleasure-Pain Principle

The pleasure-pain principle is very straightforward. In fact, animals have the pleasure-pain principle. This is why they can be trained in one of two ways. You can either train them with pain and punishment, or you can train them with little rewards of food. It all works the same way. Unfortunately, people are not really that far removed from animals, we operate on the same pleasure-pain principle. We run from pain, we run to pleasure. If you look at any type of human incentive program, it always involves pleasure and pain. Of course, it does not have to involve actual physical pain, but it can involve financial pain, inconvenience or some other form of penalty. Similarly with the rewards, it may not be a bowl of food or some fruit, or a slab of meat, but it can mean money, prestige, position and other types of incentives that appeal to the human psyche.

We Associate Working Out and Exercise with Pain

If you are having a tough time losing weight, it is because your mind automatically associates working out, running, jogging, whatever you want to do for exercise, with pain. There are different kinds of pain. Maybe your body does not really think exercising is physically painful, however, it equates working out in the morning with inconvenience. Maybe you mind would rather have your body do something else. Also, most human beings are impatient. In the United States, we have grown accustomed to getting our rewards quickly. This is a big problem. It rewards impatience. So, when you are confronted with a situation where you will have to wait for you to get a reward, which is the case with working out and daily exercise, you become impatient and you lose interest. You associate working out with hassle, which is a type of pain.

We Avoid Working Out Due To Avoid Negative Associations

As spelled out above, we avoid working out because somewhere down the line our mind made the negative association. The good news about all this is that, you have a lot more control than you give yourself credit for. You have to understand that your mind will not continue to follow a certain pattern unless you let it. Of course, breaking any mental pattern, specially the ones that seem automatic, can take quite a bit of time and effort. Still, there is a lot of things that you can do to create positive association, so you can achieve your weight loss goals. One thing is sure, if you let your mind continue in its current pattern, you are never going to lose weight. You are never going to get that perfect body that you have always been dreaming of.

Decide To Break the Linkage

As mentioned above, deciding to stick with something that is inconvenient or even painful so you can get big rewards in the future, is easy on an intellectual level, it is not so easy on a purely emotional level. The good news is that, you can make that a reality by deciding. The human mind is very powerful. If the human mind decides, great things can happen. The key is to first decide, and then let your mind take over. When you decide, you change the reality in your mind and you set your focus on something else. This applies to making money, this applies to relationships an it definitely applies to losing weight.

Work Out Only Once Per Week

The great thing about working out is that, you do not have to hit the gym full blast and force yourself to do thousands of repetitions every single day. You do not have to start out this way. You can take baby steps. You can start with low impact exercises. The key here is to start slow and then ramp it up with time. The key here is not to shock your system. You have to understand, your body sends feedback to your brain, and if you shock your body it will push back against your brain. When you decide, quickly follow it up with low level exercise. It does not have to be big, it does not have to be dramatic, but the key is to get started.

Reprogram Association of Pain and Convenience

Now that you have started to work out, it is very important that you start reprogramming your mind. You have to start breaking the association between working out and something negative. The good news is that, if you start with low level exercises, this can produce enough good feeling and enough feelings of self satisfaction that it can start the process of breaking that negative association.

Slowly Ramp Up and Make New Associations

Once you have gotten into the middle of working out and it has taken a momentum of its own, you need to start making new associations. These new associations are focused on helping you keep working out. In other words, they prevent you from stopping. The way you do this is you associate stopping working out with guilt. You associate quitting with a feeling of shame or a feeling of failure. You might think that you are playing mind games with yourself, but guess what, you are already playing mind games with yourself, except in your current case it is not doing you any favors. If you are going to play mind games with yourself, at least come out of it looking better and feeling better about yourself.

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  1. I like the idea of starting out with low level exercises. I think my problem is that I work out too hard at the start and then end up burning out after a few weeks, either from an injury or lack of incentive. I’m going to try starting out slower. I hope it works.

  2. This is spot on: “decide to break the linkage”. In any behavior that a person wants to change, the critical step to modifying the behavior (in this case, losing weight) is to make the decision to do so. I could generally vouch for this. I never actually cared whether I’m thin or fat until my doctor told me that I would continue to have symptoms of my condition unless I lose some weight. I got so scared being told that I was high risk for developing cancer that right then and then, I made the decision to “at least” try to lose weight. When that was set in my mind, I began to change my old ways. I stopped drinking sodas, I only ate foods that were either steamed or grilled, (totally dropped my preference for the oily and the unhealthy), started eating my hated vegetables, among other things.

  3. I just started a weight loss program and I have found through experience that going slow and taking baby steps gives you more results and better satisfaction than going hard to feel the burn. Then as you being to lose weight and once you reach a plateau where weight is basically the same then you add another activity or repetition to the mix. Walk that extra block, cut down some more calories and stay motivated with daily affirmations and pretty soon before you know it you will have reached your goal.

  4. Absolutely agree – start small if you have not exercised in a long time or never exercised. As someone who was once morbidly obese, the one thing that kept me from even starting an exercise plan was the thought of having to make it through 30+ minutes of intense exercise. I wish I had changed my perspective and started out much smaller and slower and realized that I didn’t need to start out at 30 minutes but could have started out doing a 5 to 10 minute comfortable pace walk. This would have made my idea of exercise something to look forward to instead of something to fear.

  5. It is definitely true that it is more effective to start off slow, but it is also important to choose exercises that you enjoy. Enjoying exercising is possible these days with unlimited ways to work out. When you enjoy what you do, it makes the pain less or makes it bearable.

  6. This is absolutely right about the benefit of breaking negative associations with exercise. When I stopped thinking of exercise as a chore and started thinking of it as a fun thing to do, I was much more likely to actually do it. I’m more likely to hit hit my planned bike ride turn around point and decide to go a little bit farther because I feel great. And if I don’t feel like an exhilarating bike ride, I don’t. I go for a relaxing walk on the beach (sand is great for your calf muscles!) instead. It has really improved my attitude towards exercise.

  7. I couldn’t agree more. There is so much more to dieting than simply not eating “bad” foods. Behaviour modification is the key to not only losing weight but keeping it off too. We definitely need to start thinking of exercise as “fun”, after all, it has so many benefits.

  8. This is such a powerful post. One of the key factors in me losing over 100 lbs was breaking the barrier between associating exercise with negative emotions as you mentioned. I had to make working out fun for me, and something I deemed as “pleasurable” in my head in order to motivate myself to do it and enjoy it. This article is right on!

  9. Mind over matter!

    Seriously, our minds are the most powerful assets we own; use them!

    We can beat any pain or struggle, because we suffer today to become legends tomorrow!

  10. I just wonder how some people maintain their diet. Though, they eat much and no exercise at all. My weight increase when I got married and give birth. As a full time mother, taking of family basic chores and our daughter, no wonder my body become stressful. Until I decided to work. My diet starts with drinking lots of water. Start from 2 glass of water when i wake up in the morning, i ate breakfast as usual and followed by 1 glass of water again before i go to office. In our office i have a bottled of water,2 litters of water when i sat down. When i got home another 2 glass of water. The main benefits of water is to moisturize my skin and reduce unwanted fats and toxin inside my body. Wonderful diet that don’t need to exercise.

  11. A secret to slowly remove unwanted fats is just drinking lots of water and responsible in pursuing your goal to get slim and healthy.

  12. This is a very interesting concept. I can honestly say in my 7+ year weight loss journey that I’ve ever given any thoughts to the psychology behind weight loss.
    It makes sense to actively rewire your thought processes for optimal weight loss. I have to say that I am very excited to share this information. I do feel that this will definitely have a beneficial impact upon my own weight loss.

  13. This is so informative. I remember the pleasure principle in the psychology subject I’ve taken. Everybody just wants to feel good and try their best to avoid pain, infact I know some people who are like that. When it comes to feelings, they just avoid.. they don’t want to get emotionally hurt in any way. They avoid love, avoid getting emotionally attached. I started out slow working out because I have a really unhealthy lifestyle and because I’m so lazy.. I only work out once or twice a week that time (that was last year perhaps October). I work out for about 5-20 minutes.. yes.. you read it right.. 5 minutes, sometimes even 3. I always listen to my body, when I feel really tired.. I’d stop. I continued the routine for about 2 weeks then gradually increase the time and the type of work out. The most difficult part in my experience is to be consistent. Many times I slacked, even up today.. I struggle to work out but just like the blogger mentioned, the key is to get started.

  14. Start small for sure. Climbing a mountain always starts with one step. Another thing that helped me immensely was to be present in my mind when I’m working out. Most people go to the gym and are just longing for it to be over. They tell themselves ‘I just have to finish these reps’ or are counting down until the workout is over and they can leave. Rather than do this, try to enjoy every rep and set, tell yourself ‘this is why I’m here, so I may as well enjoy it’. There is a reason you’re going to the gym, constantly remind yourself and working out will become something you look forward to rather than something you have to do.

  15. Starting slow is such an important step, and keeping a tangible goal in your mind is helpful. I recently went from not exercising at all to working out very heavily 6 days a week. I ended up injuring myself where I can only do limited exercise now. My motivation now is to start slower and try harder to be patient. Our society is indeed so impatient, and it is so easy to fall into a pattern of impatience. I’m using a goal of preparing my body to have a child as long term motivation for my food and exercise choices. So far it has been helpful. Even though I have a long term goal, I have set shorter goals to help keep me motivated in the short term.

  16. This is fantastic advice. I guess the reason that I haven’t worked out as much lately is because I associated it with pain and stress. I’ll take your advice and start with lower level exercises and build up from there, and I’ll also make sure to switch around my mindset so that I’m enjoying the exercises.

  17. This sounds like a program that I could try. I am definitely a pleasure seeking organism. I will stick with a any weight loss program, as long as it’s easy and I see a quick response, which is difficult to find, if it’s even out there. I can think of every reason in the book to not exercise, and just like this article says, I associate working out and exercise with pain. If I don’t feel pain at the time I’m working out, I know I’m going to feel pain the next day. I like the suggestions in this article about working out once a week and starting with low impact. I mean, I can work out once a week! I am a true believer that once you put your mind to something, you can do it. Starting out small seems like the best way to go. And who knows, maybe I’ll even like it!

  18. This is a great advice, I think that starting with low effort exercising and progressing along the way can really help your muscles if you haven’t been working out a lot. I personally have started exercising from no minutes at all to 10 minutes daily and progressed to the point I started being able to exercise 60 minutes daily. It really does work but it’s a bit challenging and the mindset plays a big role in it.

  19. “WE ASSOCIATE WORKING OUT AND EXERCISE WITH PAIN”

    I firmly believe that if you do not enjoy what you are doing to lose weight, you probably won’t lose weight. Let me explain. I was overweight my entire life, and like so many others I wondered what the best option to effectively burn fat was. I decided to run with cardio (no pun intended). Hated it, lost 5 to 10 lbs that I eventually gained back. Then a friend of mine introduced me to weight lifting, immediately I fell in love with pumping iron. It burned fat AND kept my muscles from being burned off, not to mention I really enjoyed it. Studies now show that lifting weights is pretty much as effective as cardio for burning fat, try it! You’ll never know, it might click for you like it did for me.

  20. Losing weight is just as difficult as gaining weight. I’m confident in stating so since I, myself, am very keen on what I consume. I am quite the skinny type. And one thing for sure, whatever I munch on just ends up in the toilet. I do have a pretty much unhealthy lifestyle though. I don’t have a stable interval in between my meals. I wake up at a usual time of 11 in the morning and have my breakfast atround 12 nn, while lunch comes at 3-4 pm. It makes a drastic change in my weight, considering I didn’t have this kind of lifestyle years ago and I was of normal weight. I’ve gone down a lot and I’m sadly underweight at present. I think meal times do greatly affect us.

  21. This article is spot on! I never realized how impatient I am. It definitely has affected how well I stick to my weight loss plan. I have tried to start off easy but I realize now it was the wrong easy.( at least for me that is.) I started off easy by choosing 15- 30 minute intervals but I think the intensity made me waiver. This article gives me the idea that it isn’t just the amount of time but also how hard the routine is. Although I would spend only 15 minutes, the reps were so hard that often the intensity would literally make me cry. This common sense approach to weight loss is very refreshing!

  22. I really needed to hear this! I have struggled with the roller coaster of weight loss for the past 15 years. I never associated the “mindset” pleasure-pain principle connection you speak of. I just assumed if I bought the right exercise video, exercise machine, or had a fridge full of the right foods then the weight would just have to come off! However, since we are a society of “instant gratification” when the weight does not drop immediately off we have a tendency to throw in the towel. I have given the number on the scale the a power to ruin my entire day. Reading this post really helped me identify my own negative mindset around weight loss and my invisible barriers I had set up which basically sabotaged my progress.

  23. This is a good idea. I’m too heavy and have too much pain in my knees to do much in the way of aerobic exercise, so I wonder if this would work the same way with something like yoga. I recently started incorporating one pose into my day several times a day, which has definitely helped my back. Perhaps I could do an entire sequence two or three times one day per week and see if I start to feel like I could do that two days a week and so on.

  24. I wonder if this technique of starting small would work with yoga/tai chi? I can’t do much that causes stress on my knees, but I started doing one yoga pose daily several times a day, and I can feel my body becoming more flexible. Perhaps I could take one day to do a sequence of poses and see how that goes to start.

  25. Getting into the habit of exercising was my goal for the summer, that along with losing weight. I’ve been watching YouTube workout videos like there’s no tomorrow, and sweating through tons of clothing, to no avail. I don’t feel healthier, and I definitely don’t like working out any more than I used to, I might even say I like the idea even less. Not only did everything in this article make sense, but I completely relate to all the side effects of pushing too hard, too fast, and too suddenly. I’m definitely more informed now and at least after reading this, I know I don’t really have to exercise again until a few days time. My sore, aching muscles and worried chiropractor will be relieved.