A healthy diet, along with exercise are the first steps in getting to your goal weight, fitting into that special dress or whatever else. And while it may seem simple, eat right, exercise regularly, your brain may get between you and your fitness goals.

Weight loss doesn’t necessarily just happen by cutting calories and forcing a newfound devotion to Pilates and the treadmill. The willpower required to completely overhaul your lifestyle calls for some newfound brain tweaks.


“Your brain may get

between you and

your fitness goals.”


Understand That Getting in Shape is a Choice

The Key to Fitness: Using Your Brain to Get a Better Body

It’s hard to acknowledge when it’s time to make a change, but it’s even harder to transform your diet or exercise habits if you’re not fully committed to change. Now, you may need to redefine what it means to be in shape. If you’re just looking to hit the lowest number possible on the scale, think again. Health is much more than a number, and once you change your frame of mind, you’ll be able to change your lifestyle, which could transform your body in a dramatic way, or simply lead to better health—both physically and mentally.

To start things off, here’s a guide to healthy eating and more, from .

Understand Why You’re Overweight

The Key to Fitness: Using Your Brain to Get a Better Body

Understanding what lies beneath the current state of your body is essential in getting motivated to start the path toward weight loss. If it’s an underlying health condition, it’s best to talk to a doctor to address what needs to be done in order to get healthy and on the road to fitness.

If it’s something else, like chronic overeating, drinking when you’re stressed out or something else that’s psychological, you’ve got some work to do. It’s important to uncover why you’ve either neglected your health or simply have trouble staying on track.

Rethink the Definition of Punishment and RewardsThe Key to Fitness: Using Your Brain to Get a Better Body

Many people who start a workout plan or set out to change their diet operate on the belief system that working out is a punishment, and if they have been “good,” they get a cookie, a glass of wine, or let’s face it, free reign over a big bowl of pasta. You made it to the gym five days this week, after all. But, truly changing your habits means you’ll need to adopt a new mindset when it comes to exercise and diet.

Even if you’re not a big vegetable eater now, giving it a little time can pay off. It takes about two weeks to adjust to a new diet, greens and all — and after a while, you’ll probably start to enjoy all the things you can do with broccoli, kale and more. Same goes for working out. While hitting the gym may not be your idea of a good time, the more in shape you get, the more you’ll want to do things like go hiking, try outdoor activities like skiing, surfing or snowboarding or get into a new dance class. The punishment and reward-based mindset only perpetuates bad habits, instead of replacing them with new, healthy ones.

Set Reasonable Goals

The Key to Fitness: Using Your Brain to Get a Better Body

Employ some , aka CBT to help you set goals. CBT is based on the idea that a lot of what we feel – or accomplish—is based on what we think. Set specific, but achievable goals – i.e. “I will take a 30-minute walk each day” or “I will pack my lunch every day this week.” Ambitious goals like making it to Cross Fit every day and switching to a vegan or paleo diet overnight can set you up to fail.

Get Some Support
The Key to Fitness: Using Your Brain to Get a Better Body

While we like to pretend we can do everything on our own, the weight loss, or rather the journey to becoming healthy can be fraught with a number of obstacles from parties and cocktail nights, to impromptu desserts brought over by well-meaning friends. This study between a positive support system and its impact on body image—meaning as much as weight loss and health feel like personal goals, a supportive spouse or close friends is a really important piece of the puzzle.


“A positive support system,

supportive spouse or close

friends is a really important

piece of the puzzle.”


Let friends and family know about your plans to lose weight, or look toward other people in your circle who might be trying to get healthier themselves. Not only is finding support within your community key to staying on the wagon, but it’s also a great opportunity to use fitness as a social activity. Bring a friend to that new spin studio in your neighborhood, find a jogging buddy, you get the idea. Additionally, sharing your healthy food habits might inspire those close to you to eat healthy themselves.

The Key to Fitness: Using Your Brain to Get a Better Body

You just might find yourself with some new recipes on your hands, and potentially some new traditions like healthy potlucks, hiking groups and more.

About the Author
Yasmin Browne is a lifestyle and motivational coach helping people to get what they want in life whether it’s the dream job or the dream body.


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