Are you ready for some straight talking?
If you don’t get your attitude right then you’re going to struggle to get your body ‘right’ and find it even harder to keep it there.
We all know how easy it is to get excited about a new ‘going to get into shape THIS time’ attempt. The first two weeks are ‘easy’ but then it’s often downhill from then until you crash, burn and give up.
I could write an entire book on this subject to rival the size of War and Peace! I could deliver an entire weekend seminar on the affects of attitude – good and bad! But when you boil it down to the basics it simply comes down to the two key points below and deploying some winning attitude practices and habits:
This needs to be strong enough to see you through the times when you don’t want to train, when you’d rather eat pizza than salad and when you feel (temporarily) that you JUST DON’T CARE any more!
When it comes to deciding to get in shape and take control of your health and fitness there is no ‘wrong’ reason. But if your motivation is to look a certain way, or fit into a certain outfit, by a certain date like a holiday or wedding then your chances of maintaining your new look is slim (pun completely intended!) to almost non-existent!
Harsh, but true. Why? Because you’re goal has a definite end: your wedding, your friend’s wedding, your beach holiday etc. What are you going to do after that event has come and gone?
You have no idea; carry on, maybe? But you’ll ease off a bit; after all, you worked really hard to reach your goal so you deserve a few ‘treats’ here and there!
Time slips past unnoticed and before you know it you’re well on your way back to where you were before. I know this because that’s exactly the pattern I followed for YEARS.
Now don’t get me wrong, goals are GREAT and they work. But using that strategy alone is flawed because goals always have a start and finish point.
If we want to keep our bodies looking fabulous and our health and fitness in check, we simply cannot go back to doing all the things that made us fat and unhealthy in the first place. I’m sorry but it just doesn’t work that way.
If we want to make permanent physical change we must make permanent lifestyle changes.
Does that mean never EVER eating chocolate again? No cake?! Never again is pizza to grace your lips??!!!! No, if those things do it for you, they must simply become the exception rather than the norm.
So, please, take that on-a-diet-off-a-diet straight jacket off your brain and embrace the concept of forever lifestyle change!
I know it all sounds very easy: just swap out bad habits for good ones; move around a bit more and you’ll have the body of your dreams in no time! And if it WAS that easy we’d all be walking around looking like fitness models.
It took me 15 YEARS to get my head around the ‘lifestyle forever’ concept rather than my short-term skinny fix for the summer, back to fat, then skinny (skinny-fat at that; terrible!) for summer and so on.
I get it, forever is a l-o-n-g time! But wouldn’t you rather spend your forever feeling fit, strong, healthy and looking fabulous?
No? Really?! Well then here’s your alternative:
Stay fat and unhappy. Remain a major stroke and/or heart attack candidate and put yourself at increased your risk of developing 10 of the common cancers that have been linked to being overweight or obese  (I did say there’d be straight talking in this section).
Okay, enough of the tough stuff. Below are the tips, tricks and techniques that I used, and still do, to keep my attitude on track and in check.
(One more thing: those little voices that whisper ‘sweet chocolate’ in your ear and make you doubt your ability to succeed…they never go away! The good news, however, is this: over time you get better and better at ignoring them!)
SO, in no particular order here’s what works for me; I’m confident they’ll work for you too.
If you’re feeling the way I was in April 2009 – absolutely wretched – then you’re going to need to get your fight back! I had to decide how badly I wanted to change. Did I REALLY want to whip my body into shape or not? Was I going to keep ‘crying’ about it or get on and DO something about it?
There are lots of ‘get your fight and belief back’ videos on YouTube (isn’t it hard to imagine there was ever a time without YT!) but the one below really ‘did it’ for me. I converted it into MP3 format, transferred it onto my phone and iPod and listened to it, OFTEN.
I know you’re thinking, “FORGET THAT!!! The last thing I want is a record of how terrible I look!” but this is one of THE best pieces of advice I have for you.
I’ve taken starting, during and after photos for every challenge I’ve done.
When I was training for competition, my coach required photos of me every week, even though she saw me in person every Friday!
Body by Vi challengers are required to take starting photos and make them public.
Guess who the successful people are? THE ONES WHO TAKE PHOTOS and use them to drive them forward.
Is it nice looking at your starting pictures? No, but that’s the POINT! When you want to give up, look at those pictures. When you want to slam an entire cake (a big one for six people) into your mouth, look at your pictures. When you don’t feel like working up a sweat and making your body tired, LOOK AT YOUR PICTURES!
If you don’t do the things you need to do to change then you’re going to stay where you are. But remember, those starting pictures are the worst you’ll look – from the moment you start, your pictures will just get better and better.
Now this one will either appeal to you or not, and you’ll either have the technical ability to do it or not (assuming you want to use a computer that is. You could just use good ol’ fashioned pictures from a magazine; real photographs printed on paper, some scissors and glue – there’s a novel idea!!), but here’s what to do:
If you think this is a bit weird and creepy then don’t do it, but it is a REALLY powerful technique that works. Sometimes we need to see things with our eyes before we begin to internalise them – seeing is believing, as the saying goes!
That’s a bit tricky when it comes to changing your body, you have to see it improve as you go. Using this technique you can ‘try your new body on for size’. It makes it easier to believe you CAN achieve what you want, which makes everything just a little bit easier to do.
Here’s the visualisation picture I created for myself towards the end of 2009.
Using your starting photos to push you away from where you are is a negative reinforcement technique and an approach that doesn’t work for everyone.
Using a visualisation picture to drive you forward to where you want to be is a positive reinforcement technique.
Both work equally well for me: negative to remind me where I DON’T want to be, followed by positive to affirm where I’m GOING to be.
When I was training for the South African World Beauty, Fashion and Fitness (WBFF) show in 2013 I put together a collage of images of the, now, three times world champion Fitness Diva model Andrea Brazier.
Before being set back due to tearing the ligaments in my left ankle during training, Fitness Diva Model was the category I was going to compete in – if you’re aiming to go up against the best in the world then you need to think like them, eat like them and do what they do to look like they do!
I love music. I tend to have earphones plugged into my ears for most of the day; what I’m doing at any particular time will determine what I listen to.
When I don’t feel like training (yes, I do have times like that. Not very often, but I do have them) the right music can get me completely in the mood within minutes.
When I’m not feeling my most sparky and bubbly there is definitely music I should avoid – if it’s a bit melancholy (such as The xx album Coexist – a great album) then it has the potential to really drag my mood right down.
There are certain genres of music that can make you feel STRONG and almost invincible! There are songs that can put you on top of the world and there are songs that can dump you into the pits of doom and gloom.
Here’s my suggestion to you: put together a playlist of songs that will put you in the right mood and keep you there. Put a playlist of songs together that will get you really fired you up.
Even better than just listening to some great music: if you’re somewhere where you can dance around a bit – and I mean the way you did when you were a teenager in your bedroom – then it can work wonders!
Turn the volume up, press play, engage in a bit of crazy not-taking-yourself-at-all-seriously shufflin’ and see if you don’t feel a bit brighter after!
It’s so daft you can’t help but smile; it’s quite energetic, so your heart will be working just a little harder, and I guarantee the sudden rush of endorphins, along with a dash of seratonin, adrenaline and dopamine, will very quickly kick that bad mood/attitude into touch.
So there you have it: a bit of ‘tough love’ and some tips and tricks to help keep you in the right frame of mind to maximise your chances of success. All you have to do is decide whether you’re up for the challenge, take action and DO IT!
 Body-mass index and risk of 22 specific cancers: a population-based cohort study of 5·24 million UK adults, The Lancet Medical Journal