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June 1, 2012

Mind-Body 101: 6 Key Concepts

By Jillian Teta

Today I wanted to break down for you – in a hopefully simple way – some of the mental/emotional concepts of body change here at JillFit. Any type of change, most particularly body change, begins and ends in the mind. We can have the best information, the greatest nutritional plan uniquely tailored to us, the most positive and inspirational coach, yet if we don’t have our mental “ducks in a row”, what will those things be worth?

So, here are 6 key concepts to help you on your fat loss journey, and to guide you through the mental and emotional aspects of (body) change:

Control vs. Discipline:
We all know that will power and self-control are a limited commodity, right? We do so well at sticking to a plan for however long, and then that day happens, the day where we are tired or hungry or crabby and then we slip and have something that is right in front of us, and then we feel bad and have some more, then we are well on our way to a binge/falling of the wagon. Control is the epitome of the all-or-nothing, black and white mentality. Control is an illusion. Yup, I said that control is an illusion! Do you control the sun rising and setting? How about the rain? Do you control your heart rate, your lungs, the speed at which your muscles fire? Do the plants need your permission to grow? Can you control what other people do or think or say? No! The truth is, when we get into the nitty gritty of it, we have control over very little. Sure we have influence over things, but control? Ha! We can’t even control our thoughts as they drift through our minds :)

Discipline, however, is a totally different animal. Discipline is the conscious application of choice, over and over. Discipline is also far more abundant than self-control. When we are aligned with our goals, and living in a way that is ultimately sustainable, and we are making choices regarding food, training, relationships, stress and sleep, that is discipline. In this way, we live a life that will not lead to the loss of self control.

Self-Responsibility vs. Blaming Self:
Self-responsibility is not the same thing as assuming blame or shame. If you acknowledge an action, emotion, situation, relationship or anything that is something you want to work on or something that you are not happy with, that does not make you a bad person, nor does it mean you should be ashamed. Self-responsibility is you taking ownership and acknowledgement of the many facets – past and present – that make you up. It’s not a tool to beat yourself up. When we take self-responsibility, we can look for the lessons and solutions, which is infinitely more powerful and productive than beating ourselves up.

Acceptance vs. Defeat:
This is a subtle twist on number two. So many of us don’t want to “love ourselves just the way we are” because inside we are thinking about how we should be leaner or taller or more muscular or less muscular or smarter or more attractive or have more money. By accepting what is we can acknowledge where we are – maybe even throw ourselves a bone – and move forward. Acknowledging our weaknesses and flaws does not have to give us cause to beat ourselves up for them. Acceptance is not defeat or denial but a kind act towards ourselves. Acceptance of what is in this moment means that we are able to make different choices in the next moment. And as an interesting side note – try acceptance with your relationships and watch what happens.

Expectations vs. Goals:
This concept can be a hairy one! A goal is a specific, defined objective. An expectation is the mental attachment of how you think you want things to go. If you have a goal of doing a show and you want to win, and you step on stage and do the show and don’t win, and you feel bad about it, that negative emotion means you have fallen into your expectation. Even though you have obtained your goal of doing a show! Many times we have expectations for things that remain wildly outside of our control and we spend a lot of time in negativity when we can’t “have our way”. I propose a simple solution. Your goal should be this: do your best. Your expectation should be this: do your best. Otherwise we are asking to beat ourselves up.

Gratitude vs. Taking Things for Granted:
If we are not grateful for all that is in our lives, the layers and layers of abundance, then we are unintentionally taking them for granted. The sure way to know that you are taking something – yourself, another person, your situation – for granted is that you are complaining about it internally or out loud. Complaints are the opposite of “thank you”. And when we are in that complainy, negative state, we are blind to the many more things we should be grateful for. When you begin to notice or count or catalog the many things you have to be grateful for, the things to complain about seem small and insignificant.

The Power of Perspective:
I used to say that vegetables were the secret weapon we use at JillFit, but I’ve changed my mind. As Albus Dumbledore has said, even the best of us must eat our words. Our most powerful tool is our perspective. Perspective is how we view the world and everything in it, and ourselves. And the best news is that perspective is a choice. We get to decide how we relate to everything from our uncontrollable thoughts to our partners and friends to our bodies and the environment. In fact, you get to decide how you relate to everything. When your perspective is on the more negative side, you see more negativity. If we begin to turn things around to a more positive perspective by using gratitude instead of taking things for granted, doing our best, accepting what is and taking responsibility for ourselves, life starts to look more positive and kinder.

Related: 7 Insights on Happiness, Personal Freedom & Productivity

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