How often do you catch yourself daydreaming about strolling the beach in a teeny bikini, purely confident in the way you look? You’re no longer stressing about a jiggle here or a pooch there—you finally feel fabulous in your body. What a fantasy, eh? Let’s be real, simply imagining your way to a BikiniBOD won’t necessarily make it happen. Or will it?
Just as our muscles get stronger and more defined when we train in the gym, the part of the brain associated with focus, happiness and feelings of well-being become stronger and more manageable when we train the mind through meditation and intentional thought. Combining the two practices can help you engage the mind and body to more effectively meet your fitness goals. Teaching your brain to zero in on specific techniques and triggers can ultimately allow you to complete control your physique, cravings, metabolism, and much more. Train your body and your mind equally with the following tips that will help you to achieve ultimate Bikini Beauty status.
Mindfulness helps us recognize our true feelings towards a subject, whether it be feeling tired before your body is truly ready to be done with a run, or believing that executing five more jump squats is absolutely impossible. More often than not, our thoughts don’t necessarily reflect the reality of a situation, and being able to dig deep and move past a temporary mental block allows you to achieve what you’re really capable of. Self-doubt has no place in your workout, so be present in the moment to focus on your form in a slow and precise manner, ultimately improving your overall results.
The hour of concentrated activity you dedicate yourself to every day is obviously exercise, but what about the other stuff? While you may not consider carrying grocery bags up your stairs, vacuuming your living room, or rearranging your closet to be heart-pumping activity, perceiving any and all kinds of movement as a kind of workout can actually have a real effect on your overall weight loss. When you give more attention to an everyday action, you engage more muscles and exert more effort than usual, resulting in a series of mini exercises throughout the day.
Healthy eating habits determine nearly 80% of your weight loss success. Luckily, you know that a nutritious diet doesn’t mean zero flavor, and focusing on the way you experience a meal in its entirety can help further your fitness goals. Over-indulging can happen, but instead of writing it off as a simple cheat, remember why you felt compelled to stray from your good food plan if it actually satiated you, and how you felt both during and afterward. A cinnamon bun might seem harmless at the moment, but comparing the way it made you feel sluggish to the way your roasted chicken and apple salad gave you energy while hitting your sweet spot could inspire better decisions later on. Keep those good feelings going!
On the flip side of the previous point, imagining that everything you consume is a treat can actually help boost your metabolism, burning calories incurred by the actual nutritious foods at a faster rate. Research suggests that when we eat something that we believe to be low in calories, our metabolism slows down because we don’t consider it to be a threat to our diet. When we believe we’re indulging, our metabolism speeds up. Therefore, convincing yourself that your protein smoothie is actually a decadent milkshake will help your body utilize the calories in the smoothie much more quickly. The tricky side of slimming down!
Talking to yourself in public can potentially elicit stares, confused looks, and mothers ushering their children in the opposite direction. However, if it means losing those extra few inches and tightening up your figure, we don’t think you’ll have a problem being a little “unique.” Verbalizing positive affirmations (for the record, you can keep them silent if you like) can significantly improve your endurance, total effort put forth, and willingness to exceed goals, meaning telling yourself, “You can do it!” will actually yield a noticeable result. Ignoring perceived struggles and instead encouraging yourself to give it all you’ve got can make all the difference, and can help overcome an exercise obstacle or progress plateau. Maybe that unachievable personal record is all in your head, and maybe your ability to triumph over it is all in there, too.
The physical effort you put into your body is going to provide you with the confidence you strive for, but ignoring your mind’s powerful role in the process will complicate your journey to that point. Determining how you want your workout to go, what you are capable of achieving during the workout, and how you eat to keep the look-good-feel-great cycle going are all controlled by your focus on those subjects. Choosing to believe that you can do something will translate into actually doing it, and doing it pretty darn well. Harness your ability to think your way to a better body, and watch those fantasies become a reality.