Affirmations and Other Brainwashing Techniques

Affirmation: noun: the assertion that something exists or is true.

That is the actual definition of affirmation, according to the dictionary.  My definition of an affirmation is quite different (and probably a whole lot more negative).  I consider it brainwashing…brainwashing myself, of course.  Now, I do not mean to attach such a negative connotation to the word affirmation (because it is intended as a positive influence), but the fact remains that I view it in just that way.

As my body is changing, my life is changing, my mind is changing.  The problem is these changes are not happening in linear kind of way.  My body is changing much faster than the rest…especially my mind.  I have talked before about the importance of getting the mindset in order, but I find I still struggle with mine.  Not because I want junk food.  Not because I think I cannot accomplish my goals.  My mind is having a hard time with the “I am not fat anymore” concept.

I have talked about my disconnect many times, and I have talked about it with my therapist (and my trainer).  They both came back with the theory/idea of affirmations.  I must “brainwash” myself into believing what I do not believe right now.

I am athletic.
I am fit.
I am thin.

Those (in my opinion) seem like straight up lies.  Lies.  I am being encouraged to lie to myself.  I thought that was a bad thing.  My therapist always says, “Fake it ’til you make it!”  That, in essence, means these affirmations will not be lies forever.  Eventually, after I tell myself these things for so long, they will become truths.  I will be athletic.  I will be fit.  I will be thin.

The point is getting your mindset to a place in which it starts to *believe* these affirmations.  Then your life will follow.  If I am athletic (and my mind believes it) I will do athletic things.  If I am fit (and my mind believes it) I will do things that will show off or enhance my fitness level.  You get the idea…

My biggest obstacle is (and always has been) this crazy mind of mine.  I associate athleticism with organized sports.  I will never play organized sports.  So, my association is that I will never be an athlete.

The purpose of my affirmation (I am athletic) is to break down my previous conception of what athletic means and associate my new lifestyle with it.  I workout four to five days every week.  I have pretty good endurance at this point (I think).  If anyone else fit that criteria, I would probably consider them to be athletic…but I cannot seem to do that for myself.  Interesting…

Another “brainwashing” technique that I have been encouraged to trying is studying myself.  Looking at pictures of me before I started this journey and looking at myself now.  I am to comparatively look at my entire body…look at it critically.  Study how rolls *used* to look and how they look now.  If I can convince (brainwash) myself into seeing those physical changes, my disconnect should be lesser (or completely go away).  That is the theory anyway.

I do not really intend to be so resistent, but I just have a hard time thinking I will ever love myself again (and I probably should not even use the word “again” in that sentence).  This line of thinking is, obviously, not doing me any justice, though.  I *must* get myself out of that funk…and quickly.  The only purpose all that negative self-talk serves is to sabotage my progress (and possibly create a detrimental relapse into morbid obesity).

..and so, here I go…forward facing into the phase of my life in which I lie regularly to myself in hopes of convincing myself I am athletic.  I am fit.  I am thin.  I love myself.

Do you have a positive or negative outlook on affirmations?  Do you use affirmations (either verbal or pictorial) or “brainwashing” techniques on your journey?  If so, what are your most-used affirmations (if you do not mind sharing)?

-Erica

8 responses to “Affirmations and Other Brainwashing Techniques

  1. I am grateful
    I am good enough
    I am bliss!

  2. I never think of myself as “athletic.” Somehow to me that means skilled in sports or somehow having talent with physical activity. I suspect others might however consider me athletic in that I exercise 7 days a week, when not injured. I’d probably comfortably call myself “fit” but I struggle even with that when I walk up the stairs in my house and get winded!

    • Karen,
      I (obviously) share your perception of athleticism. I, too, always thought of an athlete as someone who plays sports (and is very good at said activity). My therapist and trainer; however, believe athleticism does not necessarily require skill at a specific sport. I must be honest, though, the idea of *me* being “athletic” has an interesting ring to it. I like the way it sounds…I’m athletic. I just have to get to a place in which I actually *believe* it. 🙂

      -Erica

  3. I’ve tried affirmations, but they never worked for me. But every now and then, if I’m feeling down or low (usually due to a setback or slip up), I’ll tell myself that I am worth it or that I am deserving of good health and a life free from a daily battle with my weight. Reminding myself that I’m worth the effort helps reset my mind to a more positive place, but I don’t do all the “think it to be it” type of affirmations. It just doesn’t work for me.

    • I completely understand, Tammy. See, maybe this is part of my difficulty, though…as much as I know I am doing this for *me* – I focus on my efforts in the way they will affect my children. Me being thinner and healthier will do a number of things for them:
      1 – give them a positive role model (leading by example) for taking care of oneself, making it a priority, and reinforcing the importance of physical activity
      2 – decrease the likelihood they will become obese as adults (which would break my heart, really)
      3 – increase the amount of physical activities we can participate in (especially during the hotter summer months) like hiking, canoeing, camping, biking, skating, etc.
      4 – increase the amount of time I will be alive and healthy enough to spend quality time with them (and their children…in 20+ years, of course)
      5 – decrease the possibility that they will have to wait on me hand and foot in my elderly years (because I will be healthier and more agile…which equals independence in those later years)

      There, of course, are more positive things about my journey that will affect them. I know all of these things will also benefit me, but I do tend to focus more on them than myself. Is that weird? So, my affirmation (in this sense) would be “my daughters are worth it” instead of “I am worth it.”

      -Erica

  4. I, too, try the “I am thin affirmation” though many times I tend to forget about it 🙂
    I do keep believing, though, that I am healthy; and that I am successful. The successful part can be a bit hard sometimes to believe.

    • Colline,
      I would have to agree about the difficulty in assessing success. To really instill that affirmation, I would think you would need a pretty specific set of criteria that designates success (in your definition). Because success is so relative, what I consider success you may not and vice versa.

      The interesting thing about my health is that my doctor never harped on me about my health even at 315 pounds. My blood work was always perfect, which I found odd. I was never had high blood pressure or cholesterol issues. My sugar was always low, too. Looking solely at my labs, you would think I was in picture perfect shape. Of course, I am not stupid, I know that I could not have possibly expected my labs to remain that great over an extended period of time. Eventually it would have caught up with me. I’m just glad I am changing my life *before* all those things slapped me in the face! 😉

      -Erica

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