Think Yourself Thin – Guided Imagery For Weight Loss

I work with many clients who have battled their weight for many years. They often feel like getting to their ideal weight is so far out of their reach that they struggle to maintain motivation. This is particularly true if they have never experienced a weight where they felt good about themselves. They can’t even imagine what that would be like. Of course it seems insurmountable! If you cannot picture yourself being there, it would seem so foreign. I think this is the same reason that people who lose a large amount of weight feel detached from their new bodies. They never connected to what their body would look like when they lost weight. They see a stranger looking back in the mirror. Researchers have performed hundreds of studies to determine the effectiveness over the last century and it is widely acknowledged that athletes endorse improved performance when using the imagery techniques. Why can’t they work for weight loss? Try this:

  • Sit in a comfortable place where you won’t be interrupted.
  • Relax your body and take several long, slow breaths.
  • Close your eyes and create a vivid and convincing image of the body at your ideal weight.
  • Think about how you would feel in that body. What would be different mentally or physically if you achieved your ideal weight?
  • Imagine the sights, sounds, tastes, feelings, and even smells of the experience.
  • Picture yourself incrementally accomplishing the steps it would take to get to your ultimate goal.
  • If you become distracted or find you are thinking about something else, simply acknowledge it and let it go.
  • Focus on your breathing if you lose the image.
  • Maintain a positive attitude.
  • Take note of as much detail of the scene as possible. What are you wearing, who is there, what are you hearing, how do you feel?
  • If your imagery session is not going the way you want it to, simply open your eyes and start over with your breathing.
  • Always end an imagery session with a positive image.
  • Set aside 5-10 minutes daily to visualize your success.

You have probably heard the saying, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have”, right? I think the same reasoning would apply here. Now, that is not to encourage you to engage in trash talking the body you do have in an effort to “motivate” yourself to lose weight. You can feel good about who you are in any body. Just because you learn to feel comfortable in your body doesn’t mean that you cannot seek to achieve change. By gaining body acceptance, and feeling confident in your ability to achieve your goals, you can be successful.

Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis has a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Weber State University and a Master's degree in Social Work from the University of Utah. She has been working in the mental health field since 2001.
Michelle Lewis

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2 Responses to Think Yourself Thin – Guided Imagery For Weight Loss

  1. Nadine December 6, 2012 at 6:02 pm #

    Nicely said, Michelle. I like your suggestions to troubleshoot when someone is new to this.

  2. mita December 14, 2012 at 6:03 pm #

    Nadine I know what you describe works from a couple of times I actually lost weight by imagining and feeling I am thin. But whenever some big stress issues come up I go on emotional eating and poor body image. My challenge is to consistently recognize the triggers, accept the situation and remembering to do the process releasing the current belief and accepting the new as if it has already happened in my body. Thanks for the reminder. I need to stop thinking something wrong or lacking in my body. Just ordered a bunch of herbal medicine.

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