They say you are what you eat. Some who have combatted weight problems and won would be more likely to tell you that you are what you think.
At the beginning of March, I shared Rebecca Berger’s story with you – how she had spent much of her life overweight and struggling to take it off; how she eventually made a mental shift that allowed her to lose weight, restore her health, and remain trim and fit. This week, we delve deeper into what goes on in Rebecca’s head that helps her be the person she spent so many years longing to be.
First, Rebecca has completely reframed the way she thinks about eating and exercise. She used to think of healthy eating as dieting. She used to think of exercise as a chore. Now, she thinks of the entire eat/exercise package as a journey. Each time she eats or works out it’s a footstep along that journey. In Rebecca’s words, “Inches add up to feet. Feet add up to miles. Every good thing you do is an inch in the right direction. Don’t let one bad thing derail you. So, you made a mistake and ate something you shouldn’t. So what? Get over it and move on.”
Part of Rebecca’s mental process is about staying focused, motivated, and positive. She says that she loves the quotes of Muhammad Ali for this. She has posters of him in her office. Some of her favorites are:
- “The only limitations one has are the ones they place on themselves.”
- “I’m going to show you how great I am.”
- “Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision.”
- “Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”
- “It’s lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believed in myself.”
To get more into her head I asked Rebecca the following questions…
- What is the first thing you think of when you get out of bed in the morning?
First, I give thanks. When each foot hits the floor I say, “Thank you God… for this day. Please help me to do your will.” As I pack my lunch I think of the choices I will make for the day and think about improving over the day before.
- How do you picture yourself, mentally? Like you are now? Slimmer? Heavier?
I see myself as I am or slimmer – usually at my goal weight.
- What do you think when you see yourself in the mirror?
I am much less critical of myself now than I use to be, when I look in the mirror. I look for improvements in weight loss and muscle definition. I must admit I think I look older now.
- How is your thinking different now than it was two or three years ago?
I think about things in a much more positive way. I would get down on myself for every poor choice. Now, I realize that it’s a lifelong journey and if I want something I plan and I account for it. Plus, all things in moderation.
- What is/are your major motivator(s)?
I have sayings and signs everywhere. But if you’re asking – what is my WHY – it’s my kids and family. I want to be the parent they deserve. My mom had knee problems that limited her from many activities as we were growing up, I don’t want my health and fitness to do the same. Plus, the thought that if I continued to gain weight and not manage my health I would have risked being here for them – and that brings me to tears.
- Are you a happier person than you used to be?
ABSOLUTELY YES! I have a much more positive outlook on life. I have energy and I have confidence that I did not have before. I often thought of things in life as a HAVE to, instead now it’s a GET to. When you lack the energy to make it through the day so many things seem like have to do instead of getting to do.
- What frustrates you? How do you work through it?
I occasionally get frustrated because I have slowed down on the weight loss, but then I think even if I never lost another pound I would still be a happy person. I also still work with my [Herbalife] coach.
- What do you want more than anything else in life?
I really think I have found a passion with for fitness and exercise. I would love to open my own nutrition club. But again I think it is my kids and what I said in 5.
Is it possible that what goes on in our heads is what truly shapes the bodies we walk around in? Rebecca Berger has reframed how she thinks about eating and exercise to transform her physical being. Maybe, when it’s all said and done, when we are fighting the battle of the bulge, the real battle we are fighting is a mental one. Maybe, before we change what we eat and how we work out, what we really need to do is change the way we think about all of it. What do you think?