Wednesday, September 19, 2007


In context with my post this morning here is an article I wrote as a preview to a talk I did on health and fitness, I hope you'll find it interesting AND maybe even helpful.

A healthy lifestyle – the mind/body connection

By its very definition the word lifestyle in the statement “A healthy lifestyle” indicates that we are talking about far more than a 10 week diet and running around the block for the same time frame.

The very notion that we can – kinda, sorta, eat properly and do some exercise for the short term, is based in the word, a word that should, in my view be banished from dictionaries, DIET.

Diet always implies that there is an end in view. We all know what I’m talking about. The 28 day grapefruit diet. The 4 week south beach diet. Lose 150lbs eating only rice cakes in 10 days diet and so on.

We also know instinctively at the very least that, you cannot get to where you want to be, physically, and then go straight back to sleeping late and eating cheese cake.

So what is the solution, and how does the mind come into this?

We need to change our identity. There are two types of people who are overweight. People who simply habitually overeat at meal times and people who are comfort eaters. Since the second group is by far the majority I’m going to talk about them. Habitual overeaters simply need to understand how to eat properly. Simple to fix, not easy, but simple.

Comfort eaters however is a different group altogether.

The majority of people that come to me for help are very overweight. The first question I ask is “how did you get to look like you do”. Then begins a psychological discourse in which lies the answer to getting lean, healthy and fit, for life.

Mentally, physically and sexually abusive, parents, partners, children, friends and so on, or certain instances, and timelines are by and large the trigger for overeating on a regular basis.

At the time the incidents were occurring, eating large amount of pleasurable food i.e. ice creams, potato chips, pies, pastries etc, were responsible for soothing a traumatized emotional state. This done habitually leads to “bingeing” preceding or following a difficult situation.

After some considerable time the individual is seriously overweight, with a self image problem of varying degrees.

Now, I’m a great believer in the statement….Things in my past are responsible for the way I have become..But only I can be responsible for the way I’m going to be.

A courageous attitude, certainly, but it doesn’t happen overnight. It all starts with a thought and remember that “everything starts with a thought” and I mean everything.

How often have we said “I think I’ll go down to Durban for the weekend” or “I think I’m going to shop for new clothes on Saturday?” See what I mean.

So…although it takes time, a process of conscious/subconscious mind changing through affirmations and a firm commitment to a future healthy lifestyle through goal setting, is all that is needed to get you on the right track, forever. The Will to want to is obviously critical, but I don’t know any fat person who wants to remain where they are and get progressively bigger as time goes by, do you?

I start my clients with a simple affirmation “I AM AN ATHLETE “and I insist they repeat it to themselves many times a day and whilst exercising. It seems silly at first and they are normally embarrassed to repeat it out loud, but the miracle starts happening when, through repetition they start believing it. They start walking with more purpose, up straighter, and with more confidence. This has the knock on effect of making them want to train harder and so they progress until they reach their original goals and it’s time to set new ones.

I’ve seen this happen countless time and although this article touches the surface of my personal methodologies, used with love, kindness and caring, since I’m not a qualified psychologist, my heart soars when I see a client, now a friend, walk into the future with head held high, a strong respect for themselves, and a definite belief that “ They are athletes”

Dougal Macdonald
Success coach


Anonymous said...

hello, i found your blog through adam waters's blog. great info. i wanted to add a quote i have in my office at work.
"if you want to unleash the winner within, you must first believe you can. A big driver of this belief is what you tell yourself. Tell yourself you can and you will."

dougal said...

Hi Suzette, great to have you visit, thank you. Please come back often..all the best with your own "journey", with thinking like that how can you feel. Yup it all starts in the head. Great affirmations

dougal said...

Sorry Suzette..that's supposed to be "how can you fail"

Tam said...

Hi Mr Macdonald,

I just want to tell you, you are so motivating and we all cannot wait to go to gym. I have my goals written down and ready for action... ;)

See ya later....

Kyle said...


dougal said...

You go guys, you're right you ARE athletes, great going guys, you all inspire me.