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Ah, the never-ending battle to stay or get in shape. Atkins, low-cal, vegetarian, South Beach, low-fat, and dozens of others all claim to work. Exercise more. Cut out junk food. Weight Watchers. Jenny Craig.

The weight loss industry is a $20 billion market. Yet, obesity is at an all-time high. Is it because of the food we eat or a more sedentary lifestyle? Probably a combination of both. For some, keeping the weight off is easy, as infuriating that may be for the rest of us. For others, every calorie seems to go right to the hips or tummy. Staying healthy in a "processed foods" dominated culture ain't easy.

How about a mental diet? Feed your brain!

Just as bad food and stagnation are detrimental to your physical well-being, negative thoughts and energy and mental laziness bring down your mental state too.

Here are some “mental diet” tips to get your brain and spirit into shape.

  • Cut Out The Junk. Get the negative thoughts out of your head. Jealousy, fear, failure, disappointment, and criticism are all negative energies weighing you down. When you catch yourself feeling any of these or other “junk” thoughts, ditch them by looking for more positives. They are there!
  • Say “No” To “Woe.” Nothing brings you down quicker than focusing on the bad. Instead of dwelling on the negative, look for remedies to life's daily challenges. Instead of “Woe is me” change it to “Whoa, what solutions can be?”
  • Let It Slide. Nobody is perfect. You're going to have moments of doubt and coming up short. That's OK. Don't dwell on failures - learn from them.
  • Never Go Hungry. Pull yourself away from the TV – Netflix will be there later. Read a book or magazine, do a crossword or Sudoku puzzle. Spend some time in thought. Take a class to learn a new skill. Feed your brain!
  • Spice It Up. Do something adventurous. Skydive, white water raft, talk to strangers, go on a date. Choose to add excitement to your life. It will stimulate the brain.
  • Quality Not Quantity. Maybe you don't have the time or the resources to spend a month in Bali, but little day trips or a few hours at a concert or craft show will rejuvenate your energy.
  • Celebrate Your Success. Just like you can have some ice cream as a reward for dropping a few pounds, give yourself a reward for sticking to your mental diet. Treat yourself to a new outfit or that cool fishing reel you've had your eye on when you feel proud of what you're accomplishing.

What are some of your mental diet tips? We'd love to hear them!

Live on Fire!
Luke Iorio, CPC, PCC, ELI-MP
President & CEO
Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC)