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Read a book, wake up thinner. Is it possible?

June 20, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
"Wake Up Skinny" is a book with a new approach to weight loss that starts in your head rather than on your plate.

"There's a zillion diet books out, 95 percent of them don't cover what we teach people," said the book's author, Mark Patrick.

Patrick isn't a diet doctor, but rather a behavior modification expert. He says he's seen success by getting people to change their negative self-talk messages to positive ones, which leads them to make real life changes.

"Tell yourself a lie loud enough and long enough, eventually you're going to start to believe it," Patrick said. "If you see yourself as unhealthy, you're going to attract unhealthy habits."

Susan Bowerman, assistant director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition, agrees with Patrick.

"One of the things we know about weight loss is that it is about not just what you eat but how you think about it, so this idea about mindful eating and all these things you can do on the behavioral side is very, very important," Bowerman said.

Patrick says that people who say they're fat, lazy, hate to exercise and can't give up sweets are defeating themselves.

The solution is to change the chatter by turning a negative self image into a positive one in order to gravitate towards the healthy things a person wants to attract.

Patrick says talk to yourself as if you've already achieved your goal because your subconscious operates in the present. So rather than say "I'm going to lose 10 pounds and be at my ideal weight," he suggests, "I'm healthy, thin and at my ideal weight."

"If you start telling yourself you're a healthy, fit, motivated person before you actually are one, what happens is you'll create that image and that snap shot," he said.

Patrick also says to attach the association of pleasure towards the result, like telling yourself you enjoy the benefits of exercise.

"I always say go at least 21 to 28 days when you want to create a new habit or behavior," Patrick says.

It takes about three weeks of reading, writing and hearing your mantra out loud to believe it.

"Telling yourself that you can do something, I mean we do this all the time with other areas of your life and why we don't do it with our food, I don't know," Bowerman said. "It's very, very helpful to do this self talk, that you are capable, you are worthy, you can make these changes, you have what it takes, you have the knowledge, and building those skills are just going to take a little bit of time."

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