Functional Imagery Training with Helen Pearce
Helen is a Functional Imagery Training (FIT) practitioner and weight loss coach who discovered FIT a couple of years ago and has been helping women to achieve lifestyle changes using this effective technique. FIT is a technique that supports behaviour change using mental imagery.
Coming from two decades of research showing that mental imagery is more strongly emotionally charged than other types of thought, FIT gives people a powerful tool to strengthen and sustain motivation to reach goals they value: weight loss, increased physical activity, or better sleep for example, which in turn leads to confidence and increased self-esteem. Women often experience weight gain, lethargy, or low mood around the perimenopause and the menopause which can lead to a negative cycle of poor choices, comfort eating and misery!
Living through the pandemic and associated lockdowns with all the extra stresses it has brought has also made healthy living harder for some. FIT uses mental imagery blended with motivational interviewing (a type of empathetic counselling/coaching) to help clients identify the health and fitness challenges they face now and how they would like to feel in the future. FIT is about mindset change, not a diet technique. It teaches people to imagine in a detailed way what it feels like and looks like to achieve their ideal selves and how that will benefit their health, and also benefit the people closest to them. FIT enables people to imagine in detail the steps they have chosen to reach their ideal selves.
Helen’s 3 take-home tips:
- Don’t see change in a negative way. We tend to focus on the things we have to give up when thinking about changes we need to make to lose weight, get fitter, have a more balanced sleep, work, or play routine. But if we can look more at the positive benefits to come out of changes to our lifestyle and plan manageable steps that don’t feel like we are denying ourselves everything we enjoy, the changes will be positive and enjoyable.
- Weight gain, along with symptoms of the perimenopause and menopause such as poor sleep, brain fog, or lethargy often leave women feeling depressed and self-critical. We can sometimes feel we have little control over the changes and beat ourselves up over what we may perceive as ‘letting ourselves go’. Don’t beat yourself up, acknowledge that it can be a difficult time and it is not a weakness of character or an inevitable slippery slope. Talk to someone, a friend, an expert, a FIT practitioner or coach. You are not alone!
- Prioritise yourself. In the words of RuPaul, ‘if you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you going to love someone else!’ We are used to putting family and others first and sometimes forget (or just don’t consider) our own needs. Try to put some time into your day when you just focus on yourself, take a walk, read a book, listen to music, but above all take a moment to ask yourself, ‘am I looking after myself? What do I need? How do I feel and how do I want to feel?’ After all, no one else can look after you as well as you can look after you.