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Changing Your Thoughts Can Change Your Life

May 25, 2008
This interview is an excerpt from Kevin Gianni's The Healthiest Year of Your Life, which can be found at http://thehealthiestyearofyour life.com. In this excerpt, Jim Katsoulis, shares on what changed his life and how changing your thoughts can change your life.

The Healthiest Year of Your Life with Jim Katsoulis, a certified yoga instructor, Master Hypnotist and Master MLP Practioner who's helping others bring the excitement back into their lives.

Kevin: Let's get right into it. Jim, I want to thank you so much for being on this call. This is definitely going to be extremely exciting. Why don't you first start off by telling us how you got here?

Jim: I'm glad to be here, I'm glad to be able to share this information because it's been the most exciting thing in my life and I'll talk a little bit about this, but my life has gone 180 degrees in a different direction than I had anticipated it. And a lot of it's through the information I was exposed to which has really made a complete difference in my level of health and my body. Basically, long story short my name is Katsoulis. It's Greek and if you've ever seen "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" then you understand the relationship with food that is taught to the Greek people. They didn't call it "My Thin Healthy Greek Wedding". So there was all this conditioning until I left home and went to school and it really set me up for life to have a lifetime of weight issues and health issues and it wasn't until I got exposed to yoga, neural linguistic programming and hypnosis that I was really able to make really internal changes in my thinking, my understanding of health and what felt really good that I was able to completely shift my body. I dropped 50 pounds and I haven't been plus or minus 5 lbs in over 13 years. I got so excited by it. I focused on weight, because other than money in this culture, there's really almost nothing else that will really change the quality of someone's life like changing their body. It just makes you feel so much better so that even when you have stressful times or bad things happening they're never quite as bad when you feel really good about yourself and your body. So I've spent the last seven years focusing on weight loss and how to help people change their bodies by changing their minds. So I started off as in a private practice with a hypnosis practice and I got moving on from that point after I got some success with that, to teaching programs. So that's what I spend most of my time doing now, my main program, being Program Yourself Thin.

Kevin: Now, you said you were 50 lbs heavier than you are now. Give us an idea of how you felt then and how you feel now.

Jim: Sure. That's a great question. It's interesting, because it becomes pervasive. This is what's really important to understand. We get used to things, what I call the psychological theory of relativity. So you get used to a low level of energy. I remember before I began doing yoga and I started doing yoga around 20. I began getting interested in it, because I would try and cross my legs. My girlfriend at the time could sit cross-legged. I never even thought about doing that. So I tried doing it. I couldn't even cross my legs. There was no flexibility. It had nothing to do with age. It had to do with how my body was. So there was no flexibility, there was very little energy. I was feeling bad about myself and that becomes all encompassing in a sense because most of your thoughts get filtered through that. You see certain clothes that are not going to look right. So you start to cut yourself off from real simple natural easy pleasures. I'm not talking about a vain sense, I'm talking about when you feel like you're living up to your potential there's always this negativity, this guilt, this shame that goes along with it. It's not a vanity thing but it's just you know you're not doing what you're supposed to be doing, you know you're not doing the things that make you feel really genuinely good. So now, looking forward past the years, there's been plenty of times when I've gone through the whole emotional range of feeling horrible and crappy and mad, I failed at things and all the rest of it but I've always been able to look at my health and my weight and no matter how bad I can feel good about that. It becomes this anchor for me to keep my life at a higher level. So it's increased the entire quality of my life and it keeps it there. Again, I've gone through all the life experiences, good and bad, and when it's healthier it just seems more optimistic and things seem more hopeful.

Kevin: I noticed you're talking about the value of past success. How does that play into someone's mission, someone who wants to lose weight or someone who wants to reach out to help?

Jim: It's important. One of the things, neural linguistic programming is built on the idea of modeling. It's the idea that this is, basically. This is the number one way that people learn in general. It's kind of that monkey see, monkey do type thing. You don't learn everything in life by going to classrooms where you get taught specifically. You learn by watching what people do, how they talk, how they eat, how they exercise, how they think about exercising, how they think about food, how they talk about those things. So as you begin to have some successes in your life, in one area, you can draw upon those and you can bring that success into other areas of your life. It just makes it easier for the simple reason that you start to believe that you can do it. You start to believe that you can change. The thing is everyone's had some experience in their life where they've changed something, where they're succeeded or made a difference somewhere. The important thing to do is to go into that and remember that feeling of being able to change and bring it into other areas of your life when you want to. When it comes to health it's so important because we are surrounded by a lot of negative messages coming at us. So we need to intentionally program our mind so that we begin living in a world of positive messages. That's the kind of idea. So you draw upon your successes and you use them intentionally to get the results that you want.

Kevin: I saw a video that you produced on youtube, I did a lot of research, and we've talked before. It kind of mentioned exactly what you were talking about. There's a whole video about a red pepper and focusing. Can you just explain that? I think that's a great example to kind of --

Jim: Specifically that's called RAS, reticular activation system. Now, this is an unconscious process that we all have. Most people experience it with their cars. Whatever car you drive, whenever you're driving around town or anywhere, you just start to notice that car. Now, it's not because you're intentionally looking for it, it's because that's what's your world, that's what's important to you and so you automatically begin to notice it. I was joking with my wife, we were driving down the highway one time, 70 mph and on the other side of the road. She's like, "Solara! Solara!" It happens on a level that a lot of times we don't pay attention to. Technically it literally creates our world. The world's too big for us to notice everything so we notice what's important to us. Sometimes -- I can give you -- this is the difference - growing up, in the community I was in, I would see people that were older and they were all overweight. I would hear the message because growing up, I wasn't overweight and I would hear the message wait until you get older, wait until you get older. I would look around and see people that were older, overweight, struggling with their health and I would say, "Well, okay. That's the truth then." And you stop questioning it. So it becomes your reality. So when I got to 20 and I started putting all the weight on it wasn't a surprise, it was what was supposed to happen. This became my reality and it wasn't until I realized there were other realities, that I was able to make a change.

You start to realize that you're creating a self-sabotaging set-up for yourself, system for yourself. So you need to go into your beliefs and begin to shift those and the weight starts to come off automatically and your behaviors begin to shift as well.

Kevin: What kind of percentage of people do you have limiting beliefs like that? In the back of their head they're saying: this isn't going to work, like the last one.

Jim: Honestly, I think almost anyone who's dieting in the traditional sense has those limiting beliefs. When we talk - the hypnotists always talk about the conscious and unconscious mind. In the unconscious mind words are just sounds and we give meanings to them and the meaning for diet a lot of time is a temporary one. Well, I'm going to eat this way for a while. I'm going to eat this way until the weight comes off. People a lot of times, literally - this is the part where I want to put out some optimism and some hope. When you get to understanding your mind in a practical way you can program the success in, very, very easily. Let me give you an example of how your mind works. This goes into the language of how people talk a lot of times. The unconscious mind, does not understand negatives. What I mean by that is if I tell you right now, get all your willpower together and don't think about what I'm going to say. Get ready. I'm going to say it. Don't think about a yellow banana. Don't think about a yellow banana. What happens? I was saying don't think about it, but you instantly think about it. The unconscious mind does not understand negatives. So what do you hear people saying all the time?

Okay, I'm going to go on a diet that's it. No more chocolate cake! No more ice cream! No more chips! So they unintentionally focus themselves on the things that they want to avoid and it becomes this self-torture. There's a big difference and this is just a linguistic thing, where you start saying, I'm going to eat salads and fruit. It's going to give me the body I want and I'm going to start to feel healthy, I'm going to have more energy. The language becomes very specific. As opposed to being: I got to get my lazy butt off the couch. That language puts very specific ideas in your mind that have effects on you. It's very important to speak very, very specifically.

With dieting the presupposition before people even begin is that it's going to be a struggle, it's going to be hard and it's not going to last probably. That's how they're starting off. Anytime you want to create some change you don't want to start off feeling that way. You want to start off feeling really motivated and excited about it.
About the Author
To read the rest of this transcript as well as access The Healthiest Year of Life experts just like Jim Katsoulis please click here! Kevin Gianni is an internationally recognized health advocate, author & film consultant. He has helped thousands of people take control of their own health naturally. For more information visit raw food diets and holistic nutrition.
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