Question: What do all the most popular diets have in common?
Answer: They are only meant to last a short amount of time.
Think back to all of the times you have tried to lose weight over the years. Specifically, the times where you said ‘I can’t eat that, I’m on a diet right now.’ If you’re anything like me, chances are you’ve tried quite a few. How long do you think these diets last on average? For me I’d struggle to argue that they lasted longer than 7 days. Many only lasted a few days as they were so extreme.
I must have lost 3-5 lbs in a week hundreds of times. I’d lose the weight, stop the diet for a few weeks then lose another 3-5 lbs. The problem was it was the same 3-5 lbs each time because I’d put it back on in between.
I now understand the truth about why I (and many of you) continually do this. It’s because we see losing weight as a painful experience. If you’ve got the one or many of the following beliefs in your head, you’re going to find it very hard to ever lose weight for good:
- Being healthy is boring
- Exercising is a chore
- I need to be able to cook many beautiful looking meals
- I can’t go for meals when I’m losing weight
- Eating healthy means I can’t have any of my favourite foods
- Going on a holiday/to a party/having a birthday will be when I ‘fail’ on my diet
- I’d rather be fat than have to eat healthy food all of the time
- Life is horrible when losing weight
If you have any of these thoughts then it’s obvious why you want to lose weight fast. You want to live like that for as short a time as possible. It’s like ripping off the bandage fast, the pain is more intense but the duration is a lot lower. Well, as psychologist Dan Ariely explains in this video, it turns out that this is the wrong way to do it. You should take the bandages off SLOWLY. It’s better to prolong the lower pain than have a sharp short pain. That explains why we tend to favour short programs, but now I want to explain why there’s a way to remove the pain entirely.
It’s all in your head
The thoughts that I went through above are what I call ‘Limiting Beliefs’, and the thing about them is that none of them are necessarily true. The best way to lose weight (and the only way that’s actually enjoyable) is to remove these limiting beliefs. Let me help you do that:
Being healthy is boring – When you’re healthy you have more energy and confidence to do EVERYTHING. When you have optimal health you have the opportunity to bring as much excitement into your life as you’d like.
Exercising is a chore – Yes, some form of exercise can be a bore (stationary bike I’m looking at you). You only think this if you haven’t found something you love. Find a class, a group or an activity that you get excited about and watch how fast the time goes by. Think of what you liked to do as a kid or anything that would make your heart sing to be able to do regularly. For me it’s competitive sports or anything in a group.
I need to be able to cook many beautiful looking meals – I’m sorry Instagram foodies, nobody’s food looks like that. Listen, you don’t need a new recipe book, you don’t need exotic ingredients, you don’t need your food to look like a work of are. You just need to understand the fundamentals of what make you healthy and enable weight loss, which I explain in this free course. Simply get a small repertoire of healthy meals and snacks (a couple for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks) and cook them regularly. Add a new one every few weeks or so if you want to learn more.
I can’t go for meals when I’m losing weight – That might be true if you are on a specific diet that only allows certain foods or a certain amount of calories, but not when you lose weight with my methods. In fact I encourage going out for meals as it feeds your mind and soul as well as your stomach.
Eating healthy meals means I can’t have any of my favourite foods – First of all, you can eat whatever you want when you commit to losing weight SLOWLY. The problem usually is that, when you’ve been on a diet, you usually overeat your favourite foods (pizza, chocolate, crisps etc.) as you feel you have been depriving yourself. The key is to realise you can still have them and to intentionally make a decision as to when and how much you will have. If you fancy a Pizza, don’t waste your Will Power fighting it, eventually you will eat some pizza. Instead say ‘I’d like some pizza tonight, I’m going to get a pizza made with quality ingredients and I’m going to have what I deem a sensible amount.’ There are other things you can do to limit the impact of these types of treats which I go through with my coaching clients.
Going on a holiday/to a party/having a birthday will be when I ‘fail’ on my diet – Once again, this is temporary thinking. There is no need to behave any differently on holiday or anywhere else when you commit to long term success. Of course your habits will change when you go on holiday, but they are only destructive when you feel you’ve been depriving yourself on a diet. If you haven’t been on a diet, you love feeling healthy and you know exercise provides you with more energy to enjoy yourself, you’ll still stay on track on your goals.
I’d rather be fat than have to eat healthy food all of the time – This is just not true. I know human nature and I know we’d prefer to feel healthy and look aesthetically pleasing. If you’ve ever thought this I know it’s just out of desperation. Know that there is a much, much easier way and I will help you get there if you ask.
Life is horrible when losing weight – Hopefully by now you have started to realise life will be better in every way if you live in a vibrant, healthy body and you feel confident about how you look. Don’t accept those limiting beliefs. They may comfort you when you feel bad about failing to lose weight, but they are actually holding you captive. Remove the shackles and step away from the beliefs.
If you got this far, I know you felt a personal touch from some of this. If you haven’t already, try my free 7 Day Habit Challenge to start losing weight today, or click here to tell me about yourself and get a coaching call.