I see people stuck in the weight loss trap all the time. Losing and gaining the same 10 lbs. Often gaining a little bit extra in interest. People usually call a diet successful if they manage to lose any weight at all. For me, a diet has to pass the ‘How are they now?’ Test.
Whenever someone tells me that Juice Plus works because their friend lost 12lbs on it, I wait a few month and ask ‘How are they now?’ Usually they are on a new diet.
These are some of the things people tell themselves when trying to lose weight (I used to be guilty of these, too). If only they knew there was a much easier way in my Diet Escape weight loss group. Here they are:
1. From now on, I’m only going to eat healthy food
This is the sheer Will Power technique. Ignoring the fact you’ve ate at least one piece of chocolate/bag of crisps/something else you see as bad, almost everyday for the past 10 years, you think that this statement of intent is enough to rewire your brain and give you the Will Power to abstain.
Unfortunately, there is only so long you can use Will Power. In psychology, we call it ego depletion. Ego depletion refers to the idea that self-control or willpower draw upon a limited pool of mental resources that can be used up. When the energy for mental activity is low, self-control is impaired.
Like a muscle, you can only use it for so long. You’ll begin to rationalize eating rubbish while you make your original idea sound totally irrational; ‘What’s the point of living life if I can’t eat chocolate? A little bit won’t kill me. Why would I only want to eat healthy food?’ And back to your old ways you go. It’ll be at least another week before you tell yourself that lie again.
2. I’ll make up for it later at the gym.
You decide to eat twice as much ice cream because you’ve started going to the gym/exercise class. This is called moral licensing. You see some food as bad, and some activities as good. Hopefully they’ll balance out. It’s the equivalent of swilling your mouth with Coca Cola because you’ve just ‘been good’ and brushed your teeth.
You shouldn’t see food as bad and you shouldn’t see exercise as good. Neither have any morale explicitness. You should exercise because it makes you feel good, it should have no impact on any other choices you make.
3. I’m going to exercise every single day.
So you want to go from having no time or energy to exercise to having the same routine as an Olympic athlete. Well done. The only problem with this is that the standard you’ve asked of yourself is so high that it’ll be almost impossible in the real world. Your brain will be very resistant to the idea meaning your more likely to completely regress to zero and you’ll feel like a failure for missing a single day.
Instead, try the minimal effective amount. If that means going to the gym twice a week on the 2 days you have the most free time, start with that. Make it short to so your brain isn’t resistant. 2 20 mintute sessions, then work up from there.
4. I’ll just have one.
If you’re having a mental battle with yourself over a food your craving, just stop. How do you do that? Either have it or don’t have it, then go and do something productive. When you’re sitting on the defense debating it, the battle never ends.
Think of the it like this: Inside your head is you (the logical thinker) and the Chimp (the emotional thinker). You are receiving signals that something is out of balance and you need nutrients. The chimp feels anxious and wants you to eat something. It doesn’t know that chocolate is bad, it’s a chimp, it just says eat. You see the food that you know you logically shouldn’t have, but the chimp doesn’t understand, so you have a conflict that will never be resolved until you make a firm decision and get out of the situation.
5. Next time will be different.
The biggest lie of the diet trap. No matter how many times you fail on a diet, you believe the next one will be different. Could it just be that all diets are fundamentally flawed?
Every single one imposes some sort of restriction – whether that be to the food you can eat, the times you can eat or the amount you can eat – that make impossible to sustain for long in the real world.
Do yourself a favor and quit the diets. I, of course, can help you out with a method that involves no diet at all with my online group programme Diet Escape. Sign up for the FREE challenge below: