The diet frenzy is in full swing during this time of year. As we focus on being able to get into our tank tops, shorts, and swimsuits…we forget this simple truth:
Diets don’t work! Somehow we forgot that the last time we lost those 10 pounds (only to gain them back).
I know. I’ve been there. Now I’ve discovered how to do it differently. I read that 95 to 98 percent of dieters regain the weight they lost. Does this ring true for you?
Do you have at least 2-3 different sizes of clothes in your closet: the “skinny” ones and the “fat” ones (and maybe a size in between)?
Repeatedly Unsuccessful Dieters
Repeatedly unsuccessful dieters usually get stuck in dysfunctional thoughts about food that lead to over-eating. Self-sabotaging thoughts lead to self-sabotaging behavior.
You know how to “go on a diet.” You know how to make the calorie reduction equation work…temporarily. Who really sticks to that eating and workout plan permanently?
The diet mentality itself is TEMPORARY and sets you up to fail in the long run.
Why? Diets deal only with our physical body: calories in, calories out. The real success or failure in keeping the weight off is not in your body, or in which diet plan you choose…it’s in your HEAD.
You are what you THINK vs. You are what you Eat
What you THINK actually leads to what you eat. At some point into a “diet,” you are tempted to eat something that’s not on the plan… tempted because of what you THINK:
- It’s OK for me to eat this because…
- I deserve it because…
- This one thing won’t matter.
- I’m sad and need to cheer myself up.
- I’m stressed and need to calm down.
- I need a reward because…
- It’s a special occasion – time to celebrate!
- It’s not fair that others can eat whatever they want.
- What’s the point? I’ve only lost a couple pounds anyway.
Research now shows that getting a handle on your thoughts is what really helps people lose weight and keep it off. Focus only on nutritional and behavioral aspects produces relatively little weight loss and dieters almost always gain weight back. The cognitive component has been the missing piece: You are what you Think!
A Few Do-It-Yourself Cognitive Tools
Getting a handle on thoughts – this is a key way I help people make all kinds of long-term changes and now it applies to maintaining your ideal weight too. Here are a few tips:
- Vision Your Success. Create a Vision Board (or close your eyes and visualize) showing you at your ideal weight. Be creative so it also depicts how you FEEL at your ideal weight: how much you love yourself and love your body and love your life.
- Prepare for the temptations. Create a set of index cards with messages that will support and redirect you when you have challenging moments. Write things like:
- This craving will pass. The best thing I can do right now is stay out of the kitchen and focus my attention on something else.
- Enjoying my body at its ideal weight is WAY more important to me than eating this tempting food right now.
- I’m so proud of myself for all my progress! Every good choice I make makes me look and feel better and better.
- I can be the thin me I want to be…OR I can eat whatever I want. I can’t have it both ways. I get to choose.
- Make a list of all the reasons you want to lose weight. When you think you wrote them all, then add at least 3 more. Post this list in your kitchen. Read it out loud at least twice a day. This may seem silly or unnecessary…I challenge you to “Just Do It!” and see for yourself what a difference it makes.
- You’ve got to stop eating and thinking unconsciously. This can be the hardest part to do on your own as the drive to stay unconscious is usually deeply programmed in unsuccessful dieters. Every time you are tempted to go off the plan, STOP in your tracks, stand up tall, and snap your fingers loudly. What are you thinking right now that led to the temptation? Write it down. Then use the other tools above to make a conscious and positive choice.