Diets DON’T work – Here’s why!

Most therapists will know nowadays – the mention of DIETS sends a shiver down the spine of anyone trying to lose weight. Some marketers insist that it’s because it has the word ‘DIE‘ within it. Maybe? But what’s more likely it is that the mere notion of a diet creates an image of abstinence racing through our minds. Going without this, going without that….. ‘Going without‘.

diets

When introduced in the context of nutrition, ‘going without’ implies starvation. The mind thinks starvation, the body then begins its self-preservation routine of ‘storage’ to help you survive for as long as humanly possible… a bit like a hibernation.

So diets invariably make the body think that the person is starving, and the longer they pursue the diet, the more they end up bingeing. The person’s weight may drop satisfactorily but it is not in conjunction with the optimum mindset for successful weight maintenance.

Once the person hits their perceived ‘ideal’ weight, they often give up the diets and their body instantly realises that it’s no longer going without, it begins to fight back and sees the person return to their old pattern of overeating… and here we have the ‘YO YO’ effect.

We’ve all heard tell the stories that the majority of people lose weight temporarily and then they immediately put it back on – sometimes even more than they had before. I’ve encountered statistics showing that figure to be well over 70%.

The diet industry is as colossal as ever, even though they must know the truth, they still pump out their latest money-making schemes. So, why do people still keep starting diets?

Role-models and the Media

Diets are still promoted beyond belief. I bet off the top of your head you can name at least 3 different diets, some of you may be able to name many. And often at the head of a diet is some celebrity who is being paid millions of dollars to endorse the campaign.

The rich and famous have often been role models because people want to be successful like them; they want to copy their achievements or sometimes just want their own 15 minutes of stardom.

These overweight celebrities (some of whom nowadays only have to post one viral movie on the internet before they’re considered famous) are offered this money, to have someone representative from a particular diet scheme follow them around for months, meticulously directing their nutrition and exercise and sometimes even mindset. This makes the celebrity miraculously ‘drop the weight’ in a matter of weeks (they always mention weeks because ‘just 8 weeks’ sounds shorter than ‘2 whole months’) and able to talk about their painful story of being overweight and all the pain attached to the situation.

Who wouldn’t be able to lose weight if you had a dedicated team monitoring every part of your daily life and meticulously sorting your food for you? Let’s not go into the diet clubs who have (very well paid) doctors endorse their products shall we.

I have often though that diet clubs that only address nutrition, although meaning well, simply aren’t in the weight loss industry. The bonus of a weight loss club for many is simply that it gathers together like-minded dieters who can support each other on their journey towards success.

The participants lose weight, they plateau and then start to gain weight again as their body adjusts to starvation mode and creates binge eating. This is when the diet industry peddles their ‘chemically enhanced nutrition’ products….  you know the ‘wonder-foods’… the miracle weight loss products.

diets, diet, pills,

Those participants who are now in a fragile state, blaming themselves for their fall from weight loss fall for the snake oil approach and become artificial food junkies.

But let’s just say that a particular struggling dieter chooses to go on with their diet, in the face of pending failure. They’re resilient – I’ll give them that – but …  why?

Is it because they feel guilty, do they feel guilty for allowing their weight to reach the extent that it has? Do they think the yo-yo-ing weight is their fault and so they need to continue to punish and restrict themselves in the name of progress?

Is guilt what started them dieting in the first place? Maybe, so how do they feel on top of that initial guilt, when their diet begins to fail too? They are then hit with extra emotional pressure and begin to spiral downwards towards anxiety and depression.

All because they simply didn’t understand that a few swift changes to their thoughts, their beliefs, their MINDSET… can make such profound changes to their physicality.

Food should be enjoyed alongside the benefit of it helping us to survive, but for whatever reason… an imbalance of the person’s personal needs… emotional pressure… internal thoughts… external influences… they’re struggling.

But instead it’s seen as the enemy and systematically eliminated from our nutrition in order to lose weight.

diets, weigh loss, lose weight,

So what happens inside your body?

Okay, in simple terms, you restrict your food intake. Your mind is already thinking starvation; this sends the signal to your body to prepare for the worst, to start storing up fat reserves for the hibernation.

So the starvation commences and you begin to lose weight. Reports often say that the wrong kind of weight drops off first, whether you’re losing weight through water-loss and dehydration or your body is losing muscle mass and not fat itself studies are still arguing over the process – either way your metabolism slows down.

So when your weight loss begins to slow down, you feel guilty, your brain reaches for ‘naughty’ food to make you feel better cakes, buns, sweets etc. and the fat from these high sugared foods hits a slow metabolism and simply doesn’t process in the way it should. Fat storage develops again.

This makes the dieter worry even more; they begin to go off track or give up on that particular diet and try another one. They reinforce that food is the enemy. They begin to worry about every bit of food they eat, they become stressed and anxious. They obsess over food; it’s always on their minds.

MINDSET

diets, weigh loss, lose weight, solution, mindset

This is where it all begins; this is where the solution lies. Not starvation, not magic pills… but a relaxed, enjoyable mindset in which food can be enjoyed and then forgotten about until you feel hungry once again. But how is that possible?

It’s possible by simply allowing yourself to become more in tune with your body’s internal signals at the same time as learning to calm your mind from disturbing emotional baggage and learning to love yourself, raise your self-esteem and let go of the guilt attachments.

Let’s compare. One side – diets – has you restricting food, counting calories, feeling bad, monitoring weight, bingeing, failing, getting fatter, feeling worse, turning to chemicals or giving up. The other side – mindset – promotes self-love, getting back in touch with true body signals, enjoying food and feeling great – oh and did I mention while still losing weight?

Losing weight a more positive mindset means that you CAN get hungry, you can respond by eating properly and consciously and stopping when you’re no longer hungry.

You’ll begin to realise that your pathway to a slimmer, healthier body can be an enjoyable journey that not only releases you from your food prison, it opens up your whole life to new adventures by releasing all the worry about food.

When starting a weight management journey – look to your mindset first.

Mindset coaching and other modalities which help spring-clean the negatives away and supercharge your motivation are nowadays being proven to be the best solutions for maintaining a healthy mind and body.

Sensible nutrition, some form of exercise every day and a positive mindset are the ultimate combination to success.

Achieve your goals: Guaranteed! *

Impossible goalsGoals. We all have goals – some long-term, some temporary. Whether it’s getting a promotion, putting up a business, losing weight, exercising regularly, or quitting smoking, achieving our goals takes time and effort.

Most of the time, there is no easy way.  Your first few weeks spent chasing or months of hard work may seem enjoyable, as time goes by, tolerable, and then after even more effort you may come to a point of leaving behind those goals, delaying them or totally quitting.

So how do you stay committed to your goal?

How do you hard-wire your mind and body towards reaching your short or long-term goals? Below are some great ideas to try.

It all starts with the right mindset.

Before you start taking action, it is very important that you develop a proper mindset. How do you do this? Simple – by determining why you are pursuing that goal in the first place.

How important is it to you? And how will it improve your life? If you cannot find any compelling answer, there’s a big chance that you won’t stick to your goals when the going gets tough.

You don’t want to spend too much time and effort on something that is really not valuable to you, aren’t you?

Stay inspired.

Surround yourself with people who share the same interest or goals with you. Better still; interact with those who have already achieved the goal like yours.

They can share a lot of insights and wisdom, and help keep you inspired and motivated all through the way. Listen to their stories of success and failure, and you will learn valuable lessons from these people. The more time you spend with them, the more you become like them.

Create a good habit.

Realising your goals starts by creating a habit.

For instance, if you want to lose some weight, start by making a habit of doing some form of exercise every day, drinking water before taking your meal or having a fruit for dessert. These may all seem like small and insignificant habits but they usually have a big impact.

Plan the journey.

Every goal needs careful planning and timeline to be achieved. You wouldn’t travel to some unknown place without looking at a map, would you?

It is not enough that you know what your goals are and why they are important. In order to make them a reality, you must come up with a plan on how to get there.

A step-by-step strategy of all the small strides, and then the larger leaps should all be planned. Your plan should be SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-framed.

Good health is vital.

While they may seem like too busy to have time for such things, successful people share common healthy practices.

These often include: eating healthy, getting up early, exercising and getting enough sleep. Incorporating these habits make you a healthier and mentally stronger person, which in turn, make you more capable of reaching your goals.

Commit yourself completely.

Don’t just tell yourself that you might do this. Tell yourself that you will definitely do this. No, I’ll go one further – Tell yourself you ARE doing this. Committing your mind 100% to it is one of the key steps to achieving your goals – whatever they are.

Keep track of your progress.

Keep a record of all the steps you’ve taken along the journey to your goal, so far. It is important to track your progress so you would know if you’re still doing it SMART-ly.

Keep the positive spirit.

There will be times when it won’t be as easy, when it won’t be as comfortable, for sure. If you think solely of negative things, you are headed to fail. But if you think of positive things, you’ll be bound for success.
* If you follow these steps.

Let me know if this helps, and please share it with others.

Richard Scott
SNHS Dip.CH, SNHS Adv Dip.CH.Psy, PHPA, ICHM, NHSTA

10 Realistic Pursuits to achieve.

We all have different dreams and aspirations in life. These things are what keeps us motivated to keep moving forward, even though we know it’s going to be difficult. Maybe you dream of putting up your own restaurant, travelling the world, buying a beautiful house, becoming a superstar or a popular athlete, taking a master’s degree in Harvard, etc.

No matter how big your dreams are, a big part of you says you will achieve them someday. But apart from these, there are other things that we should also put in our “dream list”. These are things that regardless of who you are, where you are now, and what you want to become – are essential to your success and happiness.

Whie getting them could be a challenge, they’re definitely worth the undertaking.

Love

On top of our list is love. That big house you’re dreaming of will not bring you much happiness unless it is shared with someone you can be with for the rest of your life.

While to love is to be vulnerable, it is one of the magical things that you could ever have in your life.

Good Health

Without good health, it is impossible to reach your dreams. Poor health is one major obstacle that can prevent you from attaining your goals.

Not only is it expensive, but not being in good health saps you of the energy and enthusiasm to keep moving. It affects your perspective and discourages you from pursuing your dreams. Health is wealth. It’s true. And we should treasure it like we treasure everything else that matters to us.

Sleep

Few people realise how important sleep is to their health, well-being and happiness. As you sleep, a lot of magical, good things happen within your body. Your organs, including your cells go through strenuous repair, thus, slashing your risk of illnesses and making you feel rejuvenated. A good amount of sleep each night is good for your body and soul.

Happiness

Your money in the bank will not give you happiness. It could give you pleasure, but only for a short whilst. This does not mean you have to stop working and earning money and trying to be rich.

What it means is that you should not think that early possessions are what gives us happiness. Happiness is not a destination. It is a journey. We wouldn’t find it from other people (not even from our partners).

We find it within ourselves – in the innermost part of us. Allow yourself to be happy. Live in the moment. Enjoy the ride. Happiness is just around the corner.

Kindness

In this cruel world, it is often hard to be kind. But compassion has been scientifically shown to increase happiness and satisfaction in life.

Being kind doesn’t mean you have to allow others to take you for granted, do someone else’s work, or give up everything you have to help those in need.

Being kind is more of being just, showing respect, and giving others some consideration. Be kind to yourself as well. You can’t be fully compassionate towards other people if you don’t love yourself.

Friendships

Friends will not only help you achieve your dreams, they can also make the journey easy and fun. Good friends are treasure you should not take for granted, but take good care of.

Fill your life with people who inspire you to become a better version of yourself, who always push you forward, and never leave you through the tough times.

Forgiveness

Another thing that is worth pursuing is forgiveness. Whether it’s directed to someone else or to yourself, forgiveness marks the start of healing. You don’t want to move forward with your life carrying a heavy burden of resentments, painful feelings and grudges. Let go of them. They don’t make your journey easy, rather tormenting.

Rest and Relaxation

Workaholic? It’s time to slow down a little. You are not a machine. You are a human being who feels tired from time to time. It is just right to give yourself rest and relaxation, every single day.

You can do anything but not everything. When you allow yourself to be lazy on a Sunday, give yourself a 30-minute to an hour of digital detox every day, or practise some calming medication exercise, you will realise that life can be so, so much better!

Meaningful Career

If you spend eight hours or more of your day in a job that does not feed your emotional, creative and intellectual needs, you should consider pursuing something else.

A meaningful career is one that feeds your passion and gives you a sense of pride in what you do. Of course, you will get tired and burned out from time to time. But at the end of the day, you still are thankful because you are able to pursue what you are passionate about.

Gratitude

Gratitude is one of the biggest gifts you can give to yourself right now.  Be thankful for everything – even the smallest accomplishments and positive experiences you’ve had. Gratitude is not only good for your health, it also puts you in the right perspective when times get rough.

Let me know your thoughts and have a great day.

Richard Scott
Clinical hypnotherapist