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‘.


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.


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.

Talking rewires your brain

Psychotherapy, talking, therapyTalking as a therapy?

Those of you who have read, or follow, my blog may have guessed by now that I marvel at the results of hypnosis and frequently use it on my clients, however  Psychotherapy, known as talking therapy, is also an effective treatment for clinical depression and many other mental health issues.

For some clients who have heard negative portrayals about hypnosis (usually from the press) they choose to follow a psychotherapeutic approach to rehabilitation.

Contrary to popular belief, talk therapy is also a great tool for everyday individuals who are seeking to improve the quality of their life, overcome unwanted habits, and deal with stress effectively.

Below are some of the ways talk therapy can change our life.

You realise that you are not alone.

A lot of times, especially during difficult moments, we can’t help but feel alone. We may find it difficult to tell someone, especially a friend or family member, about what we are going through.

In this case, talking to a professional therapist is a great option. Psychotherapy has been shown to alter activity in the brain involving the regions that regulate executive control, fear, and self-referential thoughts or the ‘me-centred’ worry thoughts.

Even the physical symptoms are healed.

Stress, anxiety, phobia and many other mental health problems come with physical symptoms too. Psychological trauma can trigger physical symptoms, which can be mild or debilitating. Going to therapy can help those symptoms go away.

When our negative emotions are not expressed properly, our body reacts, and we start experiencing unexplained pains, fatigue feelings, sleep problems, and other forms of discomfort.

It’s a great venue to tackle problems.

It is hard to tackle an issue when you can’t even figure it out in the first place, particularly the reason why you are experiencing it in the first place.

Through talk therapy, a person becomes more aware of what is making them feel anxious, sad or angry. And consequently, learn how to manage these feelings or take action to alleviate the factors causing such.

It rewires your brain.

Many people rely on medications to curb mental health symptoms by altering the brain, but a large body of research suggests that talk therapy does the same. As mentioned earlier, psychotherapy alters the brain regions involved in emotional regulation, critical thinking, and self-referential thoughts.

It helps you deal with repressed emotions.

Some of us are haunted by unexpressed feelings and traumas and choose to repress, rather than confront them. It may seem counter-intuitive, but revisiting the events related to these unwanted feelings may be necessary in addressing the current mental health issues we have.

Learning how to deal with them is one of the great benefits of psychotherapy, which has a significant impact in improving the other areas of our life, from our work to our personal relationship.

It gives you a different perspective on other people.

Not only does therapy gives you a better understanding of yourself, it also clears and deepens your understanding of other people.

When we are caught up with negative thoughts and emotions, we find it easy to make negative assumptions about what other people think and how they behave that way. Without the mental clutter, it is a lot better to understand others.

The benefits of therapy last for longer.

The huge difference between psychotherapy and medication is that the benefits of the latter cease the moment you stop taking them. Psychotherapy, on the other hand, benefits the person even after the treatment is over.

As always, your thoughts and comments are most welcome.

Richard Scott

How to master your FEAR!

woman scream fear shadow

There are two strong forces in this world that create a huge impact on our life –  LOVE and FEAR.

They have conflicting effects on you. Love is the strong force that make you want to take risks, open yourself to the world, be vulnerable, get hurt, fail, get up, and try again.

Fear, on the other hand, is the force that pull us back from life, keeps us from moving forward, and makes us doubt ourselves more each day. Fear is a habit that brings us defeat, anxiety, despair and hopelessness.

But fear is something that is rooted within us. We don’t have to conceal it. We simply have to learn how to manage it. Mastering our fears is often a hard work and a very long journey.

But worry not, here are some tips that can make this journey truly worthwhile.

Realise that fear is only in our mind.

Fears are all in our mind. Like other negative emotions, fear can become dangerous only when we let it affect our behaviour. Therefore, we have the power to control it. The moment you start to feel afraid, don’t try to supress what you feel.

Acknowledge the fear, feel it and then analyze how likely your feared scenario is going to happen. What is the worst thing that could happen to you if you pursue it? Can it really happen? It is perfectly fine to feel scared. But it is not right to let our fear control us.

Focus more on the positives.

In every fearful thing that comes to your mind, think of one positive thing that happened to you on that day. Think of one thing you are grateful of, or one good deed you did. To downgrade the effects of fear, let your mind wander in positive thoughts and emotions. Imagine being at a beautiful place and allow yourself to feel comfortable feelings…

Congratulations, you’ve just experienced self-hypnosis.

Perhaps, consider making a gratitude journal. Every day, before you sleep, list down the three things you are most grateful of. This simple exercise can really make a big, big difference in your life.

Be vulnerable.

Seriously? We often think of being vulnerable as being fearful. But actually, one of the greatest features of courage is vulnerability. To master our fear, we have to allow ourselves to experience failure and criticism.

You don’t always have to be strong. You are a human being who is also capable of committing mistakes. Don’t be afraid to show to others your weaknesses. It is our weak points that make us more courageous.

Expose yourself to fear.

When it comes to fear, the only way out is through. Yes. One of the most effective ways to master fear is to face what we are afraid of. An overwhelming body of research tells us that the more we repeatedly expose ourselves to things we are fearful of, the lower our psychological fear response becomes.

It goes down further to the point that the fear gets manageable, and in some cases, gone. So the next time you are asked to speak in front of a big group, practice by making conversations with fewer people. The more you do a certain thing, the more you get better at it.

Manage stress.

Mastering fear is harder when you are stressed. Higher levels of stress contribute to feelings of anxiety and depression, which in turn strengthen your fears. There are many natural techniques to fight stress and among the best are self-hypnosis, yoga and physical exercise.

Keep challenging yourself.

Last but not the least, always set yourself up for challenge. Haven’t tried traveling alone?

To build a courageous character, your courageous self must be exercised more often. Courage is a habit that we can develop by repeatedly practicing acts of bravery.

You don’t have to engage in life-threatening adventures. Small risks will do, such as trying out a different menu, learning a new craft, or studying a different culture.

To be successful in life, one of the most important things we need to learn is how to master our fears. Being courageous can make a big difference in our life. Basically, there is nothing we can do if we are surrounded by fears.