IF you’ve ever been on a diet and felt trapped in a cycle of doing well and then ruining it again and again, then you’re not alone! I speak to clients all the time who say they’ve “failed” at every diet they’ve tried, sometimes for as long as 40 or 50 years. It’s heart-breaking when someone has been trapped inside this cycle of feelings for so long.
A compulsion to diet is not a natural part of us but something which stems from dissatisfaction with our own bodies; an initial feeling of negativity spurs us on to want to change.
The problem is that trying to combat feelings of negativity by going on the diet cycle usually adds to the problem because it’s so easy to stumble when dieting – perhaps because we’re so obsessed with the food we’re trying to give up or because we’re expecting the numbers to change on the scales at a quicker, unhealthy rate.
Many studies have concluded that restraining eating often results in overeating and I covered the reasons behind this in last week’s blog – but what this causes is a constant diet cycle of failure. The way the diet cycle works means that unless you’re very strong-willed, you’re set up to fail from the start.
What I’ve always done is encourage people who want to lose weight to try to find the cause of overeating and then tackle it so that their mind is better on track to reach the goal of who they want to be.
The body will always be set up so that hormones make you feel more hungry when you don’t eat enough; we can’t change this – what we can change is the way we approach losing weight. If dieting isn’t the answer then where do you start?
In this case, of course, I would advocate mind-over-matter; let your unconscious do the work, retune your mind to get it away from thinking about food, work towards creating good habits, not dwelling on and feeling negative about bad ones.
Positive goals are important, too – think about the person you want to be, who you want to see looking back at you in the mirror. This is always a more positive thing to focus on than the numbers on the scales because in truth it’s the person in the mirror, not the numbers on the scales, which is most important to us.
I hope this advice helps you to break away from the diet cycle that’s doomed to fail in the long term.