IT’S that time of year again! Wall to wall diets and eating plans, shakes and pills, and of course then there’s the “behaviour change” programmes like Noom, which have made a big entrance in the past few years.
These are the ones that are supposed to focus on habit change rather than counting calories or dieting (but they’re really still all about food).
And there’s always the latest reinvention of WW and SW, isn’t there! All done to attract new people at this time of year!
So please, if there’s any temptation to go back to doing what you’ve always done, STOP! Don’t let diet head kick in – give yourself a cold shower!
Here’s the thing! Over the past decade I’ve noticed that people who have left the world of dieting and calorie counting behind STILL find themselves being lured into thinking the grass is greener elsewhere and get tempted by the marketing of all the shiny new stuff.
Yes, diet head kicks in and sadly some people fall into the trap. They become hypnotised and descend into that same old vicious cycle of dieting and then failing all over again.
Those looking for something “different” could even be fooled into thinking the popular, new so-called “behaviour change” systems will be the answer.
The programmes claim to be led by psychology and focus on habit change – and many people think they’re the same as my Slimpod programme.
So I thought I would do my very own fact-finding mission and I joined a self-styled behaviour change system in December (not Noom – I’ve done that before !) just to see what it was all about.
It’s important to me to know what’s out there so I can be well informed and help people understand the differences.
On the one I signed up for, you start with a five-day food “reset” in which you’re put on a very restrictive eating plan. It is suggested that you shouldn’t even drink coffee . I fell at this hurdle instantly.
The programme claims the five-day “reset” is all about starting “behaviour change.”
I thought I’d do what was asked for five days. After all, five days isn’t a ridiculously long period of time, is it?!
However I quickly found that restricting myself triggered all sorts of psychological things that I’d left behind many years ago.
I found myself getting “hangry” (hungry and angry) because I was having to restrict myself so much – like going without the lovely daily latte I love!
There’s a food plan that you have to follow for five days and then there’s recipes you need to stick to for the remainder of the time.
You have to weigh and measure certain foods before you consume them but basically it’s a very low carb diet and by this I mean most of the recipes contain zero carbs.
The problem with doing this is it’s not the way you instinctively eat every day. So over time it gets hard to sustain because it’s not your normal behaviour.
It’s very restrictive and what if you don’t like cauliflower rice? What do you do then?!
Now, please don’t get me wrong, this way of losing weight is absolutely fine if you’re someone who is happy with restrictions, weighing carbs and need someone/a book/a company to tell you what to eat and when to eat it.
If that helps you, and you feel that’s the only way you’ll succeed and be happy, then it’s the way to go – for sure. Success and happiness is what I’m all about and if following a plan/daily tracking/consciously focusing purely on low carb food works for you then absolutely do this.
BUT if you’re like me and you really just want to have a normal relationship with food, where you don’t have to rely on being told what to eat, where food isn’t on your mind the whole time and has no meanings and no emotional connections, then these other so called “behavioural change” systems really don’t go deep enough to solving the problem they say they solve.
They say they put a lot of focus on changing habits because it’s the key to long term success and that part is absolutely correct.
But here’s the thing. A habit is created when a new behaviour becomes automatic and we can do it with minimum conscious effort (ie without thinking!).
This happens when the behaviours have been repeated many times and they ingrain new neural pathways in your brain.
Think about cleaning your teeth. Or driving a car. You do these automatically without thinking too much about it. This is because you’ve done it over and over again and now it’s instinctive and part of your everyday life.
Your subconscious mind has taken over the activity and made it a habit. When your subconscious is in control, you’re not having to give it much conscious thought.
And this is the real difference between the Slimpod programme and everything else.
With the others, you have to put lots of effort into it and WORK at making the habit become automatic. This can take anything from 21 days to 250 days of consistent conscious effort and willpower.
And THIS is why so many people give up.
My Slimpod programme removes most of the conscious effort because it’s working with your subconscious to change your behaviour and what you WANT to eat, without you even thinking about it.
This follows the first and most important rule of lasting behaviour change, which is to make it easy. Nothing is easier than listening to the Slimpod before you go to sleep!
So unless you really stick to these so-called “behaviour change” systems for a long time, they do very little to change your subconscious behaviour around food and make it become automatic, which is how true behavioural change takes place.
And this is why most people have failed to make a success of dieting in the past, because they don’t have the willpower to stick to anything for longer than a month or so (research says around 80% of people don’t stick to New Year weight loss plans for more than four weeks).
So really these “new” systems are no different to anything else you’ve done that you’ve not been able to stick to because everything gets too hard.
True behaviour change happens when your healthy lifestyle habits become as automatic as cleaning your teeth.
When you instinctively know what’s good for you and you enjoy eating it instead of the stuff that’s not so good for you.
And above all where you TRUST yourself around food so you don’t need to rely on someone or a diet to TELL you what to eat.
This is why I created my programme over a decade ago. There was NOTHING for people who have had enough of the whole dieting/food plan thing and need a different way.
People who have yo-yo’d their way through life and just can’t face another food plan or prescribed way of eating.
I wanted to empower people who have had their self-esteem eroded by the diet fail diet fail cycle and they’ve given up trusting anyone or anything that says they have the solution to their problem.
So this time of year it really concerns me when I see the next reincarnation of something that’s been around for years, just looks different to appeal to the people who have already been there and done it.
On the Slimpod Channel on YouTube there’s a short video I’ve made explaining why Slimpod is so different. Here’s where you can watch it.
I get really sad that many people will put their trust in these “behaviour change” systems but will not experience change in the true sense of the word, ie when your subconscious takes control and you experience freedom from food obsession and dieting for the first time in as long as you can remember.
To get lasting weight loss, you need lasting behaviour change. This involves building lasting habits. You can do that the hard way…or the easy way.
Which one will you choose?!
Let me know what you think
Please leave a comment below if you’ve experienced one of the so-called behaviour change programmes. I love hearing from everyone.
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Join me for a live chat
Join me on my Facebook live chat on our main Slimpod for weight loss page tomorrow night (Tuesday January 4) at 8pm UK time. You’ll find me on #livechat39
I’ll be live in Slimpod Club with Brian Mayne, the creator of Goalmapping.com, on Thursday evening at 8pm
And if you’re not following me on Instagram then come and say hello – I’m on @sandraroycroftdavis