I just noticed in Barnes and Noble last night a new diet book – the Shred Diet.
As I paged through it, it has the usual menus: chicken breasts, vegetables, diet soda, unlimited water – you know it. It promises lots of weight loss quickly. And, of course, I have no doubt that if this plan is followed, it will result in weight loss.
Having had my own food and weight issues early on in life, I have found that all diets work! It’s just that they don’t seem to work for very long.
Why is that? Wouldn’t it be nice if there were just one quick answer for that question? However, it’s complicated.
I believe that weight loss has to first move from a weight loss endeavor to a seeking of a new way of being while adapting a new life style. This has many components to it, but one of them is a basic attitude towards foods.
We come to a diet, new or old, with many preconceived ideas. Ideas like:
This will be SO hard.
I only need to eat this way for a few weeks/months.
I don’t like this kind of food.
We have the strong association that dieting is painful. The treats are usually foods that are dead food but have been so doctored up by food manufacturers that they taste really good. I mean, who can say that chips aren’t delicious or chocolate isn’t a major food group or custard isn’t the best?
The treat is the food that has created the problem (being unhealthy and overweight). The reward has not shifted to living the benefits of the new way of life. Most people, who are healthy and happy with their weight, eat what many overweight people would call diet food. That’s their staple menu: lean meats and fish, lots of vegetables and fruits, good oils and grains; small amounts and usually infrequent sweets or processed food.
Changing within is the solution. It’s a process which takes effort but gives life-long satisfactory results. The idea that dieting is a time of deprivation is an attitude that sabotages efforts. It leads to feelings of self-pity, or justifies binges. What if we believed that eating foods that sustain health, wellness, and our weight as freedom? Is it deprivation to not eat processed food, sugary foods and fast foods? Or is it freedom not to be drawn to these foods often because of their taste or convenience?
Creating new beliefs can start with information such as the hazards of excess weight. Make it compelling and personal. In other words, really understand what it will cost you if you don’t raise the bar and do something new. Develop a very clear picture of the awesome way you will feel as you leave pounds behind while eating foods that actually support life and health. And don’t forget the benefit of having a body you love rather than a body you are not feeling comfortable with or, ever more, hate.
Jean Hausmann, Wellness and Weight Loss Coach and author of The Tale of Eating Beauty: How She Broke the Food Spell and How You Can Too!