I’ve been getting a series of marketing emails this week. A popular meal plan program is promoting their new multi-week diet reset. Today’s email came with a very compelling subject line, “why diets don’t work.” This headline caught my eye and I’m sure I’m not the only one.
I happen to know why diets don’t work. I have spent the past 8 years diving deep into the subject. I was intrigued by the email because I was curious to learn why SHE thinks diets don’t work.
Her email contained some valid points. For instance, “it is easier to maintain a diet, if you don’t feel like you’re IN one.” I have a few issues with this phrasing but ultimately it is a good general observation. The reason I am not in full agreement with her first point is because experience has taught me, it is easier to maintain a diet if your aren’t ON one – period. Learning how to effortlessly eat an appropriate amount of healthy food for your body with a few treats here and there is the only way to break free from the endless work of dieting.
She went on to reference mindful eating as well as the need for food that tastes good and appeals to your entire family. I nodded along with each point.
But, this is where the email ended. The message explained how diets fail but it did not answer the question it posed, why don’t diets work?
Here’s the no BS truth:
Diets and eating plans in general do not work because these elements only one of the components of a 3 part solution. To change your relationship with food once and for all, you absolutely need the “how-to.” I have great strategies for how to eat for weight loss, as do many other resources.
Unfortunately, this is where most programs start and stop. The approach is great for businesses because you will never reach your goal and always need their help. Until you incorporate these next 2 pieces you will not succeed with any strategies.
Second, you need the right story. What you believe to be true about who you are TODAY will make the difference between success and failure in any area of your life. If you start a transformation with a long list of reasons why you can not transform, it should come as no surprise when you don’t – although it always seems to…go figure.
Your comfort zone may be a terrible place to stay but fear that this is as good as it gets, or the best you deserve, will keep you there. It is called a comfort zone because it is predictable and consistent not because we are guaranteed to feel good in it. If your belief system is playing your past failures and obstacles on a loop you can not transform until you change the record.
Third, you must change your state. You can do this with your physicality as well as your mental focus. In the case of stopping over eating the change is often a specific decision. “I no longer have a choice I either lose weight or die.” Sometimes the choice is literal, due to a medical diagnosis. Other times it is the moment you declare enough is enough. Either way, the path forward is instantly clear and the only option is laser focus on the goal to be healthy and live the life you desire.
The biggest thing that keeps people stuck in a body (or life) they don’t want is the fear of what they will lose if they fully commit to change. The only way to silence that fear is to face it directly and prove it wrong.
Belief in your capabilities will empower you to realize, there are things you value more than the benefits you get by maintaining the status quo. From there you can step into your true self, master the practical strategies for how to lose weight, and make peace with food once and for all.