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I know that many people who just want a quick fat-loss fix are destined to fail, especially if they are following conventional wisdom rather than seeking true health. They want something that requires no effort and gives instant results. That’s why all the garbage (offering miracle weight-loss without diet and exercise) sells so well. It’s frustrating because none of it will work and will only keep them fat and sick.
How do you make cutting up a vegetable sound interesting? Maybe by saying: Eat this for a good erection / sexy body / to look 10 years younger?? How can you get people to see that they’ve wasted years on fads which did not yield results, yet in one year they could reach their goal, with a little effort?
You can call it lack of will power or discipline. I call it lazy. I swear I have people tell me they bought the healthy fruits and vegetables, only to let them rot in the fridge!
Eat this not that, Biggest Loser cookbook, Atkins diet, The Abs diet, Gm Diet, The Paleo Diet, Body for Life.. The list keeps goes on and on. In about two months’ time, it’s going to be a brand New Year – 2011. And a lot of you are going to make that most famous of New Year’s Resolutions: I am going to lose weight.
And, sorry to be rude, most of you are going to fail…miserably. Here’s why:
There are 3 Main Types of Weight Loss Plans
1. Eat Less Food
2. Eat Less of Specific Types of Food (most commonly Carbs or Fat)
3. Get More Exercise
And of course, most of the so-called “experts” mix and match these three main plans to come up with their proprietary “miracle” weight loss program.
So, how come, year after year, millions of people:
* Start a new diet
* Quit that diet
* Try another diet
* Quit that diet
Don’t they have any will power?.
Of course, they have will power. Just as much as anybody else. What they lack is discipline. You have to understand that the selling point of most popular diets is that “being fat isn’t your fault.” We all love to hear that. It’s not our fault, our mouths consume all the toxic killers that are thrown in front of it, maybe it’s our hormones, or can we blame genetics. Trust me this is just as much an addiction as for someone who can’t quit smoking or alcohol.
Problem is, will power isn’t enough for most dieters. Not when you consider the following list of factors that make dieting a can’t-win proposition for most people.
When dieters eat less food:
* Their metabolism slows down.
* Specific brain chemicals increase appetite.
* Their “obesity” hormones join with those brain chemicals and appetite becomes an insatiable hunger.
* Neural pathways created by years of poor eating habits are abandoned (that’s good).
* New (diet-friendly) neural pathways are created (once again – good).
* Unfortunately, the old pathways are designed like super-highways while the new ones are more like bike trails. One bad meal and the old pathways come back online and the diet is broken.
* Psychologically, the elimination of their standard diet results in feelings of loss, guilt and punishment.
* Emotionally, dieters feel like they are being punished.
* Socially, friends & family members often (albeit unconsciously) try to sabotage the diet.
When dieters restrict food groups:
* Metabolism may or may not slow down – metabolism is mainly affected by caloric intake and, to some extent, the amount of protein consumed.
* The brain chemicals and hormones cry out for the restricted food.
* Neural pathways are affected in the same way as above.
* Psychologically, we see similar feelings of deprivation.
* The same emotional response is elicited.
* Same social response from family members.
* Amongst casual acquaintances, the social response can be even worse. In social situations (parties, restaurants) dieters who avoid carbs or fats can be perceived by others as being “difficult”.
* Low-fat dieters can suffer in a myriad number of ways. Impaired hormone production, damaged hair, skin, & nails, allergies, systemic inflammation, etc.
* Low-carb dieters often suffer at first from the lack of readily available sugar as a fuel source. Over time, this problem resolves itself.
* Unfortunately, the lack of fiber in the low-carb diet often doesn’t resolve itself. And we all know what a lack of fiber can do to a person’s bathroom habits.
When exercise is the sole weight loss method:
* Exercise does all sorts of great things for your body (improves mood, body image, strength, flexibility, general health, etc.), but as the saying goes, you can’t out-train a bad diet. It is way too easy to eat 500 calories of delicious chocolate cake than it is to burn off 500 calories of body-fat.
* And, to make things worse, studies have shown that exercise increases hunger.
And the problems get even worse for repeat dieters. After numerous failed attempts at weight loss, these poor souls have created super-thick neural pathways dedicated exclusively to dietary failure. They just don’t believe they can succeed. Seems pretty grim, doesn’t it? So, what are we going to do?
Here’s what I do for my clients.
1. Choose a diet/meal plan that keeps their metabolism humming along.
2. Choose a diet/meal plan that adapts well with their personality & lifestyle.
3. Create an exercise plan that boosts metabolism and makes them fitter, stronger & lighter.
4. Prepare them mentally and emotionally for the challenge that they face. Let them know that their hormones and neural pathways and brain chemicals want them to stay fat. But that with diet and various psychological tools, they can overcome their physiology.
5. Help them re-frame how they see their diet. Instead of eating for convenience, they’re eating for nutrition. Instead of missing out on ice cream, they’re upping their sex appeal. Instead of being normal, they’re becoming better – healthier, fitter, stronger, sexier.
6. Make them understand that this is a challenge that they can win. Others have faced the same challenge and have succeeded. I lend them my confidence. Every day I see people succeed & fail at weight loss. I have built some massive neural pathways when it comes to my belief in successful weight loss. I just need them to believe that I believe. Weird, but true.
So, come this January, what are you going to do?
Buy the latest bestselling diet book?
I know that this post barely scratched the surface of a complex subject. And I am sure that I will be writing more about it in the coming months. But, if you have any questions, feel free to comment or shoot me an email.
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