There are any number of diets out there. I don’t know if anyone has actually calculated the number but I’d bet there’re hundreds. Reckon I’ve tried a lot of them!
How did that work out for you?
Yeah, me too 🙂
After a couple of decades I’ve come to realise that there is no ‘diet’ that will magically and safely shed weight permanently. Why? Because when we look externally for the solution to our excess weight challenge, we take ourselves out of the equation and rely on something ‘out there’ to solve it for us. Got news for you. Ain’t gonna happen. The problem is you. The solution is you. Painful eh? I think it was Einstein who captured our dilemma:
You cannot solve a problem with the same kind of thinking that created it
The way I see it, unless you have a true medical condition that created the weight and is untreatable (from what I understand that is uncommon) then you created the excess weight with a pattern of thinking that solves another problem for you. In my experience, that is usually psychological. Food is a treat. Food is a reward. Food comforts me. Food numbs my pain for a bit. Food avoids my feeling of loneliness. Food takes away my feeling of being unloved. Plug in your own relationship with food here. And if you don’t ‘get’ what your relationship to food is – at the emotional and rational level, then that may be the place for you to start. Talk with a qualified counselor to identify why you eat the way you eat.
So, for most of us I’d argue our irrational thinking uses food as a substitute for something else. We seek solace in it. It is external to us. In our head, the problem is external to us. I’m overweight because I was fed comfort food as a kid, I didn’t get fed much as a kid, someone who loved me gained my love through treats, I don’t have enough money for ‘real’ food, it’s ‘their’ fault. While we continue to see the problem as someone else’s fault, that the reason for being overweight/obese is because of something that happened to us, it’s going to be a forever struggle to lose and maintain that lost weight.
Stuff happens. Sometimes bad stuff happens. And it can happen to us. And that’s terrible. Yet you have control over how you respond to that event or series of events.
I just watched a movie called “Wild” about a woman who went off the rails when her mother passed away prematurely. She turned to drugs and sex because it was all that made her happy anymore. Nothing was ‘her fault’. She lost her rudder in life (her mother) and she became a victim to her need for solace. Now that journey could have continued and ended badly. She looked for answers out there – her friends and her husband, even a therapist. They didn’t work for her. At some point she realized she needed to take responsibility and find herself again. She did that by going within – on a bloody long walk across the Pacific Crest Trail.
In some respect I see a corollary in the lives of us overweight/obese types. No-one forced food in my mouth. No-one held me down and shoved chocolate, pies, cakes, biscuits, ice-cream, soda, and other unhealthy food down my gullet. No-one put my hand to my mouth so frequently throughout the day every day that I stacked on the weight. Nope. It was me. I did it because …. You know what? It doesn’t matter anymore.
You can continue to be controlled by your past or you can choose to build a better future
If I stay in the victim mentality, the ‘it’s not my fault’ approach, giving a litany of reasons (aka excuses) for why I am my size then I am bound for an endless struggle much like the one I have been on for 30 years.
I choose not to do that anymore.
I choose to take responsibility for my future.
Easy to say.
Harder to live out.
But live out is necessary.
Or, I just accept that this is the way I want to live and enjoy eating what I eat for the rest of my days and live with the consequences. No more struggle. That’s a valid choice.
For me, I choose to put aside the reasons, the excuses, the why’s and wherefore’s, the limitations of my health and physical capabilities and do what is necessary: take responsibility.
That right there is a change of thinking. Different thinking to what I’ve consistently had in the past.
Sure I’ve had moments of strength and discipline and while that lasted I’d be fine. I even lost 30 kilos in one period. But I fell back into old patterns of behavior, let go of responsibility because “I’d done the work”. As each pound crept back I’d say “I can shift that”. But I didn’t. Not consistently. I stated blaming again. I started saying “I’ve always been big” “They didn’t teach me what to eat” “I’m meant to be this size. “I’ve got big bones” And so on. Sound familiar?
My change of thinking now is realizing I am responsible. I have to do it. I have to do what I have not enjoyed in the past – moving my body more often, eating just fresh or least-processed food and building my discipline to not cave in to pig outs. If you’re in my situation you’ll know how hard that is to do. It requires discipline and an eye on the prize – a healthier body, hopefully a longer life and looking smoking hot! Well, maybe the last is a stretch 🙂 but that feeling of feeling good in your own skin.
So reflect on what you say to yourself about your size. Reflect on your relationship with food. Observe people who are in shape – what do they tend to eat and how do they eat.
In my observations, they eat less often, don’t snack as much and if they do it’s not on chocolate or chips, are less tempted by poor food choices, give themselves the occasional treat, move a lot more than me and don’t think about food and getting slimmer 24/7.
Finally, commit to taking responsibility for where you are right now. Recognize whether you want to give up the struggle and just live as you are. Or, resolve to live a healthier life without excuses, making better choices every day until that becomes habitual behavior for you. And when you do get to your desired goal weight, be vigilant. Squash every pound if it creeps on.
Solve your weight problem by changing the kind of thinking that got you where you are and look within for the answer.
PS: I’ve just re-read this. It’s likely to get some backs up. Not sure I’ve explained the subtleties of what I’m trying to say. It sounds easy on paper and I’m not saying people haven’t tried in the past or been committed. But taking real responsibility at the conscious and unconscious level is a different kind of thinking. It’s empowering. Maintaining that is going to be the challenge for me. That will take brutal honesty with myself!Please share ..