The reason why so many people fail to lose weight and keep it off while following a diet or meal plan has nothing to do with willpower. There are 3 key things most diet plans fail to address:
- your identity
- your mindset
- your emotions
Diets create a restrictive world where food rules reign and self-doubt, self-loathing and self-hate are the soldiers to keep everyone in line. Maybe you have thought to yourself, “I want to be healthy” but enrolled in a diet program because diets have become so normal in our lives, we equate health with weight loss.
After your first diet you maybe lost some weight and kept it off for a year or two but then things changed, and the weight came back on. So, you did the diet again because well, it “worked” for you before. But there is a good chance you regained weight because something major happened in your life, or you wanted to live more than the restrictive diet allowed.
Or maybe you have maintained that post-diet weight but you eat the same thing every day, don’t eat at social gatherings, and get major anxiety if you cannot find one of your safe foods to eat when out and about.
In both situations, unhappiness surrounding food and your body image is controlling you. Diets do one thing very well; they make us feel like we are a problem. If we cannot follow this simple, overly restrictive, life sucking diet then well you know, what is it going to take?
This is not just my opinion, there has been lots of research on the success of diets. 80-97% of people regain weight lost from a diet program within 3 years, sometimes they gain more than they lost. This can create feelings of failure, guilt, and shame, leaving you alone with your thoughts and isolated with your self-hate and anger towards your body for letting you down once again.
When you change your focus to your identity, mindset, and emotions you create a safe space for you to explore and empathize with yourself. I too struggled with showing myself empathy and felt that I needed to achieve perfection at any cost. This left me stressed out and in a place that did not provide me with any internal happiness. These feelings escalated after having my twins. I felt like I needed to look a certain way postpartum because I am a dietitian and be a certain mom because people expected this of me, when in reality it was my expectations getting in the way.
I was able to get out from under this self-destructive behaviour by:
- reminding myself of my identity, who I am, my core values and beliefs, and focusing on how to achieve my internal goals that mattered.
- checking in on my mindset, was I approaching an all or nothing mentality? Did I remember that growing everyday is better than starting and stopping?
- examining my thoughts and emotions with critical awareness so I could understand why I felt what I felt and better communicate to myself and others.
When you take this approach to your relationship with food and your body image you too can get out from the self-destructive nature of diet plans that fail to meet the needs of over 80% of their participants while still achieving the goals that matter to you.
Remember that if a diet plan is not addressing who you are, the way you think or what you feel it is not doing you any favors. If you want to explore this more check out my free masterclass.