It’s not just our body shape or the food that determines our health. It’s the state of our mind and how we approach things that govern this and every outcome we will ever want from ourselves.
Our biggest failures come from lack of understanding not the lack of “doing”. Most people today want a silver bullet for their dietary or health issues and make little or no effort in helping themselves. Educating oneself has become a lost art. This is ironic considering the wealth of information we have at the tips of our fingers today. Self learning takes patience and above all, a very imaginable outcome which needs to be high on your priority list in life. If it isn’t, the outcome simply won’t happen.
Diet for Diet sake
I constantly read numerous forums and websites, about people who are struggling with diets or some sort of diet decision that they have almost reluctantly taken on. Some of these people need to be on a diet because they are desperate, that much is clear. Some want the results because they want to be a better physical version of themselves; and some just want to feel better. Whatever the case, there is a huge number of people seemingly doing things they don’t want to do with diets. These people are either told by a doctor or know inside themselves that life is going to get harder if they don’t do something about their situation. Even for those who just want to look or feel better for self-esteem reasons, know that if they don’t take action, it simply won’t happen.
Recently i noted a few blogs about people whose diet didn’t work no matter what they tried. These people sounded very down and desperate. This got me asking myself; why are all these people failing diets and what is really causing this?
Make yourself accountable
I stay in good shape. I have involved myself in sport and nutrition most of my life. I am not a doctor and i am not a nutritionist. I do not know the exact details of food at a molecular level either, although i understand some of it. This doesn’t stop me from knowing the basics of food and what i can do with it to lead a fun and exciting life. I took responsibility over my food choices when i was in my early 20’s. We ate well as a family when i was at home as a teenager and i was always playing some sport. But when i left home i got very lazy. One day i stopped and looked at my breakfast which consisted of a meat pie and pot of chips. I was hung over too which made it worse. I then asked myself how long this would go on. I knew then that i had to learn more about food, cook more often and take responsibility for my condition. Don’t get me wrong, this didn’t happen over night; i worked at it for years until i was good at it. The booze and the food! But today there is no despair for me and no worry of food or what might happen if i eat it. My concerns are elsewhere and focused on the time i have with my my wife and extracting all i can from my life. I am trying to give myself the best chance i can without having to become a nutritionist or doctor… despite some very normal but regulated human indulgences.
We are responsible for our own failings
Recently i made myself somewhat of a guinea pig to try and ascertain some ideas around diet programs so i understood it better and from a more psychological perspective. After completing a 6 week program i designed for myself to lose a defined amount of weight, things became clearer to me. The problem often isn’t the diet program, although some diets are much better for weight loss than others depending on the person. And the problem isn’t the food they eat within the diet either, although it’s also true that some food could be more exciting within certain diets. The problem isn’t the exercise or lack of this or even the type of programs they embark on. Infact, there is so much information and so many programs out there, that if anyone followed any number of programs readily available now, they would likely gain some real success. Even if some of them are a little weird.
The real issue with “dieting” failure is the barrier that lies in our head over the education and understanding of food in our diets. This means that most of you that have embarked on a diet program in the past and failed, didn’t have a particularly good toolbox with very many good tools in it now did you!? The reason you gave up probably wasn’t due to your inability in trying… or lack of desire for wanting to lose weight. It was your knowledge that was limited and lacking in times of need. This made it hard to know what to eat, let alone how much and when. You also got bored. You revisited the same recipes and used the same foods without knowledgeable thought of varying it to keep it interesting. Your will power was dented by the lack of food knowledge. So you gave up… because it all seemed too hard and beyond you.
Knowing all about food and what it does to your body, means you can be fast with any food decisions. You can look at a food and pull “the knowledge gun” in seconds. I know because i do it. It is so second nature to me these days, that when i do this, people make out that what i just did was difficult. This is far from true. Often the action was of simple thought or origins… or common sense you might say; it was a practiced response from a large repertoire of learning. People are not magically clever, it takes effort to know things. This is the key to battling weight and getting to a point of living without having to consciously follow a diet. It means having a good toolbox with great tools to use when in need. This leads to freedom from the constraint and struggle that all of you who want to lose weight can have. You will have power over your situation and always have a choice without despair. Education of food – you need to embrace it like your life depended on it! It is the key to a good lifestyle, the secret of weight success and the door to freedom from worry. Conquer this and life changes in every other way. Nothing will seem this hard again, because you re-inforced yourself with what you needed to cope by self-learning. This can be said for anything you need to tackle in life.
Knowledge is Power
I am constantly amazed when i talk to people who are into cooking, fitness or sport that don’t understand the distinct differences between Carbs, Protein and Fat. Or worse, which food is what. It almost angers me when i see or hear it. How can you play “a game” properly, so to speak, if you don’t know the rules? Amongst all this diet chaos there are some people that seem to manage ok by following a few rules, sure. But even these people fluctuate and battle with their diet on a weekly basis because rules are not understanding. You cannot follow a written plan of eating rules when you travel or when you go out…. you simply need to know your food!
There are those that don’t know a lot at all and somehow still manage to stay in a somewhat good looking shape. They tend to do this by accident; either with lots of exercise or skipping meals. It’s also likely that despite their often reasonable appearance, some of these people may be heading for organ issues later in life. These people also really annoy overweight people because they actually don’t know why they are like they are and can’t properly answer the question when asked. From all this confusion comes a story about metabolism, thyroid glands and body types to justify what is happening. Yet all along, the answer is simple. They eat less.
There are no guarantees of health with food, but then it doesn’t hurt to try and lessen your chances of problems in life does it? Being healthy is not just an issue for the over-weight, it’s an equally important issue for those who think they are fine, that don’t eat well and are not aware of it. I know even with myself, that i can always do better.
Lets look at a number of problematic things that people often think when they embark on change with their health and decide on some sort of diet program to improve it; overweight or not:
- They commit to change with conditions or time constraints
- They never share this openly
- They give themselves an easy “out”
- They eat certain foods because they are told to
- They follow a program with no understanding of the food let alone the reasoning
Those that embark on diets this way almost always end up hating it. They start out very enthusiastic because it’s “change” and the prospects are exciting. Much like digging for gold; it’s initially very exciting. Few become wealthy from it and most eventually quit. Often sooner than later.
People that succeed are relentless amongst many things. But mild to good success can come from those who don’t expect too much by still working steadily to understand the process and how it’s done. Am i talking about Gold or Diets? Good question and part of my point here. Lots of people that embark on diet programs limit the change they desire because they fail to educate themselves on what it is they want to succeed in. A gold prospector that wants any kind of success from gold mining will learn everything there is to know about doing it. You won’t see some random person drive into a valley with a small pan after reading an article on gold mining and find a lot of gold! It doesn’t happen. Unless they accidentally stumbled on a huge nugget of course which has happened. But there are no huge accidental nuggets in dieting. You can’t accidentally lose weight.
The success of any diet program is determined well before you even start
If you do not learn the basics of food and how it affects your body, you will never be able to apply any form of a diet to the rest of your life. Even if you are one of the few who are relentless enough to finish a diet program, you will never stay there unless you learn enough about what got you there and why.
So, how do i improve my chances based on this above you may ask?
Before you even bother trying to lose weight or even look at a program, or listen to someone who has done something wonderful with a diet; start watching documentaries on YouTube about diet programs. Start reading books. Join blogs and forums. Give yourself every opportunity to enjoy the process of reading or watching these. Even if it means having a snack while doing so! Make sure you enjoy learning about food and the human body. Stop watching some stupid mindless TV series and flick on the computer. Invest in learning about what it is you want to succeed in. Research it all; Paleo diets, Primal Diets, Atkins, Insulin issues, diabetes or even the manufacturing of food. You name it, read it or watch it. Gather up so much information about all this that you feel you understand what is happening. By the time you are done, you should know all about the three food categories, what calories are in each and what those do to us when we eat them; your toolbox will be quite substantial!
You are the master of your own body. If you continue to pretend you’re doing all you can to help yourself and justify your choices with every idea you have about why it isn’t working, you will NEVER achieve what you want. Self awareness is a huge thing with diet let alone many other habits we have as humans. You need to learn to catch yourself being dis-honest or making excuses, know when this happens and what to do about it.
At the end of the day, the results you want lie with you and your desire to want a better life. Here are some points which may help you:
1. If you make a mistake, forgive yourself and get back on that horse the same day; don’t wait till next monday or you will never see that horse again!
2. Give new and healthy foods a chance to be liked by your body by trying them far more than once.
3. Practice saying “No” to the wrong foods for the right reasons that you will have learnt from “tooling-up”.
4. Most of all, never never give up. We are all on a diet.. it is a life long journey for us all.