Myth Busting: Crazy and Drastic ChangesOct 12, 2022
Too many people believe that in order to create change, they need to do something crazy and drastic. In the nutrition world, the “crazy and drastic” equivalent is dieting.
In her book “Why Diets Make Us Fat”, neuroscientist Sandra Aamodt explains that long-term studies on dieting show dieters being MORE likely to GAIN weight in the following two to fifteen years. Kind of crazy right? Especially because the whole point of dieting is to lose weight and not gain it.
The problem though, is that so many diets call for way too much restriction, and impose such extreme measures that it’s not possible to actually do them for any real length of time. People fall into the all too familiar loop of dieting, failing, regaining, and coming right back to the same point.
I totally get the appeal of diets and feeling like that’s the only solution. When you get to that super uncomfortable place where you feel like you can’t go another minute being in your own body, you want change. You need change. You feel like you have to do something drastic and you have to do it now.
Maybe you go to Google and type in something like “best diet to lose weight fast”. Or perhaps you remember your friend that just lost a bunch of weight on the latest fad. Most of these choices only offer quick-fix solutions that trigger food obsessions, don’t support health, and can’t be done long term.
So what’s the alternative if diets don’t work and you have weight to lose?
The alternative consists of three things:
- Small, incremental changes over time
- Relearning healthy eating skills and habits
- Accountability and support
What kind of habits will you be working on? Unsplash - THE 5TH
My favorite habits author is James Clear. In his book “Atomic Habits”, he explains that the magic of small habits is that they build upon each other and end up creating an incredible source of power through the system of compound growth. This is the same way that compound interest adds up and the same way that a captain of a ship or the pilot of a plane gets you to your destination. Small adjustments, sometimes just a couple of degrees at a time.
Building supportive skills and habits are fundamental to healthy weight loss. You need to practice and develop them over time so that you become the person who does them naturally, without even thinking too much about it. Skills like learning to listen to your own hunger and fullness cues, eating without distraction, and eating more of the fruits and vegetables you already like are some good examples to start with. As with anything, the more you practice them, the easier they get.
Accountability and support are crucial because you inevitably will have a bad day, lose steam, or find yourself in a difficult life situation. You need the accountability and support to ensure that you have the patience and grit to ride things out, keep showing up, and to help trust the process when it feels like things are moving too slowly for your liking.
Change is entirely possible, but it hardly ever happens the way that most people envision it. Instead, the most sustainable and successful changes happen over time, a result of a compounded effort to slowly work at changing old patterned habits, and replacing them with skills that embody healthy living. Have a lot of patience with yourself along the way, and know that you don’t have to do things perfectly in order to succeed!
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