Psychology

Why You Can Never Stick to Your Diet

For many of us, the word diet can be a trigger of sorts. Upon reading the title of this article a familiar string of events probably swam through your head as they do in mine.

They display memories of dedication to a new, healthy habit or way of eating with wholehearted ambition, followed by events of set back or failure, followed by resignation and thoughts of “Well, tomorrow’s another day”.

Tomorrow of course being this beautiful place in time and space where all will power is readily available and set backs never happen, where six pack abs and beach bodies (whatever that hell that means) suddenly appear as if by divine magic. The key issue here of course is that tomorrow is always one day away, it is never now. 

The “yo-yo” diet is pervasive and damaging, as in the short term it denies us the gratification of achieving our goals, while in the long term it reaffirms beliefs we have in ourselves that tell us we just aren’t good enough, or strong enough, or deserving enough, or…

See where I’m going with this?

The solution doesn’t lie in figuring out new ways to motivate ourselves, eating the healthiest food, or figuring out the perfect diet; it lies in changing the mindset that was used to create the pattern in the first place. But how do you change a mindset? This idea seems initially too abstract to achieve, but it isn’t once you break down what your stories are around food, yourself, your body, and what it all means.

Identify Your Diet Stories

Which stories about food do you subscribe to? Is food a friend, to be enjoyed and cherished? Or is it a foe, who’s aim is to tempt you and sabotage your goals? Is it both? Which stories about food serve you and who you really are, and which ones serve the you that compulsively exists with food in a manner that seems out of your own control?

Which stories about yourself and your relationship to food do you subscribe to? Do you consider yourself an “emotional eater”? Is it “impossible” for you to say no to sweets?

For the longest time I lived with the story that I have a slow metabolism. It’s genetic; I inherited this state of being that forever would sabotage any efforts I made in staying in shape.

Once I dropped this story (and I sometimes have to re-drop it, as some stories are difficult to drop) I realized that this story had only served me in allowing me to not take responsibility for my own physical state. If I gained weight, or wasn’t losing it, it was just my “slow metabolism” at play again. With this story dropped, I had to face the other reasons why I likely have not lost weight, or have gained.

The truth is, no matter how fast or slow your metabolism is, if you binge eat in secret and pretend later it didn’t happen (both to yourself and everyone around you) weight loss is unlikely to occur.

What were you taught about food and what it meant? How were you taught to think about your body, what was valued and what was enforced?

Identify How Your Stories Have Served You

How have these stories served you? Perhaps they allow you to dodge responsibility, or to blame someone else for your state of health. Could you admit to yourself, right now, that perhaps it allows you to receive pity from others, to feel like a victim?

What would happen if you dropped those stories, and really realized that they are in fact not true? What if you stopped saying to yourself “I have a slow metabolism” or “I just can’t stop eating sweets” or “I don’t like to exercise?

How would your life change?

You’ll find that your stories don’t want to be forgotten. Denial and anxiety may try and creep its way in as a way to scare you away from changing your mindset. Embrace the fear, face it head on. See it as an indicator that you are on a new and better path.

Your stories have only served you in the past as a way to survive, but they are not serving you now. They are holding you back from living a life on purpose, one in which YOU and your dreams are in control.

Watch Your Language

Our realities are defined by the language that we use. What we say is what is true. This is powerful because we can change what we say every time we speak.

I stopped saying “I have a slow metabolism” because it completely crippled me. This story allowed me to not have to take responsibility for my own relationship to food.

New habits require a solid foundation of a new mindset. No problem can be cured with the same mindset that was used to create it. Imagine how your behavior might change if you learned to redefine so called “problems” as challenges?

Accept Yourself Now

Most importantly, come from a place of acceptance. Accept yourself as you are NOW, however many pounds heavier than you would like to be. You’re perfect now, and you’ll be perfect when you lose the weight. Take the emotional pressure off of yourself. Suddenly, the journey ahead becomes less charged with illogical urgency and self-loathing and becomes a simple equation of, “If I change this behavior, I will get this desired result. If I continue this old behavior, I’ll keep this undesired state.”

The stories you made up about yourself continue to be true solely because you keep telling the same story over and over again in present. Aren’t you bored of them yet? Isn’t it time to write some new stories, some that serve you now?

What new stories are you creating? Remember to share below in the comments section to inspire others and keep the conversation going!

To some beautiful new stories,

Emily XOX.

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