‘Tis the season for binge dieting. You know the drill: throw out all the food, spend a fortune on exotic ingredients at the grocery store, and buckle in for the complete overhaul. “Turn over a new leaf!” “I’m never going to ….(fill in the blank)… again.” “This is a new beginning.” It hurts even to watch. Why? Because it’s like watching a kamikaze pilot strap himself in – they teach him how to fly, but not how to land. That’s what it looks like to me now. And I dread the inevitable crash when the cleanse/pills/detox/extreme diet is done, which should be right about now – January 24th or so. As soon as the diet is over and you go back to the old eating habits, the weight comes right back on, and it should! Think about it: if the diet works (most of them do in the short run), you will obviously lose weight if you stick to it religiously for the prescribed short period of time. Therefore, the weight SHOULD come back on when you stop. And in the end, I could be wrong, but you weren’t really doing it for such virtuous reasons as to “reset your metabolism,” or “fill your body seaweed extract.” Down deep, you were really hoping that you’d lose weight and it would stay off, for once. Think about how it is when you get a stomach bug – don’t you kind of hope you’re down a couple of pounds? Or if you get a colonoscopy, the good news is that at least you’ve lost a little weight! But the weight comes right back on again. I know. I’ve been there, done that. And it just hurts to watch you do it, too. Because, just like the kamikaze pilot, as soon as you’re done flying, you’re going to crash. Because you haven’t learned how to land – how to eat under normal circumstances. You haven’t incorporated any new habits into your daily life.
The key to lasting weight loss is to adopt new habits. Automate as many foods choices as possible by making the food we eat habitual. According to the book, “The Power Of Habit,” by Charles Duhigg (a book I highly recommend), 40% of what we do every day is automatic, ritualized, habitual. That’s almost half of your day! Wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t even have to think about it? If you could re-habituate some of the foods that you automatically grab during the course of the day? You see, you don’t have to be on a strict diet to get results. You’ll see results if you just make one healthy switch and stick to it. My brother, who has now lost over 100 pounds, says he started by just not eating after dinner. (Just think of what people usually eat after dinner! It’s nothing healthy – EVER! It’s always desserts or snacks. Then eat mindless amounts of it in front of a TV! Yikes!) He saw results, and that built up his confidence to ….. add on another healthy habit! And another! Think of it as building a portfolio of healthy habits that displace the old habits.
It’s not easy. But it’s worth it. You’re worth it!