05 Jul 3 Biggest Mistake People Make When Trying to Lose Weight
The Die(T) story
It was Friday night and Megan was channel surfing on TV. She saw this advertise of a new diet and immediately bought the book.
She has attempted to become healthy few times in the past but the attempts didn’t go very well. She lose few kgs and regains it after some time.
She’s had the nagging feeling that she’s not living healthy life, and she knows that a big part of it is that she’s not in her right body. It’s finally time to do something about that (AGAIN !).
She read the book over the weekend and from Monday goes on her new regime. It feels good first few days. She was rejecting the tempting food offers at work, parties and feeling in control. At the end of the week, she has lost one kilogram weight.
On the second week she was feeling bit tired but determined. After a long day at work on Wednesday she goes out for movie. She has to skip dinner as she directly went from work. She was legitimately feeling hungry. Her friend orders food from the food bar. Megan hesitated for a bit as this was not part of the Diet plan. She couldn’t resist and orders food. While feeling guilty, she tells herself that she’ll be back on track tomorrow morning.
When she gets home from the movies something psychologists call the “what-the-hell effect” kicks in. (No joke—that’s the real term.) Because Megan broke her diet for the day and plans to get back on track the following morning, she grabs tub of ice cream to eat while watching TV.
This was the first exception but after third week, the exceptions starts coming frequently. Eventually after fourth week she didn’t even attempt to control herself.
She ended another cycle of going on diet and failing herself (or the diet failing her?).
Where do you think Megan went wrong? At home when she gave herself permission to eat ice cream? At the movie theatre when she walked up to the snack bar?
Back at the office when she prioritised work over dinner?
I say Megan is no different than any of us. She simply made the huge mistake that almost everyone makes when they try to lose weight.
The mistake was “going on a diet = putting restrictions.”
There are three key reasons diets don’t work:
1 Willpower is limited
Willpower is a thing, which helps you control your emotions, feelings and urges. Scientists says in a day we only have 15 minutes of willpower. So it’s very hard to control your urges of eating habitual food everyday, the battery will eventually run dry. The prefrontal cortex in your brain helps you make decisions and resist impulses, when the body goes on low energy it shuts down. Without it you’ll give in to your cravings easily. The longer you diet resisting becomes more challenging.
2 Diet is a short term mindset
Diets never work in the long-term because “dieting” is a short-term mindset. If you go on a diet, you’re presuming that you’ll go off the diet at some point and when that happens, you’ll regain all the weight you just lost.
Instead, focus on your long-term eating habits. This is the best way to lose weight and keep it off, the healthy way.
3 Not self-aware
Most of the people blindly follow the latest craze or fad going around. Everyone would like to have body of Hollywood actresses or top models. Weight management is not as simple as “eat less and move more”. There are biology (your DNA), Psychology (Sleep, Stress, Habits) and lot more environmental factors involved to keep you healthy and happy. Understanding all this aspects is key to long term success.