Effort. It is what we do to get things done. To achieve our goals.
Some things require a lot of effort, and others require very little.
Our success boils down to how much effort we put into something.
This is so true of weight loss. People want to lose weight and keep it off without having to work at it. Many people say they want to lose weight, but they don’t want to make it a priority and put in the effort necessary. The approximately $60 billion a year diet industry thrives on this type of thinking. Consequently, they’re always pushing some kind of magic solution that will help you lose weight without much effort. [See How to Dump Your Diet Brain]
But the fact is that the people who lose weight and keep it off do so by putting in a lot of consistent effort. Practice. The difference between what I teach and the diet model is about where you choose to put that effort.
The diet industry wants you to put your effort into willpower. Sticking to their plan, not eating the foods you love that they tell you to never to eat, sucking it up and dealing with starvation during your fast or cleanse. All of this requires white-knuckling it. Lots of willpower.
Kelly McGonigal, PhD, Stanford researcher and maven on willpower, will tell you that people who use willpower run out of it. It is a finite resource. She’ll tell you that willpower decreases over the course of the day as your energy gets spent on stress and self-control. That’s why it is easier to stick to a diet early in the day and harder in the evening. In other words, you can only white-knuckle it for so long. That’s why diets fail.I teach my clients to put their effort into changing how and why they eat. I teach them to listen to their bodies and eat when they are hungry. That means practicing not eating when they feel negative emotions. My clients have spent years avoiding their emotions by eating. Rather than putting their effort into avoiding foods they love, I teach them to put it into learning to manage their feelings in a productive way.
With practice, they actually stop feeling the urge to eat when they are stressed, bored, sad or lonely. Once they’ve mastered that and changed their habit, it requires no effort!
I also teach my clients to eat the foods their body loves, and to pay attention to their food while eating. Most people don’t do this either. As much as they believe they love food, they don’t love it enough to eat without the television on, or their iPhone or the newspaper to distract them from their food. They don’t really even taste the foods they love so much. In fact, some people purposely pound down their favorite foods really fast while they’re distracted, perhaps fooling themselves into believing that they didn’t really eat.
If you’ve been eating that way, paying attention to your food while eating requires effort at first. It requires you to give yourself the time to enjoy a meal or a snack.
But it will also change how you experience eating in a very positive way.
My clients realize that they can be satisfied with a lot less food. They notice that they stop having cravings because they are actually able to enjoy that serving of potato chips or French fries. They don’t want or need to overeat it. Their bodies and minds are satisfied with “enough.”
Everything worth doing requires some effort. If it is something you really want, be willing to make the effort to keep at it until you reach your goal. You can do anything if you’re willing to put in the required effort. But, unlike diets, the effort that goes into eating mindfully is finite. Once you make a habit of it, very little effort is required to lose weight and keep it off.
To learn more about my programs for learning how to stop overeating without willpower, click HERE.
July 13, 2016