Are you one of the millions of people who have started a diet/lifestyle/exercise/ or health program? If you are then you are also likely part of the 70-80 percent who drop out and do not finish or the 95% who regain the weight they lost or more within 3 years of completion. If you have started one of these programs even once then please never tell yourself you don't have willpower, motivation, time or that you are lazy EVER AGAIN! With only 20% of people completing programs and even less reaching their desired goal, you are a complete rock star for even attempting something so strict and depleting.
If you have started even one of these programs then please never tell yourself you don't have willpower, motivation, time or that you are lazy EVER AGAIN! With only 20% of people completing programs and even less reaching their desired goal, you are a complete rock star for even attempting something so strict and depleting!
You may not feel the same way I do about your experience and might be thinking be thinking... but I DO lack willpower. "I got lazy and didn't maintain my results."
If you didn't complete a program or if you did not maintain your results, then I am sorry that the system failed you. You did not fail your diet. They failed you! You are not lazy or lack willpower. THEY were lazy for not meeting you where you were and coaching you in a way that would honor your biology, mind, social well-being, and beautiful body long term. THEY FAILED. Their 70-80 percent dropout rates and less than 10% success rates prove that prescription programs are to blame. NOT YOU.
As Dr. Rick Kausman, author of If Not Dieting Then What?, said in his book; if 95% of cars could not stay on the road we would not blame the drivers, we would look for fault in the roads and the cars.
Similarly, if 95% of planes crashed we would not fault the passengers.
If 95% of people at a restaurant got sick from eating there we would not blame THEM, we would write nasty Yelp review for the restaurant! We would be angry!
If 95% of car seats failed...
If 95% of lifejackets didn't work long-term...
If a medication had a 95% chance of not working, we would not choose it or blame ourselves.
So why is it so natural to beat yourself up after a diet when looking at the long-term statistics of diets it doesn't make logical sense to do so? That's easy, and isalso not your fault. We have been TAUGHT to blame ourselves by the messaging of diet culture.
You (and the rest of us) have been stuck in an echo chamber (The Echo Chamber Effect) of messages from media, culture, parents, schools, doctors and your life influences telling you that being thin is better, and if you can not achieve thin, then there is something wrong with you and you are less than those who can. It has nothing to do with logic, science or health and everything to do with social conditioning.
In order to change your false beliefs, you must fight the echo chamber telling you that you must meet a social norm before you can be healthy. It is going to take a conscious and consistent effort to change the messages you are receiving and the voice in your head, but it is absolutely possible to change your thoughts & beliefs about your body and health. It gets easier with practice and doing so will help you to see the truth that your worth and value to this world do not live in your body.
You learned a ton about yourself and your health that you get to carry with you into the next phase of your health journey. It's time to start believing and trusting in yourself again. If you have failed to follow through with your goals, then it's time to stop blaming yourself, and it's time to start considering a different approach to how you go about improving your future efforts.
You may be afraid to start again with your goal, and it may feel paralyzing in how far you have to go to get to where you want to be. You may tell yourself...
"what's the point, I've tried so many times, and I always end up right back where I started - or worse."
"I'm done trying, it is hard and exhausting and I feel like crap every time I do."
"It is what it is, this is who I am."
If you are in that place today, then I want you to know those are perfectly normal feelings and thoughts to be having, especially if you have tried before and it didn't go well. With each attempt you have re-enforced the belief that it is hard, you lack the skills, and that you'll never get there. You invested a lot of yourself with each attempt, and it is understandable if you are exhausted and feel apprehensive about starting again.
As hard as it may be to start again, I know you are a powerhouse. You do amazing things every day. You have taken brave and bold steps in your life that you have seen incredible payoffs. You are more than qualified and capable of achieving a change in your health when you are ready.
You did not receive the support you needed in your past attempt, and it can be different in your future attempts. When the pressure to achieve results is removed you have the freedom to gently move through the scientifically proven process of change.
How could you bring more LOVE to your experiences with past diets?
Learn: What self-awareness did you gain from being on a diet? How did you feel when you were dieting? (Socially, mentally, physically), How does that compare to how you would like to be in your future or your best self?
Observe: What did you like about being on a diet? What didn't you like? What changes in you when you are on a diet? What gets you excited about your future? Where do you feel it in your body when you think about those things?
Visualize: Who is your ideal self/future self? What do they do that is different from you? What lessons can you learn from them to help you now?
Evolve: What is one small step you could get excited about doing today to get you closer to the change you desire? HINT: whatever you came up with, think smaller...way smaller. If it seems too easy, that is the action you want. If you want to start consistent and positive action forward you need things that you can accomplish easily. Start there, it will build into more.
Wishing you well,