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Why Diets Don’t Work

Woman failing on dietArticle by Lindsey Agness

Are you someone who has either struggled to lose weight over the years or maybe you’ve experienced Yo-Yo dieting.

This is the repeated loss and regain of weight due to excessive dieting. If you are then you’re probably feeling fed-up with the whole experience and wondering if you’ll ever be the weight you want to be.

I work with people on the issue of weight loss and I’ve noticed two interesting trends.

Focus on What you Want

blue elephantWhat do I mean by that? If I say to you ‘whatever you do don’t think of a blue elephant right now’.  What happens?  That’s right.  You end up focusing on a blue elephant because our unconscious mind cannot process a negative.  One of the most basic psychological rules in life is that you always get more of what you focus on.  

Imagine, focusing on not being fat.  What happens?   Your mind has to focus on what you don’t want in order to make sense of it.  This not only reinforces the image you have of yourself as fat, it often leaves you feeling helpless.  If you do manage to lose weight it’s often short-term.  Have you ever experienced losing some weight then after a while your motivation evaporates.  It’s no wonder that happens if you’re focused on being fat!

The contrast is to redirect your focus onto exclusively what you do want ie a slim and healthy body.  By doing this you are sending a message to your unconscious mind to move you towards your goal.  By visualising what you want and experiencing the feelings of what it will be like to reach your goal, the motivation is much more likely to be long-term.  The more specific you are the better this works.  For example, I want to lose 7lbs by the 1st July. 

This is the difference between ‘away from’ and ‘towards’ motivation.
Focusing on not being fat, you are moving away from what you don’t want and it’s less motivating and less likely to be long-term.  Having a vision of what you ‘move towards’ is much more motivating and likely to be a permanent change.

Improve your Self Image

feet on scalesThe other reason why diets don’t work is that much over- eating is covering up a psychological or emotional problem.  Nearly every overweight person has a self-image that says they will always be fat.  Our beliefs about ourselves are set when we are very young.  They are ‘donated’ to us by our teachers, parents and those close to us.  It’s important to learn what these are and to change them or else any weight-loss that is successful in the short-term will be unsustainable in the longer-term. 

For example, in adult life, children who were not loved, use food for comfort, those who were bullied, use food for respite, those who believe they’re ugly use food to prove it and those who were abused, gain weight to be less attractive to others.  These are often the unconscious triggers.  At a conscious level, as adults we feel lonely, depressed and stressed.  Until the unconscious triggers can be successfully identified, the weight will either stay on or will pile back on later. 

If you feel this might be you, start to ask yourself what are your unconscious beliefs about yourself that you need to change?  If you’re unsure, ask your friends as they may be able to assist you to get to the bottom of it.  The good news is that our beliefs can be changed and our self-esteem improved so take the first step today.

Author – Lindsey Agness: Best Selling Author of Change Your Life with NLP and Still 25 Inside available at www.amazon.com


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