Without fail, whenever I meet someone and tell them what I do, the conversation turns to all of the diets they’ve done in the past, including the one they’re currently on.
We all know people like this…
One month they’re eating ONLY xyz. “Nope, I can’t eat any of that. It’s not a part of my plan!” The next month, they’re eating only what they were just avoiding the month before. The next month, they’re only eating grapefruits.
“This is working so well! I lost 2 pounds in the first 2 days! Can you believe this?!?!”
The next month, “The best part about this is that I can eat as much fat as I want AND lose weight?!” as they’re chomping down on a triple bacon cheeseburger.
The next month, “Ya know, I’ve decided I’m going to become a vegetarian. I’m never going to eat meat again!”
The next month…
I can keep going if you’d like?
We all know these people…
…they go from one shiny new fad diet to the next without ever sticking with ANYTHING.
Consistency isn’t sexy (but it’s ridiculously effective). And because it’s not “sexy” or the “it” diet of the moment, people might feel bored or even left out while some of their friends are eating “cookies” for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Because of this, they’re always in search of the newest fad diet, instead of focusing on what actually works.
We all know deep down, the secret to success is —–> doing the right things over and over and over and over again. And doing the right things over and over and over and over again.
No matter what diet we follow, or what ‘magic pill’ we take (they don’t exist!), if we want to be successful, eventually, we’re going to have to do the actual work.
And the actual work means eating right, eating less, and moving more…consistently.
There is no escaping this.
We can’t escape the work if we want sustainable results. While the majority of people are searching for the “latest and greatest fad diet” our clients are doing the right things day in and day out. While the majority of people are searching for the “new and shiny diet” MBT-ers are staying consistent week after week. While the majority of people are trying to avoid cravings, we’re helping them figure out why they’re getting them in the first place.
Change by nature is uncomfortable.
If we’re doing what we always do like saying, “I’ll start tomorrow,” or, “Ah, I’ll start fresh on Monday,” we won’t feel or look any different. But, if we don’t give into those rationalizations we’ll feel discomfort. Discomfort means we’re doing things differently. It means we’re changing, and therefore getting closer to where we want to be.
Hence, discomfort is our compass.
We can’t escape the discomfort, we just can’t. Change by nature is uncomfortable. Nor can we escape the day to day consistency, which isn’t sexy – even though, it’s ridiculously effective.
It’s so easy to avoid the inevitable: being consistent and sticking with a sensible eating and exercise plan.
Here’s the brutal reality of this all. Change – real sustainable change – is uncomfortable. Real change requires consistent effort, support and a willingness to be vulnerable and uncomfortable. That is not easy to maintain without any help.
After all, if it was so easy to change, we’d all do it. And we’d all be in amazing shape. I don’t say this to be self-serving either. It’s just reality.
I’m 100% convinced, though I’m admittedly biased – daily and personal accountability and support is what makes all of the difference. I’ve seen what it can do. It makes the discomfort way more tolerable and dare I say – enjoyable. It makes the consistency very doable. It’s why we get the results we do. It’s why we have the track record we do.
“There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth. Not going all the way, and not starting.” – Siddartha Guatama
There are 3 reasons why it’s very hard to go all the way. I’ll share that in my next post.
In the meantime, 2 questions for you:
1) What diets have you tried in the past? What are you currently following (if anything)?
2) What was missing from those diets? Why weren’t you able to stick to them?
Message me and let me know.
Your Body Tutor,
P.S. Above I wrote, “And the actual work means eating right, eating less, and moving more…consistently.”
In my next post, I’m going to share the 3 reasons why consistency is so hard. It’s a good one! It’s the reason why we can’t stick to a diet.
Once in a while, a successful client will tell us we’re sorta annoying. That makes no sense right?
As Dorie eloquently wrote awhile back…”sometimes she hates me.” (A wise woman always told me that hate is the closest thing to love so I don’t get offended.)
Question for you: Have you ever given a friend relationship advice, and as soon as you finish telling him/her they get all defensive and mad? Sometimes, they even start yelling back at you.
It’s because most of us want to be told what we want to hear, not what we need to hear.
There’s two types of good. Good and good for nothing! (That’s how I feel about advice.)
Okay, back to the fun part…about why we’re annoying!
Let’s talk about a client. We’ll call him “Mikey”.
Mikey joined MBT wanting to finally get in shape once and for all, the right way. He told me he had started countless diets before, and always does good for the first few pounds or so, and then falls off track, like most of us do.
Well Mikey has been doing extremely well. He lost 20+ pounds already with MBT.
And then starting late last week he became too busy to submit his report every night.
So last night we spoke (although we were texting and emailing throughout the weekend), and I asked him what was going on, and why he hasn’t been submitting his report regularly.
He told me how busy he’s been and how work has been non-stop.
Mikey is smart enough to know what he’s doing. He’s a smart guy! But I explained to him why he was doing it, and it was a big breakthrough for him.
Maybe it can help you as well.
I love exploring the psychological reasons behind our actions. After all, it’s ALL psychological…
Let’s talk about cognitive dissonance…
This happens when we have two conflicting desires. Let’s use smoking as an example…
It is well known that smoking cigarettes can cause lung cancer yet every person I’ve ever met wants to live a long, healthy and active life. But the short term / irrational mind of a smoker enjoys it, and wants to smoke.
The uncomfortable tension caused by these two opposing desires is known as dissonance. As humans, we look to get rid of this uncomfortable feeling. This is known as dissonance reduction.
The only way to get rid of this uncomfortable feeling is by a) quitting smoking b) denying that people actually get sick from smoking or c) justifying and rationalizing.
For example, a smoker could rationalize their behavior by believing that few people get sick from smoking, it only happens to people who smoke more than they do, if smoking doesn’t kill them something else will, they’ll quit next year, they only live once (YOLO!) and they deserve to smoke or it’s too expensive to quit.
[Not for nothing - it's amazing how cheap people are with themselves when it comes to their own health and fitness. Yet, they'll spend tons of money on restaurants, stuff, activities, etc. Everything means nothing without our health and fitness. What good is success without our health and fitness? Interestingly, when we focus on our health and fitness it allows us to do everything else better. End rant.]
In essence, they either need to take action (quit smoking and get whatever help they need <—- this is very hard!) or they need to make themselves feel better by rationalizing their smoking, and do the easiest thing of all — do nothing at all. (<—-this is much easier and that’s why most people do it).
Knowing this, let’s talk about why Mikey thought (yes, he no longer does!) I was annoying.
I’ll tell you why:
It comes down to either fear of change, fear of failure or fear of success.
Everything he said boiled down to fear.
There’s an old saying I love:
“The temptation to quit will be greatest just before you are about to succeed.”
In this case, because Mikey was succeeding, he realized he was going to change for the long term. And unfortunately, real change is uncomfortable.
He got scared.
Because deep down, Mikey wasn’t ready to really change. He didn’t think MBT would work. So he wasn’t really prepared to let go of emotional eating (even though he’s made big progress). He wasn’t really prepared to let go of using food although he already had.
In his mind, he needed to emotionally eat and he couldn’t imagine life without doing so.
His success made him fear the change. (Hint: This is why focusing on ALL the benefits of eating well is so powerful. Not the discomfort of not eating junk. It’s one of the reasons why we ask what you’re grateful for every night. This is also why taking this day by day is so important!)
So, Mikey was coming up with all sorts of excuses because he feared the change. His main reason: it wasn’t the right time to lose weight.
Interesting. (Seems like the exact reason why he signed up. He’d start all kinds of diets but never stick with them…)
So what do we do if we’re Mikey?
We have to reduce the dissonance because when there is a disconnect between what we really WANT to do (eating right, exercising, etc.,) and what we’re ACTUALLY doing, uncomfortable feelings and unhappiness ensue.
Because he didn’t want to feel that dissonance or discomfort or resistance (whatever you want to call it) he wanted to remove the accountability. By submitting every night – or not – it was making him feel bad.
(Ahem, this is precisely why MBT works so well. That’s what accountability does. It holds our feet to the fire. We can help you the most on your most challenging days. We learn the most when we lose, not when we win.)
Mikey was coming up with all sorts of reasons because he didn’t want to face the discomfort anymore. His main excuse? Too busy.
He had to get rid of that discomfort somehow…so he’d find anything and latch on to it so he can ease the tension. (Ahhh yes…submitting a feedback is a pain in the butt and it takes time. Yes! Whew. Now I can rationalize my reason for stopping – and not feel bad.)
(Some people will use money as an excuse. Meanwhile, it’s a lot cheaper (and healthier) to stick with a program once and for all then to start and stop countless programs.)
Of course, I know Mikey didn’t REALLY think MBT was annoying. Annoying is simply a code for the discomfort and resistance he was facing.
The real problem was that he was scared to change. Like many people, it appeared he’d rather just talk about changing.
BUT he does want to change. He’s changed so much already. He was just scared of it. (We worked on this.)
MOST people start diet programs and quit them but don’t ever realize why. They just go from one diet to the next…
The only path to real long lasting changer is understanding our own behavior and psychology.
If all it took was tactics to be healthy and fit, 2/3 of America wouldn’t be overweight. There are real mental roadblocks we all have, and this is one of them.
Fighting human nature is silly.
Instead, when we understand what’s going on around us, it makes it a lot easier to call it what it is and move forward.
P.S. I’m happy to report this was a big breakthrough for Mikey and he’s back at it.
P.P.S. I’ve uncovered 3 main reasons why people can’t stick with a diet. One of them is part of what I just wrote about above: The mindset and psychology of weight loss. If the only thing you’re changing is the food you’re eating, you’ll never be able to stick to a plan. You’ll also never sustain the results you get.
There are two other reasons I’ve uncovered through working with 1000′s of clients over the last 7+ years since starting MBT in February of 2007. If you’re interested in learning what they are simply email me at adam at mybodytutor dot com with the subject line “What are the 3 reasons why I can’t stick with my diet?” and I’ll happily share them with you.