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I want to (No, I need to) lose weight. But there's a problem...
I know what to do, I just don’t do it!
I know I need to eat healthier.
I know to stay away from those late night sweets.
And, I know I need to exercise.
And to make matters worse, I don't know WHY.
I’m betting you’ve said something like, “I know what to do, I just don’t do it.”
When someone asks me why they’re not taking action, it’s inevitably followed by this question:
“What’s wrong with me?”
I’m here to say that there is nothing wrong with you. There are so many others that feel the same way you feel now.
Today, you’re going to learn what’s holding you back. And, by the time we're finished, you'll know exactly how to fix it.
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Are you ready?!
Me too, BUT before we jump in, let's take a quiz.
(I love quizzes, don’t you?)
All you have to do is fill in the blank or answer the question:
1.) For breakfast, I like two eggs, bacon, and a slice of ____.
2.) On a BLT, the bacon, lettuce, and tomato go between two slices of ____.
3.) I like to spread honey on my ____ in the morning.
4.) What do you put into a toaster?
What was your answer to number 4?
Was it "toast"?
If so, the right answer is "bread." Toast is what you get out of a toaster.
If you got the answer wrong, don't worry. Most people do.
(I missed it my first time too.)
Now, here’s what’s interesting.
We know the answer is bread, but why do so many people answer incorrectly?
In short, it’s because you were set up. One could even say you were set up TO FAIL.
(Is this starting to sound familiar?)
Here’s what happened:
I prepped you with three statements where the right answer was "toast."
And those three questions created a pattern that your brain recognized.
And once the pattern was established, your brain took over and did the rest.
You: Okay, okay, you got me. But what does any of this have to do with diet and exercise?
The actions we take are almost always based on the patterns and habits that we’ve built. Many that we can trace back to our childhood.
Do you ever wonder why it's so dang hard to leave food on your plate?
How about why you crave pizza when things start to get stressful?
It's because we spend our entire lives building patterns, habits, and associations.
Many of us refuse to leave food on our plates because you weren't allowed to leave the kitchen table until your plate was sparkling clean.
Maybe you crave pizza when you are stressed because it brings back feelings of comfort and familiarity from when you were a child.
With habits and routines, your brain knows what to expect, and they drive us towards choices. Sometimes without us even realizing what we are actually doing.
I had a client explain it to me like this,
“When I binge, it feels like an out-of-body experience. Like I literally have no control over what I’m doing. I’m just a passenger along for the ride.”
So, even when you know WHAT you should do, your brain doesn't always agree.
Here is another pattern.
Let's imagine that every night after dinner, you have a dessert.
Monday = Dessert
Tuesday = Dessert
Wednesday = Dessert
Thursday = ____
There's a definite pattern here, and it is pretty obvious what we should fill in next to Thursday, right?
But, let's stop for a moment and travel back in time.
It's Wednesday night, and you just finished your after-dinner ice-cream.
But today, you decide NO MORE!
It's time to get back on track and take this diet seriously. No more ice-cream. Ever!
Now, back to Thursday.
You just finished dinner.
What does your body want right now? And,
What are your cravings telling you that you need?
That you want dessert, right?
And, THIS is the situation we find ourselves in.
We know what to do: Don't make a bowl of ice cream.
But, our body has other plans.
And our thoughts go to:
I really want something sweet.
Skipping is going to be hard. Tonight isn't a good time to start. And,
Okay. One bowl, but tomorrow...tomorrow I'll stop.
Where does this line of thinking lead?
To the familiar, the comfortable... the pattern we have created.
So why do you give in?
Because your body is driving you, and changing direction IS uncomfortable.
But, if you want to break that pattern, can you?
So the REAL question is, If you can break a pattern, what's holding you back?
It is two things:
1.) Fear, and
2.) You don't believe you can do it.
We spend our lives avoiding fear.
We hear the word "fear" a lot, but what is it really?
Fear is a negative emotion, like stress or anxiety. And when we are afraid, we believe there is a threat. Something is coming and we are NOT going to enjoy it - at all!
So a natural response to fear is to dodge the threat and avoid pain and discomfort.
(And this is an important expectation to set.)
Breaking a pattern IS uncomfortable.
Our rational mind knows we need to create a new pattern, but our irrational mind says,
"Hold up a minute! You want to do what? Let's think this through.
You are not going to enjoy this. How about we just wait until tomorrow. Or Monday. Or until the first of the month."
Do you see how fear is holding you back?
And the second reason is...
WHY don't you believe you can?
Let's use your diet as an example.
The reason you don't believe you can is that you've tried 20 diets before and they have ALL failed.
Simply put, you have lost faith in yourself.
Let me ask this...
Would you bet $1,000 that your next diet is the one you are going to stick to for the rest of your life?
Probably not, right?
And that's because we have years of experience telling us diets don't work. Or rather, we don't stick to our diet.
Consider this question...
What would it take for you to feel comfortable betting $1,000 your next diet will stick?
How about $5,000 or $10,000?
You would have to be 100% confident, wouldn't you?
(Keep reading to find out how to become confident in your diet.)
Why do you know what to do, but can't do it?
It's because of fear and a lack of trust.
If you fear discomfort, AND you lack confidence, then, you know what happens next. You will continue doing what you are doing now.
Instead of asking, I know what to do, why can't I do it?
How can I STOP being afraid of doing what I need to do?
And if fear is tied to discomfort, the question we need to ask is,
How can I make changing patterns easier?
A question to you:
What is something you're struggling with right now?
Is it overeating late at night?
Is it having too many sodas throughout the day?
Is it those mid-afternoon cravings?
Whatever your struggle is, the path to action is figuring out how to make it easier.
When the action is easier, we fear it less.
What approach should you take to stop late night eating?
Is it better to,
1. White knuckle your way through and hope willpower kicks in at the right moment?
Or is it,
2. Finding an alternative to the food you are craving?
If you're craving ice-cream, which is something soft, cold, creamy, and smooth.
Think about what else is soft, cold, creamy, and smooth. Maybe a Greek yogurt is a good substitute.
Don't like yogurt?
That's okay. The point is to find a substitute that you are okay with.
And remember: it is not about going from 0 to 100 overnight OR being perfect.
Perfection is the enemy of progress. Right now, we want ACTION.
What is a simple approach we can take here?
1. Going cold turkey and relying on self-discipline to come through in a clutch?
Or is it,
2. Replacing one regular soda with a low-sugar option.
Cutting one soda? What is THAT going to do? I've got 30 pounds to lose.
Oh, I understand. Believe me!
But changing behavior is not an all-in or all-out game. The game you need to play is where we focus on daily progress, not ripping and replacing.
(We've all been down that road and know how it ends.)
Helpful tip: A can of soda has anywhere from 8 to 13 teaspoons of sugar. That means if you drop one drink a day, that within a week you are well on your way to cutting a pound of added sugar.
1. Sit at your desk, wishing you had M&Ms—regretting every second of your decision?
2. Eat some natural sugar. Maybe an apple, banana, or even some berries?
What if you don't like fruit, or just don't like going to the store?
I ask, What CAN you do to make your craving easier?
Right now, think about what you can you do today to change your patterns, to stop fearing discomfort, and to make your diet sustainable (even easy)?
If you want to go from:
"I know what to do, but don't."
"This is something I can see myself doing five years from now."
There is no better way than through daily accountability and support.
With MyBodyTutor, you will have your own coach to help you find the actions holding you back. And help you come up with easy ways to change patterns that you are 100% comfortable with.
Action starts with belief. The belief that what you are doing is sustainable.
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