There are plenty of nutritionists that can tell you what you need to eat in order to lose weight, but there are very few if any that can tell you how to change the way you eat without burning yourself out and quitting. This is one of the biggest problems with the diet industry today, which is one of the main reasons why 95% of the people who lose weight, end up regaining the weight back.
Before I can explain to you how to best change your eating habits, you need to be aware that 95% of your day is run by your subconscious mind. In other words 95% of the time you run on habitual behaviors.
The reason you conscious mind only runs 5% of your day is that it has very limited processing power. Basically, your conscious mind can only do one thing at a time, and by having your subconscious mind run most of your day with its almost unlimited processing power, it frees up your conscious mind for more important tasks like enjoying life.
The reason this is very important to know is that it perfectly explains why with most diets people are unable to achieve sustainable weight loss. Let me explain.
As I just said, your conscious mind can only do one thing at a time. So, if you are following some diet, and the diet has instructed you to eat a certain number of calories per meal, or that your carbs should be under a certain number you have to consciously figure out the number of calories the meal has, or if you are counting carbs, the number of carbs your meal contains.
My question to you is this. If your conscious mind is busy with figuring out the number of calories or carbs the meal has, what is your conscious mind not doing? Is not focusing on simply enjoying the meal, which means you get less pleasure from your meals and over time this can lead to burnout.
The key to sustainable weight loss is to train your subconscious mind to make all the right choices when it comes to your diet, just like in healthy regions around the world. If you look at healthy regions around the world, people don’t have to think about their diet. Eating all the right stuff and in the right amounts, is a habitual behavior.
So, if you want to lose weight and keep it off, the question you should be asking is not just about what healthy eating behaviors I need to have in order to lose weight, but how can I make the new healthy eating behaviors habitual so I can engage in those behaviors with little on no conscious thought.
The answer is very simple. Work on developing one new healthy habit at a time. This is the best way to develop new habitual behaviors.
For example. Let say after you analyzed your diet, you came to the conclusion that the 4 things you needed to do in order to lose weight, were, the following. You needed to cut down on the amount of junk food you ate, you needed to learn to eat much slower and more mindfully, you needed to eat more fruits and vegetables and you needed to cut down on the amount of food you ate per meal. Instead of trying to change all 4 behaviors at once, as most diets do, pick just one of those behaviors and start working on it.
So, let’s say the eating habit you chose to work on first is cut down the amount of junk food that you eat. So your goal is to develop the habit of not eating any junk food Monday through Friday. Only on the weekends, you can have junk food.
I don’t expect that you can do this cold turkey. One way you can do it, is each week, Monday through Friday, try to have less junk food than the previous week. You do this and sooner or later you will have stopped having junk food during the week. I do expect that you will have to fight off some cravings but because this is the only eating habit you need to work on, it will be much easier to resist, and I am speaking from personal experience. This is how I was able to eliminate eating junk food during the week. Today you can offer me my favorite junk food and if is a weekday it does not even tempt me.
Once you become very comfortable with not eating junk food on the weekdays you can start working on the next eating habit. Again, until the new eating habit becomes habitual and very little conscious thought is required to engage in it, don’t work on anything else.
You see, by only introducing one new behavior in your life at a time, you will have a much easier time sticking with it long enough until it becomes habitual.
The more new behaviors you introduce at once, the longer it will take you to make those new behaviors habitual and the more uncomfortable you will feel as you are trying to develop them, thus the greater the chance of burning out before the new behaviors become habitual.
Yes, there is a downside to working on one new behavior at a time, which is the fact that it might take you a little longer before you start seeing weight loss. But my question to those of you who want fast results at any cost is this. What is the point of losing weight fast, if you are going to regain the weight back? Won’t you rather take a little extra time and lose weight the right way and never have to worry about your weight again? Besides, working on one habit at a time it only seems slower, but in reality is the fastest way to lose weight because you only need to do it once. I know people who have been trying to lose weight the fast way for years and they are still overweight.
Most diets have chosen to approach weight loss the fast way, by having people make all the necessary changes in their eating habits all at once and look at where that has gotten us. 95% of people who lose weight end up regaining the weight back.
I would admit that the whole process of changing one eating habit at a time does require a certain mindset, which includes having the patience to wait for the results. The good news is that everyone can develop that mindset. When people come to me for help to lose weight and get in shape, the first thing I do is teach them about the mindset they need to have in order to approach weight loss the right way.
I am currently working on an online course the would teach people how to develop the right mindset for sustainable weight loss and how to best make changes in your daily behaviors, so those changes will last. It’s a short course that I think everyone should take before they start their next weight loss or diet program. It will make a huge difference in their ability to keep the weight off after they lose it.
If you would like to be notified when the online course is available, send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and put “Mindset program” in the subject line.