The most important, overlooked, never talked about weight loss tip is probably something you never thought about.
There are a lot of articles of weight loss focusing on doing certain things.
- Eat clean
- Drink more water.
- Exercise more
I am not putting down those tips because they are all part of the solution but they don’t get to the heart of the issue.
Most eating and diet plans will work. Why then, do most people fail to to lose weight?
You can’t stay on it.
Pretty simple but that is not the tip I have for you.
The tip is to align your eating with your personality type.
There is a great book called, “Better than Before: What I learned about Making and Breaking Habits” by Gretchen Rubin, that explores why we have trouble making habits that stick. It is a great book and I highly recommend you read it. Her premise is that you are born with a set personality that fall into four categories. We are all belong to at least one of the groups. So if your personality is set at a young age, it doesn’t make sense to try and be someone you aren’t nor does it make sense to try and do something that doesn’t line up with your personality. Trying to force a habit through sheer willpower is doomed for failure and will make your life miserable in the process. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Stay with me here.
All or Nothing versus Moderators.
Given a habit, you will be one or another.
All or nothing people have to be 100% in to achieve their goal. For example, the ex-smoker that knows if he/she has a cigarette they won’t be able to stop. So for them, total 100% abstinence from smoking is the only way they can be successful. My Mom is like that.
Moderators have a different approach. Being told they can never do something again fires off their sense of rebellion. They want the freedom of indulging every once in a while because they can do that without going overboard. Using the previous example, they may have a cigarette every once in a while but it isn’t a big deal.
Here is where it can get tricky. You can be an “All or Nothing” for one habit and a “Moderator” for another.
Here is an example from my life. You can apply this to weight loss.
Cardio- an example of All or Nothing.
I don’t mind doing cardio, in fact I like it when I do it. However, it never seems to be a priority for me. In the past I had a schedule of running 3-4 days a week and I failed miserably at it. Something would always come up and I put it off. Not good, especially if you are getting ready to do some long and ugly races life the half-marathon in the picture.
I had to finally admit I was not a “moderator” when it comes to running. I am an “all or nothing”. So I created the 100 day Cardio Challenge for myself, which I am at day 99 of this writing.
Wasn’t that hard to do? Not really.
I set a baseline of a minimum of 30 minutes of cardio a day either running, on a treadmill, elliptical or bike.
I asked myself if that was doable and I thought it was. That is really all there is to it.
- Is this in your personality to commit to doing something every day?
- Don’t worry about the maximum requirements but are the minimum requirements doable?
If you can honestly say yes to both of these questions, you are good to go.
Did I ever not feel like doing it? Yes, but it would have been embarrassing to me to break the streak after a week or two. Once you get in the 40’s and up you have to ask yourself, “Am I really going to skip a day because I feel a little tired? If I don’t do this, how will I feel about myself in the morning?”
By the way, that is a great question to always ask yourself.
“If I don’t do this, how will I feel about myself in the morning?”
So in 99 days I have lost 15 pounds without intending to, Shaved 1:15 off my fastest mile time and am in the best cardio shape of my life. Not bragging, just saying this works.
The Elimination Diet- an example of moderation
I have some allergies to food I didn’t know about that were causing massive inflammation in my body. So to get the inflammation under control, you do what is called an elimination diet which means you cut out all the food you like to eat for 6-8 weeks to heal the body.
In my case I have to eliminate:
- Dairy (milk, cheese…)
- Gluten (anything with wheat in it)
- Legumes (beans, peanuts etc…)
Any this is a very hard way for some people to eat, including me. If you tell me I will never be able to eat a donut again, something in the back of my brain starts to rebel will sabotage the process. I know myself. Don’t tell me what to do. In talking with the Doctor, I asked if pretty good would be good enough. Say 90% compliance. He was okay with that and that was the key for me.
I don’t have to be 100%, I just have to be pretty good. My brain likes that idea.
I have given myself the freedom to go off plan every once in a while because I know I can limit the damage. If I am craving a jelly donut, I am 100 % sure I can eat 1 or 2 and not end up eating 6 or 8. Good enough.
Funny enough, I have been testing this out and I really am not craving those things anymore.
I have been on this diet for 2 weeks and have come to a couple realizations.
- Most of the time “that food” doesn’t taste all that great anyway.
- If I can smell it, sometimes that is good enough.
Here is an example, we are at this sports bar and I can’t find anything remotely gluten-free on the menu I want to eat. So I order a cheeseburger. Why not, I have been good all week. So the cheeseburger comes and I look at it. I smell the bun which has gluten. Not that great of a bun. Not that fresh and not really toasted right. Basically a very mediocre bun. Do I really want to eat that? Is this average,bland bun going to give me anything of value?
Nah, so I take it off and throw it to the side. Once the bun comes off, the cheese looks gross, so it comes off. Now I have a meal that fits the guidelines and I don’t feel deprived. Moral victory.
Bottom line on weight loss
The point is, I value having a choice in some areas of my life and I like not having a choice in others.
Figure out how to make the habit fit your personality and you have a greater chance of success.
Try and change your personality to make a habit work and you are doomed.
If you need a little help with this stuff, I offer online and in home personal training and coaching. Click here for more information or fill out the form below.