Why You Can’t Rely On Others To Help You Lose Weight

change diets don't work thoughts willpower Nov 28, 2021

At Joan's latest visit she was frustrated and angry at her husband and older son, who still lives at home, as she felt they were sabotaging her efforts to lose weight.

'They refuse to not buy all the foods I can't resist,' she told me. 'They eat them in front of me, tempting me and of course I give in. Why can't they be more considerate?'

While I absolutely agree that eating well is easier when others around us are also doing so, we neither need to, nor should rely on others to do for us what we need to do for ourselves.

In this world we live in, our land of plenty, you are always going to encounter food that tempts you. Let's face it, food is everywhere, with easier access and more choice than ever before in history. It's impossible to think that you will never be confronted by temptation somewhere in your life. So saying 'no,' resisting and using willpower is not a long-term strategy if you want to eat well and especially if wanting to let go of excess weight.

So what do you do instead?

See what your desire to eat really is. And that is, just a thought.

It sounds compelling, meaningful even.

I want it...

But it tastes so good...

I'll just have one....

But you're trying to eat better, so you try to squash the thought with more thoughts.

No, I'm being good... or

But I'm trying to lose weight.... or

You'll regret it....

Thing is, thoughts aren’t necessarily crushed by new thoughts falling on top of them. In fact, just the opposite is more likely to occur.

Those thoughts that you were trying to dispel become stronger when showered with attention and met with resistance. Research even shows that what we focus on is mentally activated and strengthened.

In other words, you just boost the neural firing that produces thoughts about eating your favourite food making them stronger and more persistent.

When we dismiss a thought or an urge, thereby removing our attention from it, the neural firing that produces that thought or urge decreases.

So arguing with or trying to suppress your original thoughts just puts a whole lot more attention on that food you're trying your best to not eat. And more attention doesn’t make those original thoughts - or the food - go away. 

In fact, it actually makes things worse.

But you don't need to do anything as thoughts are temporary. They fade on their own.

So it’s not about managing your family, other people in your life, or what food comes into your house. It’s about managing your mind - your thoughts - about that food. As that is what is creating the temptation.
 
And it's realising that food actually has no power over you.
 
Food has absolutely no power over you. Even when it's sitting right in front of you.

You always hold the power and choice over food and what you choose to do with it.

It's time to take that power back.

Photo credit: Alex Iby unsplash.com

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