This is the second post in the series Mental Blocks On The Weight Journey. Diets reinforce a short-term mentality with weight.
So, last week I talked about learned helplessness as the first mental block to success over weight. Today, I want to tackle another biggie on the weight loss spectrum; our “getter’ done” expectations about weight.
The short-term mentality is a modern-day phenomenon. We don’t want to wait for anything and, for the most part, we don’t have to. But with weight, as other things that are still organic elements of the natural world, there is not a quick-fix technological advancement, short of liposuction, that can go in and pull the fat out for us. But unfortunately, that does not mean that people aren’t still searching for it.
I ran a search of the top ten Google key search terms for weight loss. Here they are:
As you can see, searches looking for the quick-fix ranked 5th, 7th and 8th in terms of the most searched terms on Google. Interestingly enough, healthy weight loss ranked number 19.
Ok, so we’ve all done it, we have a wedding or reunion on the horizon and we are desperate to look smashing for the big day, so we launch an all-out attack of excruciating deprivation in order to appear somewhat smaller on the big day. The short-term mentality with weight is based on two faulty premises: that dieting is the essential, best process for losing weight and that you can successfully lose weight overnight and actually keep it off. Let’s break these down a bit.
Faulty Assumption 2: Dieting is the essential, best process for weight loss.
Actually, the term “diet” first surfaced around the 14th century to describe the bread and water regimen given to prisoners. The term became more widespread in the 19th century when food became more plentiful. Historically, up to that point, most people were spending most of their time and energy just trying to get it. I would like to recommend an article I read that really provides some great insight into the history of dieting if you are interested. – Diet Blog
So, here is the point I would like to make at this point (smile…couldn’t resist the little play on words). Dieting, at its core, is based on the idea of deprivation and self-denial. It is not something that most human beings can sustain for the long-term. What’s more, it attaches a negative concept to food by labeling and categorizing it as good and bad. Since quick results can only be accomplished through strict dieting, the short-term mentality ends up being detrimental to long-term, sustainable success with weight.
Faulty Assumption 2: You can actually keep weight off after you lose it quickly.
A lot of research has been done on weight loss and the effects of dieting. Numerous studies confirm that short-term fixes don’t work, primarily because the process of serious calorie restriction actually damages your body’s metabolic process. We basically screw everything up when we try to deny our bodies the fuel they need to run properly. Although, we typically attribute our rapid re-expansion to falling off the wagon, there is often A LOT more going on there than meets the eye.
I ran across an excellent post written by “The Fat Nutritionist,” which really explores the havoc that diets can wreak on your body. I want to share a small excerpt here, but you can follow the link to read the rest of her article for yourself if you are intrigued by the topic.
The usual assumption among non-researchers about why diets fail is that when a dieter regains weight, it must be because they stopped dieting, which is in turn attributed to things like not having enough willpower, personal and moral failure, gluttony and laziness, or being too ignorant to know better.
These are assumptions which reflect the mythology of our culture: that anyone, if they try hard enough, can be anything they want — and therefore that weight is entirely a choice, a product of effort and moral character. This story centres the individual, their behaviour, their character traits, and their moral attributes as the cause of fatness in the first place, and the reason why weight is regained following a diet.
Why Should You Ditch Short-term Your Short-term Mentality with Weight?
According to the CDC, two out of three American adults are either overweight or obese. An article by WebMD places the average American at 23 pounds over his or her ideal body weight. – WedMD
If the recommended rate of safe weight loss is one-to-two pounds per week, we can then assume that a person who wants to take a healthy weight loss approach should expect to take a minimum of twelve weeks to reach his/her weight loss goals.
This period of time can be extremely helpful and motivating if viewed correctly. If you set out on the weight journey expecting it to take as long as it takes, the stress level and compulsion for results is greatly lessened. But even more importantly, an extended period of time gives you the golden opportunity to get your head in the game and assess your assumptions, habits and expectations about food. So, instead of focusing on a goal weight, you could ditch your short-term mentality with weight and set a goal for developing a healthy mindset and attitude about food for the long haul.
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