Why Dieting Doesn’t Work

Have you ever procrastinated for an exam, crammed the night before and performed well on the test the next day? I’m sure you have! Good for you! However, one week later, if someone asked you to recite back the material you had learned, could you? There is a less likely chance. So, why is this?

When we are focused on one single goal and put all of our energy into achieving this goal, we are spent when the goal is reached. We cram all of this information in our head to get that A on the exam, but have zero commitment to retaining the information once we have obtained what we wanted.

Similarly with dieting, we are so focused on the short-term goal of losing 10 pound by the end of the month, for example, we are not focusing on the long-term of sustaining that weight.

This is why dieting doesn’t work.

How often do you hear family, friends, those in the workplace disappointed that they cannot lose weight or if they lose weight, they gain it right back. It is because of this lack of focus on the long-term, and too much of a focus on the short-term.

Rather than dieting, we must strive to maintain a sustainable, healthy lifestyle, and this is the ONLY WAY to guarantee we can keep that weight off.

Believe me when I tell you, in the past, I have tried every diet known to man and with much success, in fact. Conversely, though proven to be successful, I promised I would never “diet” ever again. It is not the problem of the “diet” but the term itself has a connotation that implies, “I just have to do X for X period of time and then I will be happy.” It is a destructive way of thinking and cyclical.

Would we rather live this life of being seasonally fit and seasonally happy with ourselves, or would it be more productive to develop long-term lifestyle that will ensure we will never have to diet ever again?

You tell me.

It took me a long time to realize why I was unhappy with my body, and it was because of this cyclical mentality. For months I would diet and obtain the “perfect body” for summer, spring break, my birthday, but thereafter, you will find you are only more disappointed when that goal is obtained and you are not putting in the equivalent effort to maintain it.

Let’s start this journey together.

The first step in changing our lifestyle to lose or maintain weight, is the simple promise to ourselves that we are not dieting, we are adjusting our lifestyle for our health. That mentality alone should relieve the pressure that dieting inherently produces. And in turn, the depression and disappointment it ultimately results in.

Secondly, let’s take a look at what we consume during the day, and assess what is a craving and what is a reasoned food choice. We will simply want to recognize these moments of weakness and resist them one at a time, day by day. You will quickly see that very resistance will encourage you the next time, proving that you ARE capable of abstaining from that doughnut, pounds cake, or cookie. You go!

Lastly, it is the simple fact of perpetuating these habits and always looking for new ways to educate ourselves on food and health, and actively look for new ways to improve our lifestyle.

This should all get you excited to begin your new LIFESTYLE! The weight may not come off as quickly, but patience is key to any great product. Always remember the old saying, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” And honestly, if it had been, perhaps it may have collapsed much sooner than later. Okay, sorry for the mediocre collapse-of-the-Roman-Empire joke.

Begin with these small steps. Update on your progress. If you find yourself in a moment of weakness, don’t worry! Just let it go, and keep going! You got it.

An Introverted Advantage

Though I have been trying not to hard-define myself as such, I am an “introvert” by nature. What I mean by this is to not allow for “introvert” to be my identity and put me in a box to make me fearful of opportunities I may perceive to exclusively be for “extroverts.” It goes back to the post about “Introverted Networking” (posted 3.23.18). It had been too scary and too out-of-character for me to attend these meetings, I believed, making every reason for why I do not belong there and should not go.

The typical characteristics of an introvert are shy, quiet and uncomfortable around people or crowded settings. Others possessive of these traits are often most comfortable alone or with limited human interaction. Networking events, being the exact opposite of this setting, are deemed to be inherently for extroverts. This is by no means an argument to say organizers of networking events should make gatherings smaller, quieter, or with less social interaction to make the introverted feel comfortable… NEVER! On the other hand, it is rather to say it is the responsibility of the introverted to transform this fear into an opportunity to grow outside their comfort zone.

This is what I will call the introverted advantage. For the extroverted people, who are often more confident in loud, talkative settings, these events might be no big deal. They are comfortable and might even thrive in an environment where they are expected to talk to strangers. However, this lack of discomfort does not allow for them to benefit from a networking event in the way it would an introvert. Perhaps an extrovert’s “uncomfortable” setting is a place where they have to be quiet, alone and isolated from others! Being in this place would, conversely, challenge them to be outside out their comfort zone. For the record, I speak of only the introverted advantage because this is all I personally know. I do not think I am equip to speak for the extroverted advantage, for example, so extroverts comment below! Let me know!

Back to the introverted advantage… As I see it from my experience, there are often more times we will be stuck in uncomfortable conversations, attend awkward parties and have to speak in group settings in a work environment, than there will be opportunities to be alone. For this reason, I find the organic functions of the day-to-day have more opportunities for the introverted to grow! All my life I simply wished I was more outgoing, beating myself up for being awkward in social situations. I was unable to see these events as opportunities, and instead, they were burdens. I can now see that my nature is more of an advantage than a disadvantage. If we are not challenging our own comfort, we are not changing. Once again, I do not encourage anyone to define themselves and label themselves as an introvert or extrovert, morning person or night person, shy or outgoing too rigidly due to the opportunity cost which may come with the inability to recognize discomfort as a chance to grow. On the other hand, let us search for these opportunities to be uncomfortable and get outside our comfort zone.