Diet Mystery? Not Really (Part 1 of 2)

The Easy Part is Knowing What to Do

Given the number of conflicting diet books out there, one might think that there is some confusion about what to do.

In fact, we all know what to do: “Eat [real] food, not too much…” (Michael Pollan). We also know that moving more helps too; though, mostly with other health benefits since exercise is a small part of weight loss.

So why so many diet books? I suspect the reason is that even though we know what to do, finding the right mindset and then applying a process to weight loss are the two key steps missing from most “diet” approaches. Specifically, the books mostly focus on telling you what to eat but not on how to change your thinking and habits.

This two part series will focus on both of those issues. In Part 1 we will focus on mindset.

Shift Your Mindset, or Any Approach Can Work

Let me weigh in on the low carb-vs-low fat debate: both sugar and fat can cause obesity.

So either going low-carb or low-fat can work to help you lose weight. The hard part of weight loss is shifting your thinking about food.

No Magic Bullets

There are no magic bullets, or special techniques, that will make it easier or faster to lose weight long term.

Whatever approach you pick to lose weight you will need to repeat it day-in and day-out. As you keep at it, it will get easier; however, it may always feel like work for you personally depending on your personal weight-related, emotional demons.

More succinctly, it’s a lifestyle not a diet; you will need to be able to envision yourself practicing these approaches for the rest of your life.

Figure Out Your Why

Borrowing a phrase from Weight Watcher’s “Beyond the Scale” program, figure out your “why.” Your why is the deeper, or real, reason you are working to lose weight. It’s more than “just lose weight.”

For me, I realized my weight loss why was about being able to breath easily, what my doctors thought was asthma was just fat getting in the way.

To be clear, it can sound corny. But figuring it out is key, particularly when you need to push through the inevitable bumps in the road of your weight loss journey.

One Day at a Time

Continuing our mindset shifting journey, the next place to borrow from is an Alcoholics Anonymous program slogan. Here we rephrase it as “take your weight loss journey one day at a time.” Heck, take it one meal at a time. Or even one bite at a time.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it’s easy to beat ourselves up if we go off track from our plan. Reminding yourself that tomorrow, or the next meal, or even the next bite is a blank slate can help with recommitting to the intention to weight loss.

Moving Towards Action

With some hacks in place for shifting our thinking about weight loss, the next step is to put some ideas into action. In part 2, we’ll explore how to apply the principles of design thinking to our weight loss journey and towards effectuating habit changes that will support your weight loss journey.