Dieting and the Weight Loss Lottery

Do you ever play the lottery? Me either.

With the exception of the occasional ticket purchase at a gas station on the way to the beach, it doesn’t occur to me to play.

Chances are, it doesn’t occur to you either — probably because you learned growing up that you have to work to make a living and that you don’t get something for nothing. Yes, it would be nice to win and have all that extra cash. But you aren’t desperate to play every week, hoping for the big payout that would eliminate all your problems.

You know from experience that money doesn’t solve problems. You know that money is what shows up as a result of good financial habits and the confidence that comes with practicing them. The lottery player has never learned how to make money, manage it, or be in control of it. It’s someone who is desperate and wants a magic money pill to fix things. And what happens when they win? They lose it all.

Dieting to lose weight is no different. You want a quick fix, a magic weight-loss pill (which you literally can go out and buy), and you’re expecting that losing weight will make your life better. Actually, weight loss isn’t really what you want. What you want is the perfect life you think it will bring.

Believing that losing weight will change your life is an indicator of what’s wrong on the inside. This is what needs to be fixed. Diets won’t fix it, because they only address what’s wrong on the outside — a symptom of the problem. And dieting creates massive resistance, which makes the whole process backfire.

When you diet, you are defeated before you even start. You have already “failed,” as evidenced by the excess weight on your body. And that is what you focus on — the thing you hate and want to get rid of. This feeling creates nothing but resistance. And when you feel it, you neutralize it by doing what you usually do to feel better: eat. And the cycle starts all over.

When you diet, you have to make a ton of big changes, all at the same time, and in no time at all. Making these huge, sweeping changes isn’t sustainable. So the pressure gets to be too much, and you revert back to your old habits — which you’ve never learned to change and which produce the very thing you’re trying to eliminate. This failure magnifies your inner critic that tells you what a loser you are and how disgusting you look and how you’ll never be able to lose the weight. Resistance at its worst.

Finally, when you diet, you have someone telling you what to do instead of taking action yourself. Taking responsibility for your life and making your own changes reinforces the enormous power you have within you. When you diet, you give all your power away — turning you into someone who feels like she has no control over her life.

The weight is there for a reason. You’ll stay stuck until you figure out what that reason is. Dieting over and over will never change anything, because by doing this you’re trying to fix a symptom of the problem rather than the problem itself.

The weight is there because of your unique drivers that make you eat the way you do. You have to change the thoughts that make you eat this way, because they lead to habits that create the excess weight. You have to be willing to go through the process of trial and error that results in thought change and habit change and learn from the insights you gain during the process. And during this process, you start to see yourself differently and become who you were meant to be. This, not weight loss, is what changes your life.

Money doesn’t bring the lottery player a better life, because the lottery player’s problem isn’t the lack of money. It’s her belief that having money will solve her problems. And losing weight won’t give you a better life, because weight isn’t the problem. It’s your belief that losing weight will solve yours.

You can’t diet your way to a better life — but you can get the life you want by using what you already have inside you to create it.

Change How You Think This Week

When you catch yourself saying things like “I have to” or “I need to,” change them to “I can” or “I want to.” What you say — to yourself and especially out loud — is powerful.

Doing this helps you reframe the situation and how you feel. The first way makes you feel like you’re failing before you even start. The second makes you feel in control, that you’re making a choice — which makes it easier to change your behaviors.

Change What You Do This Week

Instead of trying not to do something unhealthy, choose to do something healthy, that makes you feel energized. Avoiding something creates resistance — taking action creates momentum.

Doing something is always easier than trying not to do something. For example, trying not to eat potato chips is so much harder than choosing to eat an orange or deciding to take a walk.

 

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