I was sitting at lunch with gal pals recently and the subject of losing weight came up in conversation. Not surprising, is it, considering that 45 million of us diet each year. Then I received an email about the book “Fat Loser! Mental Toughness Training for Dieters” by Steven Siebold. No, he’s not a doctor or health care provider. He is a former professional athlete who says he got lazy and gained 40 pounds after his playing days were over. It wasn’t until he started studying the mental side of performance—call it “toughness”—and weight loss that he lost that weight and got fit again.
He’s right about this. When you talk about dieting, even just in passing, what you say and how you say it can affect your subconscious in ways that simply aren’t helpful. Decide to talk the talk, because you are tough enough for weight loss.
Eliminate the following from your vocabulary, says Siebold:
- Diets don’t work. Just because an individual lacks the mental toughness to stick to a diet doesn’t make the diet any less effective, he says. Make a decision to stop treating your diet like a hobby and start treating it like a battle you must win.
- Big is beautiful. We’ve been sold a bogus bill of goods with “feel good” marketing schemes that say things like: “Big is beautiful.” “You’re just big boned.” “You’re ‘pleasantly plump.’” Stop acting delusional and start operating from objective reality. There’s nothing good about fat.
- One bad meal won’t make me fat. You may be able to cheat a little when you become fit, but in the beginning, you must commit to all-out massive action. Success is about sticking to the goal no matter what. You wouldn’t cheat on your spouse in a committed relationship so don’t cheat on something as important as your diet.
- I can start over on Monday. Stop letting yourself off the hook. Stop starting over and telling yourself you’ll do it next time. There is no next time, only this time right now. If you keep letting yourself off the hook by succumbing to cravings, peer pressure, emotional swings and other distractions, you’ll continue to run in circles.
- I just don’t have the willpower: Willpower is the foundation of successful dieting, and everyone has it. Some people just have to dig deeper. You have to get tough and hold your feet to the fire. When you feel those late-night hunger pangs and cravings, experience them fully. Embrace the pain, stare it down and look it straight in the eye. That’s the feeling of victory telling you if you can do this, you can do anything. When you embrace the pain and the discipline required to continue, you’ll start looking in the mirror and seeing the person you really are and were always meant to be.
- Diets are so boring: Dieting might not be your normal kind of fun, but yes, it is fun when you succeed. Isn’t it fun thinking how sexy you’re going to look next time you hit the pool or the beach? Isn’t it fun to buy a tight pair of jeans and slide them right on without having to inhale and hold your breath? What about attending your high school reunion and being proud of the way you look? How about reigniting the sex drive you had when you were fit?
So, before you begin your weight-loss journey, ask yourself: “Am I tough enough?” Of course you are. Remember, says Siebold, that the diet isn’t failing you if it’s not working. You’re failing you, but you don’t have to. As with anything, it all comes down to YOU.