This blog is about THE # 1 reason that low calorie diets fail. We have been trying to lose weight by restricting our calorific intake for over 50 years. And, well, aherm…there’s an elephant in the room that we are simply not seeing …clearly low cal diets do not work!
It’s an interesting fact that the low fat guidelines were first published in 1977, just as the obesity epidemic began it’s ascent in the UK. I don’t think that is a coincidence one bit!
So what is stopping us from dropping the pounds, and, more importantly, keeping them off?
It’s your Reaching Mechanism…
In one of my recent blogs Accidental weight loss, the only way to lose it for good, I touched on the reason why low calorie diets won’t work for us. It’s a simple, biological reason, that is part of our deep neurology. Back in the 1970’s we knew very little about how dominant our subconscious is. Not only over our behaviour, but also over our nervous system, and more particularly, the Fight or Flight survival system. If we had known more back then, we probably wouldn’t have got into the mess we’re in now.
But the fact is, the Fight or Flight circuit, which is deeply hard-wired into your programming, runs the show. And there really is not very much you can do to change that! Remember- it’s survival, and it’s message over-rides any other thinking you may have going on.
Totally, 100% dominant. Even today. We’re Cave- Girls and Boys at our very heart!
Trying to force your body to do something that your nervous system simply won’t permit would be like telling someone with arachnophobia to stop being silly and pick that big lanky spider out the bath. Or telling a stressed-out mum with 3 screaming kids in the middle of the supermarket to “calm down”…how’s that ever worked out??
Once our Fight or Flight is triggered, we are out of conscious control. It’s a great evolutionary advantage actually. Your survival can’t be left to you and your conscious thoughts. Imagine if a dinosaur was running towards you at a 100 miles an hour…you’re not stopping to wonder if it’s a vegetarian or a meat eater, are you? No. Your brain triggers the Flight, in a millisecond. You don’t even have time to think it through!
So when your body has been starved of calories- what happens then?…
Your survival mechanism kicks in just the same. Only it doesn’t make you run or fight. It make you REACH. Reach for the immediate calories it’s been deprived of. And the more simple the fuel the better. Which is sugar and processed carbs. And this happens in a millisecond as well. Think- lizard with it’s tongue eating a fly- that kind of quick.
Rather than keep on fighting your natural programming, wouldn’t it be far more painless to go with the flow? To give your body and your brain what it wants? To enjoy meals that feel deeply satisfying knowing that your brain and nervous system agree with you? I suppose it would seem like a dream come true if you could actually lose weight that way as well, wouldn’t it?
That’s what happens when you understand what’s really going on in your brain.
Once you do, you can start to use this immensely powerful nervous system of yours.
To enlist it’s help in your weight loss goal. To utilise an amazing, elegantly designed, primal hard-drive that is already installed deeply in your brain’s circuitry.
This hard drive is present for just one reason and that is to help you achieve your goals. It uses neurotransmitters such as dopamine to create a sense of deep pleasure when you achieve a goal.
The evolutionary advantage of this particular part of your brain is to find the food you’ve been foraging for. To spot your prey. Have you ever been strawberry picking? It’s such fun. And the reason why we like shopping for a bargain so much too? Same system! It is an integral part of your own programming….a primal nerve centre that will keep working on auto-pilot, deep in your subconscious.
Once you get a handle on how to rein in its immense strength, you can harness it for your own advantage.
The reason why we can’t force it to work for us when we diet?
Because we have another, opposing system that is even more powerful than your goal-setting one, and it will over-ride and shut down your best efforts at suppressing your body’s need for adequate nutrition- every single time!
Now, it may take a while, it may even take months or years, but eventually your survival mechanisms will catch up with you and force you to stock up on calories you denied your body in the past. It will win…make no bones about it.
So you may say…”I successfully lost a stone a couple of years ago“…but how long was it before you put it back on again? Then I would have to say to you that isn’t successful weight loss…it’s temporary weight loss, followed by the horrible misery of inevitable weight gain.
So let’s do this another way…right now! The reason why your goal setting brain, and survival-based nervous system won’t let you diet is that they operate on completely different time scales.
Goal setting is a long-term pattern of thinking, based on future outcome, whether that’s in an hour, next week or in a year. The goal isn’t necessarily an immediate event.
Survival, however is 180 degrees opposed to that thinking pattern… a sense of immediacy and urgency is activated. This shuts down long term thinking, as it isn’t necessary for immediate survival. So you will always put the long term goals out of your head while you REACH for the biscuit tin, or that packet of crisps or whatever you see as your ‘treat’.
You’re programmed that way, and will-power has nothing to do with it in the end.
The only way to hack the system is to engage the help of BOTH systems, let them work harmoniously together, and your body will take care of the rest. Trust me, it will. But I recognise it can take a leap of faith to try this, so why not see it as an experiment for a couple of weeks, and see how it actually works in action for you?…
It’s All About Insurance Policies…
- FIRST of all, feeding your body the proper nutrition (and by this I mean the fats, proteins and complex carbs) is an Insurance Policy against that irresistible REACHING at a later time. If your body is fed and content, you will have taken yourself automatically out of CRAVE mode and the urge to eat when you’re not hungry will evaporate away.
- KNOWING that the need to REACH is so immediate and urgent, having tactics already planned in advance will be an Insurance Policy that you can take out and use when you need to. Practise using Pause Power. In other words, visualise yourself achieving your long term goal and how excited and proud you’ll feel when you’re there. A clinical study in the 1990’s showed hypnotherapy to be twice as effective for weight loss than diet alone. I created a download that will help you to lock your weight loss goals deep in your subconscious. It will help your motivation too. You can download it here for free to boost your chance of success. Get so familiar with what that feels like, that when it comes to a moment when you feel that REACHING for whatever reason, you are far more likely to ask yourself “Why would I, when I’m so excited about my goal?“
- SUPPOSE you gave yourself permission to joyfully explore all the lovely, satisfying foods out there for you. To relish every single mouthful of your meals. To feel wonderfully alive in a body that you LOVE to inhabit. you know what? The best Insurance Policy of all would be the fact that you would barely twice about the processed, sugary foods. They just wouldn’t be on your radar any more. Your nervous system would be far too busy enjoying herself to even notice all that stuff.
- THAT little rebellious part of you that gets in your own way would be quiet too….why? Because there would be nothing to rebel against! There would be only pleasure without the pain.
- WORKING in harmony with both systems in your brain is the only way to permanently shed the excess pounds. It can only be pleasurable. Getting in synch with your deep pleasure centres will neutralise that survival mechanism that has been on repeat for so long. The one that has been triggering urgent and immediate action to survive at all costs! (And that cost includes your dearly held goal to be in the outfit calling your name from the back of the wardrobe).
- NOTICING every mouthful of your meals, and how wonderfully satisfied you feel afterwards is the short-term reward that will ensure long-term achievement of your goals.
So to summarise: try using this Insurance Policy…
Get off the low fat diet, and embrace the fats, proteins and complex veg. This FOOD CHART is a useful guide for the kinds of foods to eat, and what to avoid. This way of eating promotes sustainable, comforting weight loss. Put this together with listening to the download at least 3 nights a week download at least 3 nights a week, for 1 month and see just how amazingly well it works for you too!
BUY THE BOOK TODAY, on kindle and paperback…