Updated: Dec 2, 2021
Did you know that the diet industry (yes weight loss management is an industry now) is estimated to be worth between $60 to $72 billion in 2020? Wow! That’s a good industry to be in, isn’t it? There isn’t a week when you don’t hear about a new book, diet plan, weight loss product, or some form of weight management technique. It would appear that when it comes to losing weight we have it all figured out.
So, if there is so much help out there why the obesity rates are on the rise, and you see more and more overweight and unhealthy people on the streets? Why $60 billion industry has not made you lose those unwanted kilos?
A lot of us will put the lack of success with losing weight on our poor motivation. But is it really your motivation to blame? Let’s take a closer look at why going on a diet won’t make you lose weight.
Why are we so obsessed with weight?
Almost everyone I know talks about losing weight. It seems like we are obsessed with our kilograms either we have an excess of them or not. I have a friend who has been on a diet since I can remember. She’s not overweight, her BMI is within healthy norm, and looking at her you would never say she needs to be on ‘a diet’. When I asked her why she’s dieting, her response was that she needs to lose a few kilos!
Psychologists will put the responsibility on media and our popular culture, where the image of healthy, prosperous, successful, and of course rich person is being skinny.
So, the question you need to ask yourself is why are you so obsessed with losing weight? Do you need to lose weight because you are at risk of becoming unhealthy? Or are you chasing after an image from glossy magazines which you put into your head as a measure of success?
Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with wanting to shave off a few kilos if that makes you healthier and feeling better as a result. If you feel better about your look and about yourself thanks to losing weight, go for it.
But you see, there is a deeper underlying motive with losing weight, or rather lack of success with losing weight, you face each time you come on or off a diet.
Why you can’t lose the kilos
So, you went on yet another diet, but you can’t seem to lose the extra kilos. As a health and wellness coach, I can say straight away why this didn’t work. Depriving yourself of food and putting yourself on a rigid exercise routine won’t make you love your new life (notice how each new diet asks you to eliminate an entire group of foods). If after your diet program finished you went back to your old habits, you haven’t changed anything. Your weight loss will be temporary and the kilos will return. The same way you returned to your old activities.
Losing weight can be tricky because to lose kilos means to lose the guilt of who you became. It’s very hard to accept that you put on weight and this is who you are now. Did you give yourself permission to change? Did you accept that this is who you are now but that’s OK because you’re capable of doing something about it? If not, you may need to have some tough conversation with yourself.
Because acceptance is the first step for change to happen.
Your new identity
You see, sometimes it may be hard to stick with your diet because you haven’t changed your identity.
All of us identify ourselves with certain images. We create a persona of who we are. This way we know how to behave, what to wear, what to eat and how to make decisions. You become that person from the image you carry in your head.
You can’t stick to your diet, exercise program or quit smoking because you haven’t created a new identity yet. Do you see yourself as a person with those extra kilos or a skinny one? Do you identify yourself as a smoker or as a person who used to smoke but doesn’t anymore? Do you identify yourself as an active person who exercises or a person who never has time and energy to be active?
To set yourself for a success, you need to start identifying yourself with the new you, the healthier you, the happier you. Give yourself permission to create a new persona and stop identifying yourself with the old one. Because the old identity only holds you back.
If the numbers have taught us anything, it’s that diets don’t work. There may be some weight management techniques which work for you now, you may stay off the weight for a little longer the next time around but how sustainable it is?
For any change to last, it has to be incorporated into your lifestyle. That would mean some habit changes, some environment tweaks, and some serious mindshift.
You need to give yourself some tough love and accept that you have become somebody different to what you imagined you would be. Accepting who you became and giving yourself permission to change may just do the trick with keeping you off the scale.
Let’s create a new identity, of the skinner you, happier you, active you, and healthier you. Carry your daily activities and yourself throughout the eyes of your new identity. Once you identify yourself with the new you, you will not be relying on the newest diet book, calories counting system, or another weight management technique. Your obsession with losing kilos will no longer be an obsession.
So, tell me what’s your new identity going to be?
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