Weight loss is by far the most common goal we come across in our line of work. If I had a pound for every time someone tells us they want to lose weight! Most of our shifters come to us having tried anything and everything to drop the excess weight through the years. Some are even quite resigned to the idea that they simply lack some sort of “healthy weight” gene and that their condition is not one they’ll ever be able to change. Very often they may have even been able to successfully lose weight in the past, but they never managed to effortlessly maintain such weight loss for the rest of their lives.
I’m not sure what is more deflating: not being able to lose the weight or losing it and then putting it back on with interest in half the time it took to get rid of it.
I know what it feels like because I have been there myself. Many times. In fact, too many times. I know exactly what it feels like to be trapped in the loop of diet on-diet off it truly feels like a prison. It feels like you’re miserable no matter what: either you feel constantly hungry, deprived and grumpy for not being able to eat what you want and actually enjoy life OR you feel bloated, self-conscious and often straight-up sick for having let “all rules out the window” and over-indulged without control for days (or weeks, months, years). It feels like your body is failing you, you can’t trust yourself or your instincts, you don’t even know what balance around food even looks like anymore. Maybe you’ve never even experienced a healthy balance around food.
For years I genuinely thought I was one of those people who simply would have never found real peace with food: I thought I just had to continue looking for a diet that actually worked and then master enough will power to stick with it for the rest of my life. Every time I tried something new I would have a surge of enthusiasm in the initial phase which would see me actually achieve results: often because I was coming from a period of extreme overindulgence that left me feeling so bad about myself that I would have done anything to regain some so-called control and a shred of confidence. Inevitably though, such surge of enthusiasm would soon wear off, tinted by the sheer pain and discomfort of hunger and deprivation. Some times this would take weeks or months to happen.
Some times it would merely take days. Every time, however, it would end up the same way: I would allow myself ONE indulgence (either to celebrate the results achieved so far or simply break free from the strict, overexposed rules for one moment only) and that one indulgence would soon turn into two, five, ten, hundreds. And there I was, falling off the proverbial wagon at the speed of light. The fall would then go on for a period of time that was directly proportionate to the amount of bottled up deprivation and hunger I had been experiencing during my “good period”.
This scenario played in my life for longer than I’d like to admit but I have no regrets. Not one. In fact, I believe that my experience on the roller coaster of dieting is by and far my greatest asset in the work that I do with our shifters. This is because I get it. I get how hard it can feel. And most importantly, I know how to put a stop to the madness once and for all. I know because I’ve done it myself and by now I’ve facilitated it enough time with our clients to be able to claim with confidence that what worked for me and them will also work for you.
You see, diets don’t work. They never have and never will. The very underlying principle of dieting is faulty at its root level: the idea that you could follow a plan to get to a goal which you would then want to maintain even after you’re off said plan DOES NOT WORK. In fact, I’ll go one step further and say that changing your eating habits will not get you to lose weight for good. Sure, it may work for a bit. Even years in some instances. But It won’t get you permanent results. Yep, I know a pretty controversial claim for a nutrition consultant to make!
Let me explain myself. I’m not saying that change is not a fundamental part of the journey towards your most fit, healthy and confident self. What I am saying is that change is not the most important part of that journey, nor should it be the end goal.
Change is just a stepping stone and, if done right, one that leads in the direction of your dreams. But if you stop at the level of change, whatever you achieve will not be yours for good. It will just feel like it for a while. This is because change is easily reversible. Sure, you can change your eating habits for a day, a week or a month. But you can as easily (or even more easily) change them back to what they were (or worse) in just as much time or less. That’s why the ultimate goal of any wholistic health and wellness plan should NOT be to change your habits. It should be to transform them.
What’s the difference you may ask? Let me use a metaphor that really works with our shifters: have you ever seen a butterfly going back to becoming a caterpillar? The answer is NO. This is because the caterpillar hasn’t merely changed into a butterfly. It has transformed into one. Transformation, once it takes place, is no longer reversible. It’s for good. There is NO turning back.
Most of the time, I have to use ZERO willpower to stick to my healthy eating and training routine. In fact, it actually takes more energy to steer off it. I don’t have to work hard to resist temptations or avoid foods that I know don’t serve my goals. Foods that I used to eat and really love. Foods that for years I found SO hard to resist and would inevitably binge on during my “off diet” phases. Foods that I even thought I was actually addicted to now have ZERO pull on me. You could put me in a bath full of them and I would feel absolutely zero inclination towards eating them EVEN if I was hungry. In fact, several times I have been stuck on a plane hungry and unprepared (i.e. no healthy snacks in my carry on) and have actually refused any of the free so-called “snacks” they offered me.
This is not because I’m special or have mountains of willpower. It is simply because I did the right work. The work that transformed me into who I am today. The work that went to the root cause of my imbalances and allowed me to finally have the body and life of my dreams. I didn’t change my eating habits, I transformed them. The change took place at the beginning but I went further and deeper. So far that I simply couldn’t come back to where I once was ever again.
I’ll use another metaphor to really drive this concept home: think about your clothes from when you were 10 years old. Would you wear them now? Of course not. They don’t fit you any longer. Same for my old eating habits: they simply don’t fit my life any longer. I’ve long since outgrown them. I will never be going back to the way things were when I was 10 because I haven’t just changed, I have transformed into a different being. It’s for life.
If you’re familiar with our work, you will know that we have been able to identify the three fundamental pillars of health and wellbeing: Focus, Food, and Fitness. The Focus pillar is by and far the most underestimated and under-developed we see in our work with busy professionals but it is also the most important. That’s because transformation can only start at the level of the Focus pillar but once it happens there, it will permeate ALL areas of life, including of course Food and Fitness. If you’ve been struggling to achieve the results you’re after or struggling to maintain them for good, I am 99% certain that this has to do with a lack of strategy at the level of the Focus pillar.
If you’d like to asses this with more certainty, you can take our FREE score test on www.wholeshiftwellness.com/scorecard and then review the comprehensive and bespoke PDF report you will receive (please check your spam folder!).
You’re not weak. You’re not broken. You’re not hopeless and most importantly, you don’t lack willpower. You simply lack a strategy and know-how but guess what, it is NEVER too late to learn new skills! #maketheshift