The ‘C word’ That Is Sabotaging Every Diet You Try
Got your attention with that headline, didn’t I?
And off the bat, the C word is actually not carbs.
I’ve gone on enough rants about how most people get a bit caught up in carbs.
So not for today.
I have a different C word.
That was brought up while I was attending a seminar on successful long-term weight loss just last week.
The C word here is actually ‘control’.
Now, let me elaborate on what I mean.
The presenter mentioned a really interesting study.
Where this group of researchers wanted to study the effect of having people diet for a few weeks, then go off it.
Then resume again.
The cadence was 3 weeks on, 2 weeks off.
They were testing to see what the negative effects would be from those breaks.
Funny thing is, their study failed miserably!
They predicted that the ‘diet breaks’ would cause the participants to stop their results and regain the weight.
But in the end, it made no difference!
They lost on average 6-7kg’s in 13 weeks.
Yep, while going ‘off’ the diet every few weeks for 2 weeks at a time.
Here’s what they drew as very interesting conclusions.
Firstly, because the participants were ‘allowed’ to go off the diet, they viewed it as part of the program.
They felt like it was planned, so they were still succeeding.
They felt in control, even if they ate a little more.
Secondly, once again because they were allowed to have these breaks, they actually didn’t blow out too much.
Instead of eating everything in site, they just ate with a bit more freedom and that was it.
This is a REALLY important concept and my main theme here.
Because what I see most often is the opposite of this.
When people are trying to be too strict, then lose the plot, they go into what’s called ‘disinhibition’
Which means, once they ‘fall off the bandwagon’ on their plan, they go nuts.
A few unplanned biscuits become 4 glasses of wine and half a pizza.
It’s this complete swing from full perfection to ‘who gives a shit’ mode.
Which is associated with that initial strictness, by the way.
But this disinhibition then causes such a big blowout that it undoes all the hard work preceding it.
Often leaving said person frustrated and angry with themselves.
Which can lead to an even stricter new approach, until that fails, and this cycle continues.
But, in the study mentioned above, this wasn’t the case.
And the difference was they felt control around those break weeks.
Rather than unplanned lapses in will-power.
Which meant they didn’t reach ‘disinhibition’ and instead stayed fairly mindful.
So the takeaway is this.
Choose consciously when you’ll have periods of enjoying yourself more.
So you still feel in control.
Like it was part of the plan.
Now of course, you still want to be seeing results over a short-medium timeframe.
If month after month nothing is changing then chances are it’s 1 too many ‘controlled’ enjoyments.
But if your progress is going steady, allow yourself to have a tactical enjoyable meal, day or few days.
Knowing it’s perfectly fine.
Then resume the plan to keep the progress going.
From the research (and I agree anecdotally from clients) this is a much higher chance of being successful long-term.
Instead of that demoralising cycle of losing a bit, lose control, gain it back, come back stricter.
Which is not the way anyone should go through life and their health goals.
The Body Shapers