Ninety-five percent of diets fail. I found this incredible fact in the April issue of American Psychologist (the journal of the American Psychological Association) in which they published a study conducted at UCLA. The study found that even after initial weight loss, 95 percent of dieters gain the weight back—and then some.
" We found that the majority of people regained all the weight, plus more. Sustained weight loss was found only in a small minority of participants, while complete weight regain was found in the majority. Diets do not lead to sustained weight loss or health benefits for the majority of people." − Traci Mann, Universtiy of Minnesota professor of Psychology who lead and authored the study.
According to the study, dieting is actually a predictor of future weight gain. So, I propose the simple question:
Is it possible that weight loss goals in and of themselves, cause weight gain?
Let me ask you this, what happens when you think, ”I have to lose twenty pounds by November because I'm going to be in my sister's wedding or ______________ (fill in the blank)? This thought may actually come from a belief that: “Who I am right now is not enough.”
And understandably so. Look at the constant bombardment of messages we receive on a daily basis. Thin is still “in” according to every billboard, magazine advertisement, and TV show. It gives us the subconscious message that if we’re not thin, we’re not enough. Our behavior is a symptom of what we believe deep down, which we usually are not even aware of. Not that all excess weight comes from a belief that we’re not enough. Plenty of other beliefs cause us to carry extra weight.
I can hear it right now: “What on earth would I “need” to carry extra weight for?” I assure you, we have many excellent reasons to carry extra weight. It’s necessary to do so until we uncover the hidden beliefs that cause us to feel safe by holding this extra weight. Our behavior will always be congruent with
our beliefs, created by our perceptions. And guess what? This is all correctable! When corrected, the changes in behavior (i.e. eating habits) are permanent.
For example, after I launched the Green Smoothie Challenge, I began really struggling with emotional eating. It was devastating for me (and also the catalyst for my healing which I now get to share with you!) because it prevented me from really moving forward in my life personally and professionally. Now that
I have done so much work around this, I realize how I was absolutely terrified to be seen as an “expert” on health and well-being. This might mean I was supposed to know everything and have the answers people were looking for. It ultimately could have made me the laughing stock of the earth, which was my deep
down fear. I couldn’t share my own gifts with this world. It was up to the world to decide when and if I was ever enough.
This hidden belief completely paralyzed me. I was terrified to make one mistake. I was terrified of rejection so much that I constantly found a way to hold myself back. All of this happened so unconsciously that I would have said you were crazy (like you might be thinking right now) if you had told me this
before I was ready to hear it.
The diet mentality, the “on the diet” and “off the diet” and the “I’ve been good” or “I’ve been bad” thinking causes us to miss the whole gift our excess weight reveals to us. To move beyond diet thinking, we absolutely must wake up to the gift that is our unique form of self sabotage. This messenger, which most
of us would rather destroy, patiently waits for us to realize that it holds the key to unlock the code of our transformation! And, what is so great is that dieting allows us to experience that sense of failure over and over until we wake up to the misery we are creating for ourselves. Then, we become curious
about the message of our self sabotage.
One of my teachers, JP Sears of Inner Awakenings says it so beautifully,
“Self sabotage is when we want things to be other than they are. We have so much judgment about the Divine purpose of our life that we want things to be different than they are and we resist what is. The resistance we feel is the life of our inner saboteur.”
When we diet, we only add the pain of deprivation to our lives. We feel deprived which adds to feelings of anxiety, stress, or overall discomfort. Eventually we can no longer stand it, so we eat to numb the pain or suffering. For me, this was about a two hour process every time I started a diet. I literally, would instantly gain five pounds because all I could do was obsess about everything I wasn’t going to eat until I just ate... all of it.
When we set a goal of weight loss, we need to look at what the weight loss means to us. We think it is weight loss we are craving when really, the craving we have is a messenger that we long for something we do not have. For example, if losing weight means I will be acceptable, this is the golden key to unlock my belief that I am unacceptable. It gives us an opportunity to explore where this belief came from and heal it. We must be willing to become so courageous that we can actually own our feeling of lack, of unworthiness and have compassion for ourselves anyway.
A part of us is attempting to care for our hurt. This is why we eat to numb our pain. I mean, who really wants to experience pain? And, to top it off, this all happens subconsciously, until we have suffered enough to wake up to it all and become aware of what's actually going on.
When we finally wake up, we can transform and be empowered to become whole. It is truly a beautiful process—the journey to becoming more deeply human and fully alive! And this, sister, will never happen by making rules for ourselves about how much ice cream we will or won't eat and how much we'll weigh by
November to fit into that cute dress. That dress is only going to fit the body with the changed mind who
feels worthy, whether it fits or gets replaced with one that you feel beautiful in right now!