Over Christmas dinner, my extended family were talking about this commercial or that one and I looked at my husband and realized… hmmm. Haven’t seen ANY of those! I’m somewhat thrilled that the times now that I watch TV, it’s usually recorded or on a streaming service. I rarely see commercials.
But I can guarantee that all the weight loss companies are full on advertising right now. You know the ones – a bikini-clad young woman, a group of runners in sexy shorts and sports tops, a celebrity that is in top shape telling you that they ate all the meals and they were “DEE-LICIOUS” and lost all the weight in hardly any time at all. And I can also guarantee is that those companies are “promising” and “guaranteeing”. Here’s a tip. If you hear those two words, you should probably run the other direction. And if companies are “promising or guaranteeing” that the results are out of the ordinary or too good to be true, please please please do not let that little button of insecurity and desperation allow you to undo years of science and logic and experience. You see, that’s what they do. There are marketing teams all throughout those boardrooms (or closets or living rooms or whatevers) that use our insecurities against us and to sell sell sell. “Here, take this pill, use this cream, buy these meals and lose 17 pounds in a week!” You’re smarter than that. And no matter HOW you feel, the one thing I know is that you’re truly not desperate. And if you, in fact, DID lose that much in a week, you’ll probably be sick and most likely not keep that weight off.
Logic rarely sells weight loss products. Emotions sell weight loss products.
Although I judge these products often, I do not judge all of the people who use them. Our buttons were pushed. We believed that THIS is just the START we need and “once I get a good weight loss, then I’ll do something more sensible.” Who hasn’t said that? I know I have. “I just need to do something really strict and fast FIRST and then I’ll do <insert whatever sensible plan here> afterwards.”
Why do we need to do anything before we do sensible? Why are we not so completely respectful of our bodies that the only thing we’d even consider doing is sensible? I don’t know the answer to these questions, but I know we aren’t there – YET. We’re not sensible. We’ve been trained by our society to be divisive on everything including cats or dogs, politics, religion and definitely weight loss.
Who among you do NOT know that moderation in food and activity helps us lose and maintain weight? We all know this and just don’t want to do the work because, you know, it is work (a 4-letter word). No one I know wants to lose weight. No one. We want to lose weight AND keep that weight off so we don’t have to do it again. I’ve never had a member asking me to help them lose weight now so they can put it back on in December. We want it magically to happen, but we know that it won’t. So, we spend our hard-earned money on magic and it works in the beginning and then it doesn’t work and then a horrible thing happens…. we blame ourselves and not the plan we chose, that we failed. “If I just stuck with it, I would have succeeded. It’s me. I can’t stick with anything. I’m a failure!” That’s insecurity. You are not a failure for not sticking out a plan that is not sustainable. Let me repeat that.
YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE FOR NOT STICKING OUT A PLAN THAT IS NOT SUSTAINABLE!
The difference between a diet and a life is what we think when we mess up. It’s that simple.
For years I thought the magic word was “sustainability.” But there is no magic word. And if there is, it would be MINDSET.
Mindset is what helps us choose to do hard things. Mindset gives us determination. (Please, folks, do not rely on motivation as it’s a completely fickle emotion.) Mindset is what helps us acknowledge what we have. Mindset focuses success in different ways OTHER than the number on the scale. Mindset allows gratitude and forgiveness of choices and playfulness and accountability and the desire to work for our goals. Mindset allows for balance and balance is the other magic word.
Balance means if I want cake for dinner, I probably shouldn’t start my day with pancakes. Balance means I could take a brisk walk on Monday, but practice restorative yoga on Tuesday. It means I wear a fun dress and heels on Friday – just because, but sweat pants on Saturday and sit on the couch. It means I’m not perfect and I’m not supposed to be. Balance and mindset say that a bad eating meal or day isn’t the end of my world. And it doesn’t mean I failed. Mindset allows for balance.
The problem with most of these plans are that they make you think that you need to compartmentalize diet and exercise with mindset and balance. And that may be what sells their product at first, but it’s not what creates a life that’s worth living. Reality tells you that if you can’t mesh these things together, you’ll never sustain anything.
When we focus on the mindset, we recognize that not all days are perfect, but we’re appreciating our moments. Some days we’ll focus on healthy foods and some days we’ll focus on finding activities that we like. If we don’t, then we haven’t **yet** but doesn’t mean we won’t. There is a power that comes from sensibility and a growth mindset that just because we haven’t achieved something, doesn’t mean we won’t. We just haven’t. Yet. When we focus on mindset, we realize we’re not on or off our plan just because we overate. We’re just in need of balance.
With the new year comes the gorgeousness that is the blank slate. All the junk leaves the house and replacing it comes workout materials and new cooking appliances that will help us live a healthier life. Our sensible mind sets up this new year (sometimes in the form of a resolution) and starts off with a bang. There is MAGIC in the beginning of something. So full of hope. And then things happen. And the magic goes away. Is there a way to see all the days of this coming year with magic? There is if we focus on mindset.
You will not change the way you live unless you change the way you look at life.