I’m guessing you’re here because you want to lose weight. I’m also guessing that you probably spend some time on social media scrolling around Google, and you see that it’s super popular to say that diets don’t work. You have probably noticed it everywhere.
But here’s the thing…diets do work
One issue is that there is no “one universally agreed upon” meaning of the word diet. For some women, diet is just the way they eat, their food choices, their nutritional outlook, or their preferred way of eating. It all works. Whether you are following a meal plan, tracking macros, subscribing to keto, paleo, or whatever avenue you’ve chosen, it all works.
So- what’s not working?
I think most women gain back the weight they have previously lost because diets for weight loss do not get past the how. Every single diet is selling you and telling you about how to lose weight with their specific plan.
- How to track the macros.
- Here’s a list of foods.
- Here are the recipes.
- Here are the rules around the South Beach diet.
- The points for Weight Watchers.
- The meals with Jenny Craig.
What is missing from “diet” is the “who”.
I’m not talking about Roger Daltrey and Pete Townsend, as in the who. But rather, who do you have to be as a woman who loses weight and keeps it off forever without the self-hatred and the mind drama? Without the emotional eating and bullshit or obsessing over every little morsel of food? Without hating your life and hating everybody anytime the scale goes up or doesn’t go down? That’s where I think diets really miss the mark. We are trained to be looking for the how instead of the who.
Tell me how to do it.
- How much food should I eat?
- How should I combine these foods?
- What hours should I eat?
- What should I eat after I work out?
- What protein powder is the best one?
- Which foods should I stay away from?
- What about this ingredient and that ingredient?
We get really hung up on all of that and we’re looking for it to make the scale go down. We are in search of all of the “how”. It can be really frustrating because when the scale doesn’t go down, or it doesn’t go down fast enough, we get to the point where we think our “how” is not working. Then, we get back on the internet, go back to Google, and search for the next diet, the next coach, the next program, and/or the next plan.
We don’t ever look at the who.
- What do I think about weight loss?
- What do I think about weight?
- What do I think about my body?
- What do I think about who I am?
You already know this because you’ve been on a diet. You’ve lost weight before. You might have noticed that you can lose weight and still be unhappy and still think you are not good enough. You can still freak out all the time and be obsessed with food. You might feel stress and anxiety every time you’re invited somewhere for dinner. That’s the problem.
It’s not a diet problem.
Getting the next diet does not alleviate that. That’s why we gain weight back. You didn’t arrive at this new place as a new person. You might be a smaller size or a lesser number on the scale, but you did not change how you think or feel about yourself.
I’ve spent decades on all the diets. Everybody wants me to tell the how. How did you lose weight? What did you eat? Did you work out? What kind of workout did do? Did you take supplements? How much did you eat? What else did you eat? Tell me all the things. So I can go do them too.
I can’t tell you how many of my clients have told me, “I was at the hairdresser, and she was telling me all about keto. So, I started that.” Or “my neighbor does intermittent fasting. So, I started doing that.” That is your brain looking for a solution rather than figuring out what it is that you already believe is holding you back. I’m guessing you’re 35, 45, 55, or older. You’ve been on a diet before.
The “how” is everywhere.
The “how to lose weight” articles and diets are everywhere. It is on Google, Pinterest, free challenges, diet books, and magazine articles. I personally have been in the weight loss game as a dieter and as a coach for decades. I have clients that have 9 or more different plans or programs that I have personally written for them. Yet, you’re still raising your hand for the how. It’s not just the how.
It’s not how many grams of carbs I need to eat to lose weight. There’s no amount of carbs or restriction that keeps me from not feeling disappointed. There’s no amount of carbs or restriction to keep me from not doubting myself. There’s no amount of carbs or restriction to keep me from not hating my body. There’s no amount of carbs or restriction to keep me from shit-talking myself when I look in the mirror. It’s a whole different thing.
If you are looking to lose weight, you are in the right place.
I do think you’re going to need some basic protocol in place for yourself. That could look like this:
- “I eat 3 meals and a snack.”
- “I eat between 10 am and 6 pm.”
- “I don’t eat after dinner.”
- “I am mainly plant-based.”
- “I prefer high protein.”
Figure out the things that actually work for you, and you like that could be sustainable. That is where you really need to start. Then you adjust it. You evaluate it, change it, tweak it, or you could cut the learning curve and have a coach help you in the meantime. The answers are out there.
The bigger piece of the puzzle, though, is figuring out who.
- Who do you have to be to lose weight and keep it off?
- What does she think?
- How does she feel?
- What does she do, even when the scale doesn’t go down?
- What do you believe about certain foods?
- Do you believe that there’s good food and bad food?
- What do you believe about weight loss?
- Do you believe that you have to be deprived and restricted in order to lose weight?
I’m going to guess the answer is yes. And I’m going to tell you it is in our thoughts and beliefs. That is where diets fail. I get it. For everybody who’s flying the flag that says that diets don’t work and lose weight without all the restrictions, there’s a piece missing. This is it.
It is figuring out who I have to be. Not how little can I possibly eat? I get it. Now your brain might be freaking out. It’s normal. I don’t want you to beat yourself up. That is not the point. This is the stuff that nobody is talking about. Nobody’s teaching us about our self-concept, our identity, and how it is connected to the way we eat and how we use food. This really is the way.
This is why most women won’t maintain weight loss.
It’s not because they don’t know how to lose weight. You keep following that same diet, that same plan, reducing the calories, and doing more workouts. What it really comes down to is that we are the same person that we were when we started trying to lose weight.
I know for a fact, having lost 20 and 30 pounds at a time, multiple times, not counting pregnancy, I didn’t personally change. I approached weight loss with carbs are bad. Fats are bad. I can only eat things that fall under low carb or paleo or organic. I was really focused on doing the how of weight loss and never really addressing who I was, who I wanted to be, and how I was going to make this sustainable.
Take a look at what you really think and believe about food and about your body.
If you want long-term success, these are very simple questions.
- Who are you?
- Who do you want to be?
- What do you think about food?
- How can you cultivate some of the thoughts and feelings now?
We’re not suddenly going to be different people because the scale goes down. So I’m going to leave you with this simple question.
Who do you have to be to lose the weight you want?
Ultimately, what is it that you want? You really have to know what it is you’re after, and then think about:
- Who do you have to be?
- What does she think?
- What does she believe about herself?
- How does she feel?
- What actions does she take as this woman?
If you do this work on the who, then you’ll never struggle again with the how. You won’t quit when the scale goes up. You won’t be wracked with guilt over food. You will know how to meet your needs for joy, comfort, and connection without food. It is okay to enjoy food. It is okay to get pleasure from food. I love food! But don’t rely on food to feel joy.
NOTES IN ANCHOR
“Diets don’t work.” You have probably seen this statement everywhere. After all, it is the most popular thing to say these days. But here’s the thing…diets do work! They do!
The issue is that there is no “one” universally agreed upon meaning of the word diet. For some women, diet is just the way they eat, their food choices, their nutritional outlook, or their preferred way of eating. It all works. Whether you are following a meal plan, tracking macros, subscribing to keto, paleo, or whatever avenue you’ve chosen, it all works.
So, what’s not actually working? I think most women gain back the weight they have previously lost because diets for weight loss do not get past the how. Every single diet is selling you and telling you about how to lose weight with their specific plan. What is missing from the diet is the who. So, who do you have to be to lose weight? Let’s find out!
ABOUT THE HOST
Bonnie Lefrak has been in the health and fitness industry for 25 years. As a former bikini competitor, Bonnie helps other women achieve their dreams of being on stage as bikini competitors through her bikini program at the gym she owns in Massachusetts called Fitness Asylum. But as a self-proclaimed professional dieter, Bonnie also realized the toll dieting takes on the human brain.
Bonnie helps women over 40 lose weight without killing themselves in the gym, eliminate all the BS food drama, and help to create a life and body they LOVE. She wants to help women create certainty in their own lives, their own results, and their own abilities. Weight loss is not about the one “right” diet. It is about MUCH more than that.
Weight loss is not about the one “right” workout. Weight loss is not about being positive and putting a big smile on. Weight loss is about FEELINGS. All of them. Not trying to bury them or hide from them but knowing and allowing the full human experience. Weight loss is not about grinding hustling and will powering your way to some end line. Transformation (when done well) is done from the inside out. Transformation doesn’t happen on the scale. She is an expert at Demystifying weight loss and helps you unf*ck your diet brain.
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