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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Quit Trying To Lose Weight

I've just had a private consultation with a delightful lady. In her own words, she'd had enough of feeling "dumpy, frumpy, and grumpy".

She'd gained a bunch of weight during her pregnancy, and as much as she loved her little one, she was frustrated by her post-bub wobbly bits.

I shared with her my thoughts around weight loss. I mentioned it was a positive step for her health and setting a good example. I also noted her use of the word 'trying'.

'Try' is a deceptive little word. It's a real trickster.

And here's why...

When we use the word 'try', it can make us feel like we're going some way towards achieving what it is that we are 'trying' to do, while neatly providing us with an excuse when we fail.

"Well... at least I tried."

For example, at the moment I am learning to sail. I'm devouring sailing texts, downing rum while receiving expertise from salty sea dogs, taking lessons and so on. I could say that "I'm trying to become a sailor."

While this might make me feel as if I was on the way to achieving my goal, the message received by my unconscious mind is that - when push comes to shove - I'm actually not that serious about the goal.

While I will have my excuse already prepared.

" least I tried."

I can always tell if someone will turn up at a previously agreed time. If they say, "I'll try to get round on Thursday afternoon." I know it is very unlikely they'll arrive. When on Friday I ask them what happened there'll be some good reason or other. They might say something like, "I tried to get there but well...this, that and the other...." Their integrity is intact. After all, they tried, didn't they?

However if someone says, "I'll be there on Thursday afternoon," I fully expect them to come as they've made a commitment.

Anyways, back to my client.

To illustrate that you can either 'do a thing' or 'not do a thing' I dropped a pen on the floor and asked her to try and pick it up.

She reached down and picked it up.

I said, "No I wanted you to try" and tossed it on the floor again. "Now try and pick it up."

She reached down and picked it up successfully again. We repeated it a few times until she understood that to try was not to succeed. You can either pick it up, or not pick it up. It's a subtle but powerful distinction in life, and with those who lose weight and those who fail.

You can either try to lose weight or you can succeed at losing weight.

I am far more interested in whether my clients succeed at weight loss than whether they have tried.

Funnily enough, they are too.

Next time you find yourself using the word try, whether it's speaking to your partner, your own child or indeed yourself, consider an alternative and see what happens.

Remember there is no such thing as try, you either do it or you don't.

End of story.

Some alternatives to try

- Instead of "go and try it" use "go and think about it" or better, "go and do it".

- Instead of "at least you tried" use "good on you, now you know one way to get it to not work."

- Instead of "try not to run" use "don't run". Or better still. Or better still use "walk".

So, who's for a rum?

Bust a move ladies.


I'd be absolutely thrilled. Please be so kind as to include this little love note with it:

Avril Carpenter helps women ignite their thinner sparkle. An expert in the psychology of weight loss she helps clients pinpoint what's going on between their ears that prevents them being their happy weight. Clients discover that when their mindset is sorted, the number on the scale takes care of itself. Forever. If you're ready to lose weight, look absolutely fabulous (daaarling) and ignite your thinner sparkle you can sign up for a F.R.E.E. subscription at


Then c'mon over to Avril's blog at Your thinner-sparkly-self will thank you for it.

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