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Friday, January 6, 2012

Why Deprivation Diets Fail

Don't think of a blue fish.

That sums up this issue quite nicely.

What happens when you try to do what you don't want to do?

You think about it, you use brain processing time to think about it, and with food and diets, you end up feeling deprived.

And who wants to feel deprived?

Not me, and not anyone that I work with either.

This issue crosses the boundaries of two of my favourite subjects: Diet, and Using your Brain properly.

So let's look at that statement again; don't think of a blue fish.

What happens?

You have to think of a blue fish, to then not think about it (and by inference, think about something else). It's a two step process. And for many people that's one step to far. If you're like me, you want to make your life easier, more simple, and give you more of what you want. One of the ways to do this is by knowing a little bit about how your brain works.

Re-Creating Your Diet Part 1 - Using Your Brain For A Change

Any time you want to change your diet, you have a choice; you can think of all the things you're not allowed, and then think of something else, or you can think of what you do want and go straight to what you want.

When you start from the premise of 'not allowed' you set your mind up to be aware of, and focus on, all those things that you have set in the 'I can't have this' camp. Anyone who's heard of the saying, 'the grass is always greener' will be aware of the danger of this type of thinking. You are much more likely to end up wanting something that you have decided is banned by focusing on it. Your brain and your unconscious works very much like a good hypnotherapist to get you what it thinks you want.

It goes a little like this (with variation for each and every person): 'ahh, it's time to eat, hmm, what should I eat? Well, I'm on a diet, so that means I'm not allowed to eat certain foods (cue the drawing up of pics in your mind of some or more of those things you're now not allowed to eat), well that's those I can't have right now, so what else could I have instead? Ahh, yes, I could have that, or that, or that (and the whole time you're doing this second part, you're still aware of the banned foods hanging around your mind), and one or more of them might work, but I sure would like to taste some of those banned foods, but no, I can't, they're bad for me, they'll make me fat (although, perhaps not today), and make me unhappy (but only afterward), and I really should be eating those foods that I have been told will help me burn fat more.'

And so it goes on. Till eventually you end up choosing something to eat (and have a whole load of mixed feelings about it).

That seems like a whole lot of work to me. And full of conflicts.

What else can you do?

How about starting with this question: 'What could I eat right now that would help me feel satisfied and help me reach my goals?'

Notice how that question helps you think about what you really want, straight from the beginning?

How about starting off with this: 'Hmm, I'm hungry, time to eat, what sorts of things have I eaten in the past that I have felt truly good about for hours afterward?'

It is worth pointing out here that part of this learning process will automatically make you take notice of your feelings, your intuitions and the information your body sends you about what it wants. An observation that I consistently make is that those people I work with who are overweight are out of touch with their body. One of the primary tasks in helping someone consistently and permanently lose weight is to help them tune into, and feel good about, the information their body shares with them. After all, if you are in tune with your body, you will notice what it wants, and what will make it feel and perform less effectively. When you work with this information you naturally allow yourself to chose a diet that will get you results. Which leads us nicely to:

Re-Creating Your Diet Part 2 - Ending Deprivation By Being Allowed Whatever You Want

There's a reaction I always enjoy seeing in clients, it's the 'I can really eat anything I want?' response.

And I say, 'yes, as long as it's truly what you want'.

And that's the key; it has to be what you truly want, not what your immediate pleasure or 'see-food' reaction tells you. It's the difference between seeing a treat/unhealthy food/crap food and just having it, and seeing the very same food and filtering that desire through some good decision processes. What processes?

These ones:

Steps to the Naturally Slender Eating Strategy
Imagine that you are hungry. Where do you see yourself?
Notice the feeling in your stomach.
Ask yourself 'what would feel good in my stomach right now?'
Now think of a food, it can be whatever you want.
Imagine eating a portion of that food, really taste and feel that food in your mouth, going all the way down to your stomach.
How will that food in your stomach feel over the next few hours with that food in it.
Compare that feeling you have after the food to the one you had when you were hungry. Is it better? If the answer is yes, this is a food that may be good selection. If the answer is no, you should discard this food, but can come back to it at a different time (your body might not want that mix of nutrients right then)
Imagine another food item, perhaps make it one of your 'treats' your bad foods. Do the same as for Step 5. How does this food make you feel now?
Compare the feeling from Step 7, your best feeling so far, how does this compare to eating the first food you chose? Notice which is more pleasurable, which makes you happier over time.
Repeat this process for at least 3 more food items. Each time keep in mind which made you feel the best over time.
Once you have done this enough times for the process to seem natural to you notice which food item made you feel the best. Now imagine eating this and feel the satisfaction of eating what makes you feel good over a few hours.

Two things happen when you consistently apply this set of questions to your food choices:
You will eventually do this set of processes automatically (most of the time anyway, and increasingly so), at which point you can probably place yourself into the 'naturally slim' category, even if your body isn't there yet.
You will never deprive yourself of anything, because if it passes all the tests, it's good to eat.

George 'Super BootCamps' Harris is a Personal Trainer, Hypnotherapist, Master NLP Practitioner, Certified Strength and Condidtioning Specialist and Nutritional Coach.

George wrote his ebook, 'How To Do What You Don't Want To Do' to help people take control of their ability to motivate themselves, feel good and get results from their diet and exercise. Written for everyone to easily understand and apply, this book contains everything you need to take control of your motivation and get results.

With this book you can finally end the cycle of motivation and despair, be consistent and learn - easily - how to feel good about doing exercise, how to make dieting easy and make yourself feel good anytime.

To learn more visit my blog pages:

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