The Habit of Permanent Weight Loss

by Henry John

Do diets work? Every year, more and more people decide to go on a diet to try and get rid of unwanted pounds. They put their faith in some new formula which promises to deliver their dream – permanent weight loss. Be it the Atkins diet or the South Beach Diet, their expectations are always high. These diets can deliver short-term weight loss, but the majority of dieters will be disappointed because permanent weight loss will not happen.

The essential ingredient that is missing is the means to effect change, permanent change. What is needed are new habits, slim habits if you like, that can be repeated and practiced to effect that change, not just another restrictive diet.

Traci Mann, who is a psychologist at UCLA has been doing some very interesting work on the effectiveness of diets. She didn’t take just one or two diets, she studied 31 – and over a period of between two and five years. What she discovered is that for the majority of people, diets don’t lead to better health benefits or sustained weight loss.

What would you think if after going on a diet all the weight reappeared? What would you think if after six months you ended up heavier that you were before you started the diet? That’s what happens to the majority of dieters and it’s a very depressing scenario.

We live in interesting times. Change is happening all around us and is accellerating every day, yet we seem to be reluctant to embrace change when it comes to our own lives. Scientists – specifically neuroscientists and psychologists – have made some amazing discoveries in recent years: discoveries that have opened up the workings of how our brain and body function and interact, for example. They have given us the opportunity to use this new found knowledge to develop ways of helping us to make change by learning new habits – slim habits, if you like.

Weight loss programs need to be far more than calorie restrictive regimes. They need to be programs of learning and discovery. We have to enter into the process not as spectators who expect things to happen to us, but as participants that meke things happen. They need to have structure and a means to provide support if they are to make any real and lasting difference.

Habit change is not difficult, but it takes commitment – as does anything that is worthwhile. Permanent weight loss doesn’t come from a formula or by spending eight weeks restricting your calorie intake, it comes from learning new habits.

Permanent weight loss will make the big weight a thing of the past.

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