The Problem is Habit
We all know that 95% of people who lose weight on diets regain it and this is can be a rather depressing thought. However researchers at the University of Hertford discovered that when people are successful in the long term, it often coincided with a major life change – a new job, house or relationship. This is great news for those of us on the cusp of an exciting new future but leaves those of us with more routine lives with a conundrum. But there is hope. The Hertford team suggest that even small changes in routine can alter the bad habits we have acquired. After all many yo-yo dieters often cite boredom as an eating trigger. The Hertford approach to weight lost is to do something different – The no diet diet.
Difference makes the difference
To get a different result you need to do something different and you need to do something different every day. This is all about habit breaking. Your eating habits may seem completely random to you but in fact we all have habits that enable us to carry out our lives with minimum effort and this includes bad habits like over-eating. It may be that there is a habitual feeling you respond to – anxiety, stress, loneliness, or just an uncomfortable sensation in your mouth. You may give yourself permission by habitual thinking – it’s just one, I can’t do this or I deserve chocolate after the day I’ve had. Or your actions might facilitate over-eating. I have clients who find reasons to pop into the village shop daily, or who leave tempting goodies in full view. Maybe you feel compelled to finish things up because your mother told you to. Did you really do everything your mother told you to do?
The new things to try need not be time-consuming, expensive or glamorous. The Hertford team list activities as simple as talking to a neighbour or throwing something away as well as more effort intensive ideas like learning a new skill. It can be as simple as parking somewhere different. Until I read their book I had never noticed that I always park in the same place at the supermarket. Their suggestions start small but of course end up with a deeper consideration of how we maintain habits and how we can change them. There is no escaping the fact that In the end long lasting change involves thinking differently, feeling differently and acting differently. If you leave any of these out of the equation there is a risk that the changes you make will not stick.
Fletcher, B, Pine, K, Penman D. (2005) The No Diet Diet: Orion;UK