Have you ever tried to lose weight on a particular diet and failed?
If you answered yes to that question, all it means is that you are approaching weight loss in an unhelpful way.
Weight loss is not a pass/fail situation. Indeed it is this attitude that leads so many people to give up on their dreams of losing weight.
How many times have you heard people say
“I tried to lose weight on that diet, but couldn’t stick to it”
“I didn’t have the willpower to stay on that diet, so I gave up”
Why do people talk like this? It’s part of the “diet” culture. The way that most diets are promoted is by treating dieting like an exam. You either lose weight or you don’t. If you succeed, well done. If you fail, sorry, bad luck. And people who don’t stick perfectly to the diet are “cheating”.
But just like we wouldn’t brush our teeth once and think that our teeth were clean for the rest of our lives, we shouldn’t view losing weight as a one-off event that we either pass or fail.
Managing your weight is a process. It’s something you need to learn, much like a child learns to ride a bike. When a child learns to ride a bike, we don’t tell them they’ve failed when they’ve fallen off. We encourage them to get up and try again. It would be a rare child indeed that started riding a bike the first time they got on. Similarly, if you want to change the way you manage your weight, you are going to make a few mistakes before you get it right.
Therefore it isn’t failure when you make a mistake on a diet. It is a necessary part of the process of discovering how to manage your weight successfully.
And part of this process includes being flexible with your approach. Not all methods work for all people. We are all different. Hence the approach that is most flexible is most likely to succeed. So, you should be willing to try different strategies.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket and then give up when it doesn’t work out. When I work with clients, I ensure that I tailor the approach to the individual. But even then, not all strategies work as well as each other. That’s where a flexible approach is invaluable. If something doesn’t work as well as it should, I try something else. There really is no other way of finding a way to manage weight successfully.
Don’t let a few setbacks put you off. You are learning a new way of doing things. You need to keep trying different things until you discover what works. And just like the child learning to ride a bike, the only way you can fail is by giving up. And I won’t let you do that!
Dr. Khandee Ahnaimugan is a medical doctor who provides a bespoke behavioural programme for weight loss. To book a comprehensive assessment at his Harley Street Clinic please email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone +44 (0) 20 3130 4770.