Escaping the Trap of Weight Loss Myths

This weekend I saw a desperate Facebook post, crying out for bacon. The poster was on a “seven-day nutritional cleanse,” intended to banish all cravings for what she called “unhealthy things.” Given that this plea for bacon appeared on day four of this seven-day “cleanse” and her cravings had her most definitely in a tight grip, I am regrettably unable to muster the least hope that this week-long exercise in forced asceticism will conclude with any permanent transformation securely in place. Those cravings won’t be gone; they’ll be screaming.

In Powerful Hunger, I present the profiles of four people, each of whom approach their weight problem in a different way. One profile is of a woman who has spent years trying every new program and plan that promised “amazing results” in some specific duration of time, a 7-day plan, a 14-day cleanse, a 30-day transformation. Ultimately this approach will lock you into a trap.

We are seduced by these limited duration programs because we all want an easy solution in minimum time. A program I consider one of the more egregious promises you will “lose weight, have more energy, and be happier” in 10 days. It goes on to say you will “take charge of your health, restore and rejuvenate the body and mind,” all in this condensed timeframe. When you step aside and think rationally, you realize that this can’t possibly be true but when it comes to weight loss, we want so desperately for the magic bullet to exist! We’d love to believe it’s true but it’s a myth.

The limited duration programs get away with making big promises because they often require extreme regimens. By definition, an unsustainable regimen means unsustainable results. Any result will vanish when prior behaviors promptly return.

If you are comfortable thinking in small chunks of time, create your own limited duration “program” as you phase in the steps of transition. The key would be that the end of the time period is never truly an “end;” it’s the start of the next time period that you use to continue advancing through the steps you’ve defined for modifying your behaviors.

Limited duration programs break down those distant goals we can find so difficult to visualize. Make the concept work for you. What needs to be done now? Work your plan this week. Worry about next week…seven days from now. And when that time arrives, you know the question to ask yourself!

How could you use a limited duration approach to set the steps of transition in motion?

Wishing you light & strength~~


    • Erin on October 24, 2012 at 9:05 am

    One of my favorite doctors once told my Aunt to “take a rock for a walk”… what he told her to do was to paint a rock, walk with it for as long as she felt up to walking, put it down and go home. The next day, go find her rock and walk it a bit further a way, and go home… (repeat process daily). I thought it was brilliant, combining exercise and motivation into something that was self-increased daily.

    The only program of limited duration I have tried that was helpful was the “Whole30″… takes out processed foods, sugars, grains… for 30 days. It works. And I recommend it to people to do just to jump start a new life eating plan. It helps your body reset it’s inflammatory response, brings you to a healthier state quickly, and when you’re done, just moderate yourself into a healthy eating plan, don’t go back to what you were doing, because you’ll quickly delete your positive results.

    When people tell me it’s hard to eat healthy, I frequently quote: “Beating cancer, that’s hard. Overcoming an addiction, that’s hard. Not having cream and sugar in your coffee, not so difficult.”

    • Dagny on October 24, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    That’s an interesting idea to be sure! As long as no one else finds your rock and moves it! Pretty darn clever!

    A limited duration program can work if it’s to kickstart a SUSTAINABLE diet!! By definition, most are intended to promise incredible results through an unsustainable regimen in some short time span that people can’t wait until they’re DONE. And as you say, all positive results will be wiped out. The idea that any problem can be “fixed” with some short-term solution does not apply in life, across the board!

    If people can create their own “plan” and keep it open ended—do something for a week, then go another, and make it another, before you know it, you’ve created a new routine!

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