WHY DIETS FAIL PART 3 – KNOWLEDGE
I’ve been writing diets for a long time. It used to take me hours when it was just me and my calculator, doing everything by longhand.
The diet would be great and yet there was often a disconnect between my client’s desire and their action. It was a cycle. Client desperately wanting change, I would spend hours to provide a customized plan which they then didn’t follow. I could blame the client, but the frequency spun the dial to point the blame directly at me.
All my clients had was a desire to be different, all I provided was a diet. I left them vulnerable to doubt and resistance fatigue, they were poorly equipped for the battle ahead of them.
In 2009 my clients got suited up.
In 2009 I changed my initial consultation. My first meeting with a client starts with a 40-minute introduction to nutrition and weight loss. sometimes I see their eyes glaze over or an annoyance at not just being handed a diet. With few exceptions their interest is piqued, questions go back and forth and then we design their meal plan. At this point, the client is engaged and understands what I’m asking them to do. Providing people with the information they need is setting them up for success and its fun to see them enthusiastic because they now understand what they want is possible!
Knowledge is not necessarily compliance, we all know that our actions may go against our better (well informed) judgment. Once we have the information we need we may choose to ignore it … but we can never deny knowing it.
I KNOW that stretching 30 minutes a day is a good thing. I do not stretch 30 minutes a day, but I can’t deny knowing that I should.
When people start a diet they’re motivated. They’re inspired and energized and this usually lasts about three weeks. Then there’s the calm of merely living the plan; this is when compliance becomes tough. When people understand the path, they are more likely to stay on track when obstacles arise. Most diets last as long as the first plateau, the first time the scale stops moving and fails to budge for several weeks, this is when the diet ends.
You’re dropped from the sky and when you land you don’t know where you are. You have a car, and want to go to the beach. You ask someone for directions and they tell you to drive west and point which way to go. The person has more to say but you don’t want to hear it so off you go on your drive west. How long are you prepared to drive without seeing the beach?
An hour, a day, a week? Maybe that person was lying to you? Maybe they didn’t really know how to get to the beach?
At some point frustration and doubt creep in, and you stop driving. Maybe you go back to find that person to give them a piece of your mind or maybe you just resign yourself and settle where you are.
Now imagine, you’re dropped from the sky, when you land you don’t know where you are. You have a car and want to go to the beach. You ask someone for directions, and they tell you to drive west, they have more to say so you sit a while to hear them out. The drive is 570 miles, 100 miles are going to be on a dirt road that crosses a mountain range. The stranger explains that it will take you five days to reach the beach.
Now how long are you going to drive? You’re going to drive five days, you’re going to buy some supplies and download some god tunes, and you will drive until you reach the beach.
Although you were eager to get started, that small investment of time prepared you for the journey. You weren’t shocked when the road turned to dirt and the mountains didn’t drain your willpower; the mountains signified you were on course and even closer to your goal.
“I just need you to tell me exactly what to eat.”
“Give me a diet and I’ll follow it.”
Two statements that seem to allude to a persons determination and confidence. They’re a cop-out.
If you choose to follow a diet that you don’t understand, you may find short-term success, but you will never achieve the long-term shift everyone wants.
If the nutrition coach does not (or can not) explain their program, you can expect a quick fix at best.
Look at the dinosaurs in the weight loss industry. You get your 12-week plan, and that’s. it. You buy their bars and shakes but then what? Companies that are so successful because they thrive off repeat business, people coming back over and over again because “it worked last time.”
My mistake pre-2009 was underestimating my clients. I didn’t think they’d be interested in what I had to say and I was wrong. Once I changed my initial approach, referrals starting pouring in. Clients brought their parents, their kids, their bosses. I became more excited about my work and my clients got the results they deserved. The one thing I didn’t get was repeat business, but the referrals made up for that and I like to think that’s the way it should be.
BEYOND THE SECOND “WHY”
When it comes to nutrition, we tend to have a lot of questions, but we also tend to accept short, vague answers as explanations. Here’s a test to do on an unsuspecting “expert”. Act like a 5-year-old and question every answer you’re given. Ask until the “expert” gets annoyed or until you’re satisfied that they know what they’re talking about.
The conversation may go something like this.
Expert … “Don’t eat carbohydrates.”
You … “Why not?”
Expert “Because they make you fat”
You .. “Why do they make you fat?”
Expert .. “Because they put too much sugar in your blood”
You … “Why would that make me fat?”
Can your expert go beyond the second why?
If they can go on to explain lipolysis, insulin and so forth you’ve found yourself a coach.
Very few coaches will take you past the second or third “Why” but this is exactly what you need if you’re going to navigate the journey to physical nirvana
Expert .. “Don’t eat after 6 pm.”
You. .. “Why not?”
Expert .. “Because the food will get stored as fat” (which is not even true)
You .. “Why does that happen.”
Expert .. “Your body doesn’t need fuel at night, so it turns it into fat.”
Stop right there because this dude struck out at number one
For many people losing weight is the biggest challenge of their lives. Ask questions and question answers.
When do we ever succeed in something we know nothing about?