The New Zealand Health Survey 2016/17 found that around 1 in 3 adults (aged 15 years and over) were obese (32%) and a further 34% of adults were overweight but not obese.
It’s estimated that at any point in time, one in four adults are trying to lose weight, most of the time usually by going on a diet. Most of those people are going to be disappointed because as I wrote a few weeks ago (The BIG Con – Diets Don’t Work) , diets don’t work long-term.
The main reason is that when it comes to comes to effective weight management what people actually need is a mind-set shift. One that tackles the root causes of bad habits like over-eating, emotional eating and dependencies on food.
Very often, the ‘triggers’ for these habits go back as far as our childhood experiences.
When we’re born, our clever little bodies are kitted out with everything they need to sense when we are hungry. Babies cry because they need nutrition, not because they want to over-indulge. They don’t yet have any awareness of what that even means. Then, as we grow, our experiences form habits. For example, maybe our parents offer us sweets or chocolate as a treat, and we start to associate such things with feeling happy, content and safe. In this way, food becomes more of a habit and lifestyle choice, than a means to keep us alive and healthy which is what it’s ultimately there for.
The trouble with diets is that they focus us on the negatives, like depriving ourselves, from the outset. They also accentuate an obsession with food – while they might push us to replace ‘bad’ foods with good ones, they still have us constantly focusing on eating, which is counterproductive.
In my opinion, this is why most diets aren’t sustainable in the long term. While the most successful diets might see us achieving our weight loss goals initially, nine times out of 10 we’ll fall back into our old ways eventually. This is because they don’t address the fundamental causes of our tendency towards over-eating - our habits.
So, the first step towards developing a long term better relationship with food is to re-set our mind to do away with such ingrained behaviour. It is this focus on changing from the inside out that makes the difference. Effective weight management programmes get to the root of where our attitudes to food and eating habits come from and incorporate mind-set shifts to change those things.
For example, I coached one lady for whom her weight problem was linked to feelings around not being good enough. She was a very intelligent and successful woman. Anyone who knew her would wonder how she could ever feel like that, and fall prey to an eating disorder. However, it emerged that it went right back to her childhood. No matter how well she did at school or college she never received any praise from her father. That experience had led to her not feeling good enough in other areas of her life. In situations like this, I often find that people subconsciously put on weight almost as an extra, protective layer, as well as seeking the short-lived highs that often come from eating the wrong things. With this particular lady, subconsciously she believed that if she lost weight, she would expose herself to more accusations of "not being good enough.”
I helped her change her mind-set, from the belief "I'm not good enough" to the belief "I am good enough." The ripple effect of this mind-set shift had a positive impact not only on her eating habits and her weight, but her life overall.
If you’d like to explore how you can create a mind-set shift and shed that unwanted, excess, weight permanently, get in contact, and let’s schedule a 30 minute no-obligation, discovery conversation. It could be first step towards finally achieving the weight and body shape you want.
Have a great week,
Tony helps individuals to harness the power of their mind to achieve success and well-being in life, work and business. Tony's particular area of expertise lies in helping people to 'change their minds' so they overcome unhelpful habits and gain freedom from worry, anxiety and stress. Tony’s solution focused approach to coaching uses a range of techniques drawn from the fields of co-active coaching, hypnosis, positive psychology and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP).