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Your Diet Failures Were Not in Vain

As I discussed in my last post, Tripping Over the Truth, to enact change, you often have to get to a point where you’re so discontent with the way things are, that you feel like you’re a volcano that’s about to erupt.  You can’t take it anymore and finally decide it’s time to take action — time to lose the extra pounds, time to address your diet failures.  It doesn’t matter why, whether it be for health or for vanity.

 

diet failures

Your First Reaction

The typical first reaction to finally deciding it’s time to lose the weight is to look for the weight-loss approach that is trending.  Every time you go onto the internet, there is some “this-is-the-way” to lose the weight.  You might pick the one that is being touted by a celebrity or maybe even one that tells you that you can lose five pounds in a week.  Heck, you can’t go grocery shopping without having every magazine shouting at you saying here’s the way to be successful.

 

However, This Probably Isn’t Your First Diet

If all the diets were as good as they say they are, we’d only have to go on one, lose the weight and keep it off.  Done!

Yet, it isn’t like that.  Somehow our habits are so in-grained that for however long it takes to lose the weight with whatever new method, it takes far shorter to gain it back.  What went wrong?

Every time you fail, you’ve experienced what Chip Heath in his book, The Power of Moments, calls a “negative peak”, better known as a “pit”.  Pits are just as memorable as positive peaks.  You probably haven’t forgotten what it felt like to finally fit into some of your previously well-fitting clothes only to have to shove them further back into the closet when the weight came back on again.

Believe it or not, that “pit” can be a good thing.  You know what it took to lose the weight.  And you know what the experience will be like if you have to do it again.

Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx (maker of women’s undergarments), didn’t succeed at first.  She had this great insight of cutting the feet out of pantyhose so a woman could still have the benefit of the hose but able to wear them with open-toed shoes.  Many owners of textile mills (all men) rejected her ideas for the products she wanted to make.  She accepted those “no’s”, which felt like failure, as a positive thing based on one major lesson she had learned from her father.  At dinner each week, her dad would ask Sara and her brother “What did you guys fail at this week?”  While that may seem like a strange question for a parent to ask, he knew that we learn better from failures than successes.

 

The Step You Missed

Fear of failure makes us shrink away from trying something again or maybe even the first time.  Yet, failure is just what we need to stretch.  You need to put yourself into a new situation that may expose you to the risk of failure.  You see, each failure is actually a win for the self-insight you acquire during those failures.

Instead of looking at the many diets you’ve tried and failed at, you need to consider how much you learned about yourself.  Maybe you don’t want so much structure that accompanied a particular diet or maybe you’re the type who needs more structure.  Your approach needs to be tailored to a way that is comfortable for your type.

I look forward to hearing about your failures and successes (because I know you will be successful).

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