09 Aug Diets – Handling Failure
How many diets have you “failed” at?
If you’re like most of us, more than one. Maybe many more than one.
But, it’s not if you fail or how many times you fail that counts.
It’s how you handle failure that matters in the long run.
The Same Coin
Failure and success are two sides of the same coin.
Think of just about everything in life. You almost never have success without failure.
You learned to walk by falling down 100’s if not 1,000’s of times. But you never felt like a failure and were never labelled as a failure.
Mom and Dad kept encouraging you and you kept getting up and trying repeatedly until you got it right.
You learned to read by messing up your alphabet enough times to finally get it right. By messing up writing out the letters ’till you got them right. By misspelling and misreading the words until you got them right. The mistakes were plentiful. But you were never a failure – you were just learning.
Same with riding a bike, driving a car, playing a sport, dating, for gosh sakes. Choosing a career or a mate, perhaps.
Life is a trial and error process where failure and success are two sides of the same coin.
What’s Different About Dieting?
In some ways dieting is the same and in some ways it’s different from most other things.
It’s the same because failure and success should go hand in hand – 2 sides of the same coin.
It’s different because, let’s face it, you don’t really want to diet in the first place. And you probably have negative thoughts and feelings about dieting.
Everyone wants to walk, read, drive a car, and have a great career and a great mate. No one wants to diet.
“Dieting” connotations are negative.
And so, when you fail or slip from your diet, since you start the diet with negative thoughts and feelings in the first place – conscious or subconscious – you tend to blow those failures out of proportion looking for an excuse – conscious or subconscious – to quit.
And when you do quit your diet, you inevitably think of yourself as a failure, get down on yourself, and take a blow to your ego, self-confidence, and self-esteem.
After a while the pain of that failure goes away.
That’s when you’re ready to try the next popular diet that comes along. Recent statistics indicate that dieters “try” an average of 4 new diets per year.
This is where the really big difference about dieting lies. This is the problem.
You don’t learn how to diet any better from your past mistakes. You’ll approach and go on your next diet exactly the same way you went on your last failed diet. And the one before that and the one before that.
Sure, you change diets. You change from low-fat to high protein to low carbs to heart healthy and on and on.
But you don’t change how you go about dieting.
It’s an interesting phenomenon. You learned to walk by falling down lots of times and each time you fell you learned something from the fall and were a bit better at walking the next time.
But as many times as you fall down at dieting and get up and give it another try, you don’t get any better at it the next time. Or the next.
Although every failure in life provides valuable feedback for our minds and bodies to learn to make changes and give us tougher mental skills for the next try, it doesn’t seem to work in dieting.
Why Failure Doesn’t Work In Dieting
There are several reasons why failure at dieting doesn’t work to help you learn to diet better the next time.
- You would never give up learning to walk, read, drive a car, etc. You would never voluntarily “quit” trying those things, and so you never gave yourself the opportunity to be a “failure” at them. You never took a blow to your ego, self-esteem, and self-confidence over them. You were absolutely determined to get them right, failure or quitting was never an option, and so you had to learn by your mistakes.
- You see those other life events as the ends. Dieting is never an end…it’s the means to the end…so it’s entirely different. You allow yourself to give up on “this” diet knowing there’s always going to be another one around the corner. The end is…well…whatever it is for you: looking and feeling lean and sexy; getting the job you’ve been longing for; regaining your pride and self-confidence; wearing a bathing suit or swim trunks without embarrassment; playing with your kids without getting winded; impressing your friends at your high school reunion; long-term health…you name it. Besides, if you quit or fail at dieting, you can (and do) always blame the diet. “Oh, that diet doesn’t work or didn’t work for me.” But you can’t blame the car if you keep failing your driver’s test.
- You’ve never learned how to diet correctly – using all of the natural strengths you have that can help you diet successfully. You were encouraged and taught how to walk and read and all the other things we’ve mentioned. But no one has ever taught you your personal Dieting Compatibility Style™ so you end up taking on a difficult task (dieting) without the knowledge, skill, and support needed to do it right.
Putting It All Together
Failure is a teacher. It is nothing more than a teacher.
In most areas of life you’re able to use every failure as a learning step in the process of achieving your goals. Failure teaches you and toughens you.
But since dieting is never your goal or end game – it’s only the means to the end – you are actually never deeply motivated to diet.
You probably confuse dieting with your real goal – that sexy body, for example – but at some level you know it’s not.
So it’s easier to give up the diet than other things in life and yet, when you do quit another diet, you still suffer and feel the pain of failure without getting the valuable learning experience from it.
You’re left beating yourself up for another diet failure while still longing for your sexy body and being no better prepared for the next diet than you were for the last one.
There are scientifically based ways to diet correctly – regardless of the diet you choose – using your natural strengths and approaching your diet emphasizing those strengths and bending your approach to your diet to use those strengths to your advantage.
A first step is to find out what your personal Dieting Compatibility Style(tm) is and how to use it.
Although you think dieting should be intuitive and all the ads make you believe it’s going to be easy this time, your experience and the experience of about 75 Million American adults who are on diets right now and are going to fail at them proves over and over again that it’s neither intuitive nor easy.
Dieting effectively is a skill that you need to learn and apply in order to be successful at it. It’s not a difficult skill to learn. But successful dieting without the dieting skill is virtually impossible – as most of us have proven time and time again.
Success and failure are 2 sides of the same coin.
It’s time to put dieting in the right perspective, learn from your past mistakes, and use the knowledge to make your next diet your last diet.