When we start a new diet or eating plan we often have success for the first few days. Why is that? And why does that success quickly fade away? In this episode, we discuss how this is caused by a lack of understanding about how our thinking works and how a deeper understanding of Thought can help us to resolve an unwanted overeating habit.
- What specifically creates success at the beginning of a diet?
- Why does that success begin to fade?
- How does this phenomenon point toward the nature of our thinking?
- How is thinking related to unwanted habits like overeating?
Resources Mentioned in this Episode
- Unbroken episode 29 with Juliet Faye
Transcript of episode
Hello, explorers, and welcome to Q&A episode 31 of Unbroken. I’m Alexandra Amor, and I’m so pleased that you’re here with me today.
Today, the question we’ve got is, why do diets work temporarily?
I stumbled across this idea, perhaps again, perhaps I haven’t encountered it before. But in a recent interview episode with Juliet Faye, Unbroken episode 29 – I’ll link to that in the show notes for this episode at unbroken podcast.com – and we were having a conversation and I had a big insight about why when we go on some sort of a diet plan, or some sort of program to overcome or conquer our unwanted over eating habit. Why do they work initially, in the beginning?
Because they do. I’ve had this experience, and you probably have as well, where for the first, let’s say, two or three days, maybe a week speaking personally, at the outside, the plan that I’m on really seemed to work. It felt good, and I felt energized and excited. And things go really well for the, as I say, for the first few days, and then the wheels fall off. For me, the the longest I could go was maybe a week in a situation like that. And that happened over and over and over again.
The really cool thing is that I realized in that conversation with Juliet, was that, that occurrence, the fact that these diets and programs that we try out, only work for a few days or a few hours, in some cases, is actually really great evidence for what the Inside Out understanding is pointing to. It’s evidence for the work that I do, and that the other practitioners do, who are sharing this understanding. And here’s why that is what happens.
So, let me back up a little bit. When we have an unwanted habit, there’s part of us that enjoys it, of course, the indulgence and the feelings of comfort, and soothing and that kind of thing that go along with the unwanted habit. And what the habit is actually doing, like I touched on in last week’s q&a episode, is it temporarily quiets down our thinking.
I remember when I was doing some coaching work with Jason Shiers, and he said, this incredibly profound thing to me that really changed my world was that an unwanted habit or addiction, always comes back to a thinking problem. Always. It’s always a matter of overthinking. And we’re using that substance to quiet our thinking down. So that’s the first part of this.
But the second thing is that we’re suffering, right?
We don’t want to be overweight, we don’t want to have this over eating habit, it can really have a detrimental effect on our lives.
Speaking personally on it affected my self-esteem, it affected the way I felt about my body. I felt like my life couldn’t start until I figured this problem out, which is for 30 years, it was that was a long time to feel that way. So there’s this suffering, of course that goes along with it. And we know that. And that’s why you’re here, I’m sure. And that’s why I kept searching for answers. Absolutely.
What then happens, the next step is that we find a program or a guide, a guideline or a structure to follow about food. Traditionally we call those diets. We don’t eat certain foods, and we do allow us to eat others or we restrict our calorie count or we use an app to manage it or to track what it is we’re eating. You get it. You’ve been there. You know exactly what I’m talking about.
Initially, when we find this new thing, this new program, this new structure that’s going to help us we think, curb our unwanted habit.
Our thinking quiets down, right? We think, Oh, this is it, I have found a solution.
If I just do these things, if I just follow these guidelines and these rules, in this new program, everything’s going to be great and my suffering is going to be reduced. I’m going to conquer this problem. And I’m not going to have all the thinking that I have around this situation or this problem.
So what happens is temporarily, our thinking settles down. And like I say, for the first two or three days or a week, however long it is, that reduction in the amount of thinking we’ve got about food is really, really helpful. And we’re able to stick to the program stick to the guidelines, initially, because our thinking has settled right down.
The problem comes, because we don’t understand the nature of thought.
And because we don’t understand that we’re living in the world of our thinking, not in the world of our circumstances. And that we don’t see the nature of thought, like the weather, or like, a river of river of energy flowing through us that when the first thought then comes about, about cheating on the program, or the diet, or, maybe I can make an exception in this circumstance, like, I’m out for dinner with my friend, and I want to have dessert or whatever it is. And so that thought comes in, and essentially, we panic, right?
We think, Oh, my goodness, I need to fix this, I can’t do this, I’m on this program, I need to stick to it. And then the other thinking comes in opposing that. And saying, no, no, you can indulge yourself right now. And you can feel that battle going on that conflict. And now your thinking is getting even more stirred up and more stirred up. And it can feel like a tidal wave, right.
You know, and I know, I knew exactly what will make that thinking stop. And that’s indulging in your favorite food or your unwanted overeating habit. Because it does. It temporarily shuts down all that thinking, all that arguing that’s going on between the devil on one side, and the angel on the other side, all that chatter, all that back and forth. All that willpower that you feel like you’re trying to use to get through will go away, once you indulge in your in your favorite food, your overeating habit.
So that’s why diets and diet programs and all these things that we do work temporarily, they do work for the first little while, absolutely. And some people can make them stick even for months or years at a time and lose a lot of weight.
How often have we heard about somebody who’s done that, and then gained it all back?
You might be one of those people. That was certainly the case for me; I would lose tiny little bits of weight and then gain that back plus five pounds. And that went on for 30 years. When we don’t understand the nature of our perfect design or divine design, our kind design and that our cravings are pointing us toward the stirred up thoughts then we get caught.
It’s like being caught in a whirlpool and in the river or in the in a washing cycle. We just keep trying. And going back to the same answers that have failed before. But we don’t have an alternative. And so we just keep trying. And I know for me, I even went back to certain programs that hadn’t worked for me before. Five years would go by and then I’d try it again. And then another five years would go by and I try it again. And it never worked.
And yet, I always and maybe you can relate to this, I always felt like I was the problem. I’m just not doing this right somehow, I don’t have enough willpower or my cravings are too strong. There were times I’m sure that I couldn’t even put my thumb on exactly what it was. That was the problem, but I just knew it was me is that I was the failure. None of that was true. And none of it was is true for you, either.
We are doing the best we can with the tools we have at the time.
And then when we see things in an entirely different way. And we begin to explore this understanding about how we work. And like I said, just a minute ago, the kindness of our design. And we begin to look upstream like I always talk about, about how we work. And we begin to have insights about how that is, that’s when things start to change.
I hope that’s been helpful for you. I’m pretty sure that many of you will be able to relate to that personal experience of having diets work temporarily. And like I say, it really struck me that the fact that that happens, is pointing exactly toward what I share on this podcast and in my work about the three principles understanding, the Inside Out understanding.
I think that’s for me, it was just such a positive affirming thing to see. It’s another example of our design and how it works, and how we experience it, and why it can be so challenging at times until we recognize what’s really going on.
So, I hope that’s helpful, and that you’re doing well and I look forward to talking to you again next week. Take care. Bye.