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Why Any Diet Will Work

It's not the diet, it's your brain

I know you don't believe me and I don't blame you. I didn't believe me either.

  • I tried the Scarsdale Diet as a teenager. I may have lost weight, I don't recall.

  • I tried Suzanne Somers food combining. My son lost 50 lbs. I lost nothing.

  • I tried Atkins. I lost nothing.

  • I tried Weight Watchers. I lost 5 pounds the first week and nothing more for a full year

  • I tried the cabbage soup diet. I lost nothing

  • I tired the grapefruit diet. I lost 10 pounds in 10 days and gained it back in 2 weeks.

I could go on, but you get the picture.

“We mostly respond to our desire to eat with our conditioned urges. We feel an urge and it feels 'urgent.' We respond to this urge by overeating. This overeating gives us an immediate reward and perpetuates the 'thought error' cycle.” -Brook Castillo

I wasn't used to listening to my hunger signals. That is common and fairly normal in our society. There's no shame in that.

Understanding and Managing Urges

Knowing the difference between true hunger and an urge to eat to cover up a feeling you don't like is essential for overcoming the cycle of overeating.

Let's say you try a low carb diet. When you focus on what you can't have, you create urges for that thing. If you think, "I can't have a donut" then that's where you will focus. You create an urge to eat the donut and use willpower to resist. It's a losing battle.

The same thing happens if you, like me, don't eat meat. I focused so often in the early days on what I was missing out on that I created urges to eat that were hard to resist. I choose to not eat meat because it makes my stomach hurt, but when I focused on what I couldn't have I had greater urges to eat it. Since eating meat was painful, I tried other ways to resist the urge or to cover it up. I would eat extra food in an attempt to satisfy the feeling of deprivation.

It didn't work. It never works.

There are 4 ways to respond to an urge:

  1. Resist the urge- try to push it away. This results in the urge getting stronger.

  2. Avoid the urge- try to cover it up. This results in behavior that doesn't do you any good.

  3. Respond to the urge. This creates a habit that gets stronger each time you respond.

  4. Allow the urge to be there and just feel it. This also creates a habit that overcomes the urge.

Allowing the urge to be there is not comfortable. it is easier to respond in other ways, but the only way to overcome an urge is to allow it to be there without responding, resisting, or avoiding it. The power comes from acknowledging and accepting that you have the urge, knowing that urges are a part of the human experience, and you can let them be there without responding.

It's something humans do all the time. We allow urges and don't respond. It's powerful work.

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