People are overweight or obese and looking for help. If they weren’t, I’d still be teaching guitar lessons. We’ve got some brilliant minds in our industry discussing whether people should eat a low carb whole food diet or a high carb whole food diet. Others are discussing whether people should do resistance training or sprint training or cardio because, after all, scientists have studied these and one seems better than the others.

If you look around and take the advertisements at face value, you’ll be led to believe that people are struggling to manage their weight because they just don’t know which foods to eat or which exercises to do.

I’m not buying it.

When I coach someone for the first time I ask “If you were going to design a diet for yourself, or change your current diet, what would you do?” I almost always get great ideas in response. “Eat more fruits and vegetables.” “Eat more protein.” “Get some healthy fats.” “Control my portions.” Sometimes I have to nitpick a little, but most of the time the answers are pretty right on the money.

The next question I ask is “On a scale from 1 to 10, how confident are you that you can achieve your goals and maintain them long-term? 1 being not-at-all and 10 being absolutely sure.” The number of answers I get below 5 is astounding. I don’t care if you have Gary Taubes or T. Colin Campbell as your personal dietician and Tony Horton as your fitness consultant, if you don’t think you can do it you can’t.

My follow-up question is that of a 5-year-old: “Why?” The answer? “I don’t know. I mean, I know what I should do and I start out good for a few days, but then I just fall off.” This is a matter of the mind and this is what sets apart the successful dieters from the failing dieters. Maybe we should make P the only capital letter in sPeed.

Stay tuned for lots of dieting psychology goodness.

Missing the Big Picture
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