Guest blog by Michele Connolly, author of How to Be Thin in a World of Chocolate.
Will 2018 be the year we find the answer to the weight loss problem? Or is the answer already out there, hiding behind the kale smoothies and activated almonds?
One possibility is that the right answer is not the same for everyone. We have different genes, bodies, preferences – it makes sense we won’t all find success the same way.
Having spent much of my adult life trying to shift a coterie of overly attached extra kilos, I’ve experimented with many approaches to weight loss. And it strikes me that there are two kinds of people – outside in and inside out. And they each need different kinds of New Year’s resolutions.
Outside-in people want something extreme to motivate them. They’re drawn to 12-week challenges where you really push yourself. To eating regimes cutting out entire food groups. To all-out exercise programs that demand you go hard or go home. (Um okay, I’m off then.) They’re motivated by external rules and prepared to tune out how they feel and what they enjoy.
Maybe this approach works, at least in the short term. I don’t know. It definitely doesn’t work for me.
I’m in the inside-out group of people who want to eat what they want to eat. Who can’t motivate themselves to do exercise they hate. Who don’t want someone else telling them what to do.
You can see why inside-outs don’t fare well on 12-week challenges and restrictive diets and exercise bootcamps. For inside-out people, being told when and what to do is not going to work. Especially if screamed on a beach at dawn by a guy in faux military.
Sure, inside-outs may start promisingly and buckle down in a fit of determined submission, but eventually there’s going to be a rebellious tantrum, also called a ‘massive binge’. Usually well before February.
So what do we do, those of us who don’t want to follow someone else’s rules? Who want to look and feel great and enjoy our chocolate, too? What kind of New Year’s resolutions will work for us?
Well, instead of ignoring our own cues and preferences, we can use them as a beacon.
We can splurge strategically – eating only the treats we love most and leaving the rest.
We can make changes we’ll be able to stick to because they’re based on what we actually do and don’t like.
We can listen when our bodies tell us they want something nutritious.
We can ignore exercise rules about time of day and intervals and equipment, and simply do whatever exercise feels good to us.
We can recognise false hunger and get acquainted with our own genuine hunger signals – and those all-important full signals too.
In short, those of us who don’t want someone else telling us what to do must get better at hearing what we are telling ourselves to do. We need to tune out the dietary fads and noise and experiment to find out exactly what works for us.
We’ve been ignoring our own voice too long, but January 1 is a great time to start tuning in. It’s the only voice we’re actually going to listen to anyway.
Michele Connolly has a Bachelor of Psychology and has written a thesis on personality and happiness. She is the author of How to Be Thin in a World of Chocolate.
How to Be Thin in a World of Chocolate
The anti-fad, anti-misery guide to losing weight for life
How to Be Thin in a World of Chocolate contains 56 anti-fad, anti-diet, anti-misery strategies for losing weight without losing your mind.
Michele draws on her Bachelor of Psychology, research into why diets fail, and years of experimenting with her own diet, exercise, and mindset as though she were both scientist and guinea pig - after all, what could be cuter than a small rodent in a white lab coat?
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