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Confidence in a stick??


Can you read the label on the bottle?

“Instant Confidence Stick.” Catchy, right? Who doesn’t want an instant boost of confidence now and then–especially if you can just buy it in a bottle and don’t have to work for it by changing anything about yourself!

This is an example of marketing genius in action–the kind of marketing that hooks millions of people, year after year, to go on diet after diet, despite the fact that they continue to get heavier as a result.

The diet industry is a multi-billion dollar industry, and it thrives on failure. Our failure, if we actually believe the too-good-to-be-true promises we are asked to buy into. If you didn’t lose the weight it’s all on you, because you didn’t stick to the no-carb, black and white, all or nothing, totally unsustainable plan you were given. Think about it, though. If the diet industry sold us a “product” that actually “worked,” the industry itself would not be sustainable, because none of us would need to lose weight any more! But is this what is happening? I think we all know the answer to that one.

The problem, at least in part, stems from the current environment of instant gratification. We want what we want and we want it now! Not when the work we put in pays off. Now! (In fact, yesterday would be good.) The cold hard truth, however, is this: There is no such thing as fast, sustainable, fat loss. It takes time. It takes a lot of learning, coaching, and support around behaviour, environment, and lifestyle, and that process is never quick.

I’ll give you an example. When a person decides to become a vegetarian or make some other significant lifestyle change, it requires a conscious decision, followed by time and effort. Time and effort to learn how to ensure proper nutrition on a vegetarian diet; to learn about new foods, new recipes, and new cooking methods; to decide how to accommodate family members who may still eat meat; to determine what to do in social situations where there is no vegetarian option, etc. It is typically not a fast process.

When I speak to vegetarians about their lifestyle, I don’t ask what they do when they “fall off” of their plan to not eat meat. Because people tend to adopt a vegetarian lifestyle in response to personal values (not the other way around!), the likelihood of falling off the wagon is comparatively low. If they choose not to eat meat purely as a fat loss strategy, however, the likelihood of falling off the wagon is higher.

And so it is with dieting to lose weight versus adopting a healthy lifestyle and losing weight as a result. The sooner we let go of the dream of fast fat loss, the sooner we can free up the mental real estate we need to get down to the business of changing our lifestyles. Of eating what we physiologically need, in a way that supports our values. Of moving our bodies in ways that we love, instead of punishing ourselves pursuing exercise we hate. Of figuring out how to change our food environments so that they support us, rather than relying on willpower (which is, at best, a short-term strategy).

You want the truth? This journey is truly worth the effort. There is magic in making the next good decision, day after day, and reaping the rewards of a healthier mind and body. There is magic in figuring out the behaviours, specific to you, that are keeping you from getting where you want to be. But all of this takes time and effort!

If we skip this part of the journey in our race for the finish line, we miss an important aspect of achieving sustainability. If we don’t take the time to figure out what led us to where we are in the first place, we are guaranteed to end up right back there — and almost always with more body fat than we started with.


Tracy Fisher