It’s simple to lose weight. But there’s a big difference between simple and easy, which is why most diets fail. Mindset is an important part of getting it right, and to that end I have a reframing trick that makes success more likely.
The easy option to overeat
Food has never been easier to get. It’s great we don’t have to hunt down a buffalo when we’re hungry, but it makes for constant temptation that opens the door to weight loss failure.
Therefore the option to overeat needs to be removed. We can’t easily change our physical environment to get rid of all the temptations around, but with some mental reframing we can achieve the same thing.
Immediate gratification vs future benefit
We gravitate towards choosing instant pleasure, even if it means long-term sacrifice. That’s why eating a tub of ice cream when you’re starving and miserable is so tempting and easy. Refusing the ice cream requires immediate sacrifice for long-term benefit, which is effortful and instinctively unappealing.
But if the consequences are extreme enough, not choosing the immediate payoff is also easy. If you step off the top of a tall building, you’ll get the most amazing thrill you’ve ever experienced, but you’ll also die. As such, stepping off buildings isn’t a choice most people would consider. Effectively, it’s not a choice at all.
The hijack: reframing options
The takeaway is that everyone has the capacity to mentally categorize activities as completely out of the question, regardless of how fun they are in the moment.
Overeating can be reframed as one of those things. You put it in the same mental box as stepping off the edge of a skyscraper. You’re not a person who leaps to your death for a thrill, and you’re no longer a person who overeats for a thrill. The consequences of both are unacceptable.
Constantly wrestling with the temptation to overeat is awful, but by using this mental trick you preemptively win the battle. No more decision fatigue, just an automatic journey to results. Not to say dieting is ever easy, but this way of thinking makes a difference.