It’s real simple…
If you’re reading this post, you’re probably a food addict.
Don’t be offended. Most people are.
The CDC estimates that 69% of American adults are overweight.
Seems like a high number considering how educated people are about food these days, doesn’t it?
No. Our problem in America is not lack of education.
The problem is addiction.
… And since food addiction is such a serious problem, I’ve written this massive guide to help you diagnose your problem, accept your addiction, and outline 3 steps you can take to change your eating habits (permanently) and finally reach your weight loss goals.
Are You a Food Addict?
Do any of these sound familiar? You:
- Have tried multiple diets, but “none of them work”
- Set weight loss goals and fail
- Have a cupboard full of healthy recipe books, but rarely use them
- Lose weight, and put it back on
- You’ve written out the reasons you want to lose weight, hoping that if you can focus on your purpose for losing weight, that will provide the inspiration you need to meet your goals… but then you fail.
- Set New Year’s Resolutions and break them
Did you ever stop to think the problem is not that the diet doesn’t work or that your goals aren’t inspirational enough. The problem is that you’re an addict.
The Living Phit Food Addict Definition
Food addicts come in all shapes and sizes. They may be 10 lbs or 200 lbs overweight.
A food addict is anyone who WANTS to lose weight, and KNOWS how to eat healthy, but “CAN’T” follow through.
Therefore, a food addict is not necessarily obese, and not all overweight people are food addicts.
Some people simply don’t know the effects of eating carbs, or skipping breakfast, or having acidic pH levels. They’re not addicts. They just need education.
Others are real addicts, who know better.
If that’s you, get ready to open your heart and your mind, because the following words could change your life forever.
Accept that Conventional Weight Loss Tips are Worthless
If you’re an addict, your inability to lose weight is not your fault.
That’s because 99% of what you’ve read about weight loss won’t work for you.
You don’t need another set of weight loss tips, or another low carb recipe book, or a p90x workout DVD.
Those things might help in the short term, but ultimately, you’ll backslide.
Nope. You don’t need tips.
… You need a system.
… a system that will NOT allow you to fail.
Creating New “Needs” & Freedom from Food Addiction
Be honest with yourself.
The sooner you give up statements about how you want to eat healthier, the better.
As Saint Paul said to the Romans:
Why do I do the things I do not wish to do, and that which I wish to do, I do not do?
The first step is to realize that while our “spirit” may be willing in our desire to eat better, our flesh is weak, my friends.
So the first step is to admit it, and then be honest with yourself about your true goals.
Don’t say you wish you would eat less or eat healthier.
The truth is you wish you could eat all your favorite foods all the time, and you would if there were no consequences. You love unhealthy food, and you always will.
Don’t Rely on Forming New Habits
You might think, “Well, I do have some bad habits, but if I just try this new diet for a month, and am really disciplined with it, I’ll form new eating habits.”
You must realize that your eating habits could take months to change.
Popular culture teaches us is takes 21 days to create a new habit, but studies do not back that up.
When University College London psychologist Phillippa Lally studied groups of people trying to form new habits like jogging or eating apples regularly, she found the average time it actually took was 66 days on average, and in some cases, up to 245 days.
That means you have to be willing to make serious, systemic changes to your approach to eating and weight loss if you are to succeed.
So stop lying to yourself. Stop telling yourself you’ll be more strict “next time”.
If you admit you’re an addict, you’ll look at your weight loss journey in proper context, and will be mentally prepared for what’s coming in step 2.
Step 2 – Implement a “Needs” Based System
The next few words could forever change the way you approach dieting and weight loss.
Let me start with a few questions:
Why do we fail? Why are we food addicts?
If we know the risks of being overweight (diabetes, heart disease, etc.), why isn’t that enough motivation to quit eating so poorly?
The answer is found in psychology.
Psychologist Ian Newby Clark, who studies habit and habit change, says:
Habits are responses to needs.
I’m a huge Biggest Loser fan, and I know this to be true. Every season, it’s apparent that 90% of these obese peoples’ problems are mental. They run to food for comfort or happiness or relaxation. Those are their primary psychological needs.
Therefore, to succeed in weight loss, we must create an environment where we psychologically “need” to lose weight. Only then will weight loss be important enough to motivate us.
Leaning on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the famous theory in psychology that described patterns in human motivation, we’ve come up with the following list of motivators.
(Before any weight loss or weight maintenance attempt, put at least 3 of the following into place)
Create a Physiological “Need” to Lose Weight
Our physiological needs are for food, water, sleep, etc.
We can manipulate this primal need in our favor by pledging money away if we don’t meet our weight loss goal.
There are 2 sites I’ve used for this:
- Healthy Wage – Allows you to set a weight loss goal and bet on yourself. If you win the bet, you win the amount of money you pledged. However, if you lose, your account will be charged the amount pledged.
- Stickk – Stickk is similar but they throw in a curveball. If you lose, your money goes to a charity you choose… a charity you hate.
- You can also make bets with friends
This only works if you bet a fair amount of money. DISCLAIMER: I’m not suggesting you go bet thousands of dollars on one of these sites. I’m just saying for myself, I wouldn’t be motivated by losing 20 bucks. $500 or $1,000 maybe. A good bet will be an amount that will “disrupt” your finances a bit, but not leave you begging for food if you lose.
Appeal to your Need for Love and Belonging
We humans are such dependent creatures. We value friendship and family relationships.
Let’s use that
weakness primal need to our benefit, and get others involved in our weight loss plan. This concept is known as social accountability.
Here are a few ideas:
- Get a Workout or Weight Loss Buddy – studies show you’re more that 60% more likely to succeed in your weight loss goals if you do it with someone. They “need” you to keep up your end of the bargain or you’ll let them down. That’s powerful psychological stuff! Need some extra motivation? You might try a 30 Day Transformation Kit from Yoli.
- Create a Facebook Group – Here’s another way to get like-minded people together to create social accountability. You can share your goals, commit to posting pictures every month, or hold competitions.
- Hang out with Active Friends – If they’re active, you’ll feel a “need” to be active as well. A recent Harvard study proved that weight loss is contagious among social networks, and that they played a huge role in obesity or activity. Another quote I’ve often said is “You are the average of your 5 closest friends.”
- Join a Team Sport – There are adult softball, soccer, and football leagues everywhere. Join one.
Appeal to Your Need for Esteem
As humans, we long for respect by others and the feeling of achievement.
So go set some lofty goals, and set yourself up to be embarrassed if you fail.
- Schedule a 5K, 10K, etc. Tell all your friends on Facebook you’re going to do it. You might even run for a cause and raise money, providing even more incentive for you to follow through. Invite others to run with you (again the workout buddy concept). Imagine how good you’ll feel when you post your picture on Facebook at the event. You did it!
- Obstacle course races also make for great fun. Plus you need to train for them.
3. When you Reach Your Goal, Repeat Step 2
#3 is also so important. I recently hit my high school weight of 162 lbs (a couple weeks ago). In order to get there, I utilized several of the Need Creation Strategies.
- I placed a bet with my step-brother for $1,000 that I would get below 163 lbs by 7/15/14
- I told just about everyone I knew about the bet
- Plus I had made some posts on Facebook that I’d be sending out some before & after pictures soon
On the day of the weigh in, I was 162.2. I did it!
However, here we are 2 weeks later, and at the date of this writing, 7/31/14, I now weigh 167 lbs. What can I say except after I hit my goal, I no longer needed to watch my weight. So I’ve been falling into my old habits, not eating very well, and why do I do that? Because I, like you, am a food addict.
The good news is that I know my weakness, so the second I see myself starting to slip, I go back into Needs Creation mode. I’ve now set another bet with my step-brother, am telling my friends and family, etc. etc.
Do you see what we’ve doing here? We created the “Need” to succeed.
You can do it…
Set your goal, then select one or two items from each Need class, and put them into action. You’ll almost be guaranteed not to fail.
Remember, habits are responses to needs. If you want to develop a new habit, create the need to succeed.