Romeo and Juliet, or why your diets have always failed in the past.
When we go on a diet, we’ve usually already accepted that what we are going to do is going to be strict.
Nine times out of ten, the diet we follow has these arbitrary rules which eliminate certain foods from our diets.
Most people, when we follow a diet it doesn’t matter if it’s 5:2 or Paleo or Atkins or whatever.
We all eliminate foods or entire food groups.
Atkins, no carbs. Paleo, once again no carbs or low carbs, others are low fat, no gluten, etc.
Even Weight Watchers or Slimming World type diets are going to be “don’t eat these things, eat
way less of these other things”.
All those diets basically identify certain foods and take them away. What you’re left with is this
drive, this desire for the food that you can no longer have.
It’s just like Romeo and Juliet.
Romeo, Juliet both want to be together.
They want to be togethermore than ever, because everybody wants them to be apart.
Everyone tells them, “Don’t be together. It’s not what we want. It can’t happen. You’re from rival families”.
It just makes the love more intense and they both want each other even more.
Food is the same thing, “don’t eat Mars Bars”.
All you can do is think about eating Mars Bars.
“Pink elephants” is another phrase you may have heard, so if I tell you right now to not think of
pink elephants, you can’t stop yourself, your mind will go to pink elephants.
It’s impossible to avoid.
By saying, “Don’t eat chocolate”, you’re already thinking about eating chocolate. You can’t get
away from it. This is clearly a recipe for disaster. It’s going to lead you to thinking of the nicest
tasting chocolate bar, the best Mars Bar ever.
You’ll fantasize about it for twelve weeks, or however long your diet is supposed to last.
Then after twelve weeks you’ll eat it right away and probably eat more than you should have.
This is because we are using our willpower to try and ‘diet’.
In general, when we try to stop ourselves from eating something, we try and use willpower.
I say, “Don’t eat Mars Bars.” You will use all your willpower for twelve weeks to not eat them.
At the end of those twelve weeks, you’ll immediately eat one, because your imagination will think all the
way through the program, “Oh, I can’t wait for a Mars Bar. It’s going to be great” so you’ll
imagine the best tasting Mars Bar ever.
I say “just one” – you’re probably going to eat a whole pack.
What we want to do is use our imagination, instead of our willpower, to get the results we’re
Start imagining what it’s going to be like for you to get where you want to be.
“I want to be walking down the beach with abs”.
“I want to be playing volley ball on the beach with my friends, with really toned arms”.
“I just keep thinking about that and imagining myself wearing that dress or that suit, looking
If we can keep thinking about these things, instead of using willpower to say no when
confronted with things like chocolate and so on, we just keep imagining what we really want the
future to be like.
What we don’t get if we eat that.
Imagine what we will get and how much quicker we’ll get there if we do not eat it.
Imagination is so much more powerful than willpower, it always will be.
We want to use that to get to our goals, and stop ourselves from sabotaging and ruining it.
You don’t have to fight with your willpower, there is an easier – and more effective – way.
So you think, OK cool, use imagination over willpower, but how do we break the cycle?
How do we get freedom from these self-imposed rules of what we can or cannot eat?
It’s really simple; you just stop giving yourself rules.
You say to yourself that everything is available.
You can eat whatever you fancy.
Here’s how to do it:
I want you to imagine a banquet table with all the food you’ve eaten over the last year.
If you’ve eaten fish and chips once, you put one fish and chips on the table. If you’ve
eaten chicken salad twenty-five times, you put one chicken salad.
One dish to represent everything you’ve eaten, no matter how many times you might have eaten it.
What you’ll find is that there will be about 50 to 70 items.
We generally all go back and eat the same things repeatedly.
Now, you take all these dishes and I want you to put them on to this perfectly fitted banquet table.
It’s just big enough to fit one dish of each of the foods you’ve eaten over the last year, and no more.
There’s no space left for anything else.
Close your eyes and imagine that we took away all the stuff that we know is going to make us stay
fat or is going to get in the way of us losing weight.
You get rid of the chocolate and the pizzas, the burgers and the alcohol goes too.
You open your eyes and look at this table after they’re gone.
You’ll notice all these big gaps, and suddenly this massive, beautiful banquet table that looked really
filling and could feed you for a year, now looks really bare.
You’ve got all these big, ugly gaps and it doesn’t look very appealing.
Suddenly it just looks like you’ve lost half the food and you think, well, I can’t survive only on that for a year!
Of course not,that sounds crap. I’ll be hungry and missing out on all my favourite foods!
Yet that’s the approach we generally take when we follow a diet. That is exactly why we feel
deprived when we are dieting, and exactly why we cannot stick with our diets for the long term.
We are so focused on the things we can’t have, it consumes us.
What we need to do is change that, so that we use a completely different approach in our minds,
to get ourselves where we want to be.
Instead of saying “I’m not eating chocolate, no more alcohol”,
what we do is we put everything back on that table. We then take all the bad stuff and
we push it to the very right hand side of the table. Then all the stuff that we consider to be good we
put on the left.
Instead of taking things off that are bad for us, all we’re going to do is find something new that we
haven’t tried before and we’re going to try it out.
If we like the food, we’re going to keep having it.
We’ll push it on the left-hand side of that banquet table.
Now, by putting that on the table, something on the other end is going to fall off. It might be
alcohol, it might be Mars Bars or crisps. It might be bread, it might be cake.
It doesn’t matter what it is. It’ll fall off and won’t be in our diet any longer.
That’s how we get food out of our diet without consciously focusing on it.
We keep doing that. We keep pushing new items on our table, until nearly all the old items fall off
and you’ve only got 20% of the bad stuff left. Now you’ve got the table filled with 80% of the food
that you want to eat for good results in your weight loss.
You’ve eliminated most of the ‘bad’ food that will keep you fat, but you don’t miss it.
You’re not thinking about it, obsessing over when you can eat it again. This works because you’re focusing
only on the addition of new food. As you add new foods, you naturally stop eating some of the old
These changes, over time, create huge shifts in your general eating patterns.
Of course, we can do all this stuff, but we’re still going to fuck up at times.
We’re always going to mess up. It’s important to remember that messing up is exactly what we want to happen
I hear a lot of clients say to me, “I can’t do this right now because Christmas is coming up, my
birthday is coming up and I’m going to have a massive blow out.
I want to do it when I’ve got a few free months with nothing in the way, where I can just focus on my food and getting in shape”.
My reaction is always the same. That sounds like the worst time to do it, when you have nothing
going on, because you won’t learn anything. It’s easy to eat right if I lock you in a room and keep
you in there, only feeding you the right food for four months.
It’s hard when I let you out into the world.
That’s when it’s all going to get real.
When you’re faced with tough choices, in less than ideal situations.
SO lets tackle the big scary times as a team rather than on your own.
See you on the Other Side