In the last post, we touched upon the impact that your environment can have, and what that can do to create and embed the internal dialogue, or programming, that has provided you with your current results with regard to weight loss. I can appreciate that you’re here because you need to know if there is a fast way to lose weight, but unless you’re thinking about the bigger picture, fast ways to lose weight won’t work long term.
You’ve probably got something that is very important coming up, and there’s just that last little bit of stubborn weight you need to shift, or, maybe the matter is more complex than that for you. Either way, you need something, and you need it now! This isn’t the kind of post that will recommend you take a lemon detox, or go on a grapefruit diet. Instead, we’re going to explore working on the source of the challenge; the perception of body image and what that creates.
It is clear that body shape and desirability throughout history have always been linked. But it wasn’t until the twentieth century that the weight loss industry and weight control truly became an obsession. Fundamental to this was the invention of the camera, which was initially intended as a means to capture the likeness of a person.
But, it soon became evident, particularly as the reproduction of images became easier and easier with time, and more widespread, that the camera was going to reinforce, or even drive societies tastes at the same time. Have a look around you today and take note of the media and how they inundate us with images of beautiful people.
All of their flaws having been touched up by editing software on computers, and even through apps on phones. Is it therefore really healthy for us to let these images influence our thinking and drive us to look for some miraculous fast way to lose weight?
As I mentioned earlier, I’m not going to be telling you about some detox or diet for some fast way to lose weight, nor am I going to pitch you some wonder drug that claims to help you drop the weight in 14 days. Nothing even close to it, because the root of the situation is easier to work with than many people think. All we need to do it to listen to our internal dialogue first.
So, what do I mean by internal dialogue? This is the language that your subconscious mind uses when it communicates with your conscious mind, it’s also referred to some as the little voice in your head. Right now you may be thinking “What little voice could she possibly be talking about?” – THAT LITTLE VOICE, THAT ONE RIGHT THERE! Sorry for shouting, but did you hear your little voice? Did you hear that little voice in your head ask that question, or something very similar? That’s the sneaky little voice we need to work with.
One of my friends calls her little voice ‘The Idiot’ because she has learned how to get it to work for her, rather than against her. And by what she has explained to me, it wasn’t difficult at all. Since taking control of The Idiot, she has been able to do so much more with greater confidence, and had results that she said she would otherwise have never had.
I asked her if she thought taking control of The Idiot could help with losing weight and getting it to stay off for good and she told me that she’s seen 5 kilograms drop off the scales in the last six weeks. Now, that might not be the kind of results you are looking for in a fast way to lose weight, but she’s done so much more than losing some weight that her improved confidence is what I noticed much more than any weight she felt needed to go.
With The Idiot working for you it is more likely that you will find a sustainable fast way to lose weight and keep it off, compared to having The Idiot working against you. So, how do we get The Idiot to shut up and listen to what you need it to?
The first tip she gave me was that The Idiot works very little, in some cases almost nothing at all, so don’t offer to overpay The Idiot. What she did was set a goal to study for two hours a night during the week, and the reward for doing this was that she would get to hang out with her friends (which included me) as the reward.
I had no idea that she was doing this at the time, but what she had done was taken the things she was already doing that were fun, and made them rewards. The Idiot, her inner voice, didn’t want to study for 2 hours a night during the week, and kept looking for distractions. She stopped herself one day and said to her inner voice “We can hang out with Pri and the girls when we’ve done 2 hours study each night this week”.
She explained to me that as soon as it got to 2 hours each night, that was the time to stop. She didn’t want to overwork The Idiot, as the agreement was for 2 hours a night. And sure enough, she was around on the weekend to hang out with us. Like I said, I never even noticed that she was doing this.
Her other tip was to pay The Idiot, on time and in full. If you change the deal on The Idiot, the next time you want to negotiate for something it is unlikely that The Idiot will respond the way you want it to. By using this approach she went from what she described as struggling in class and at home to finding things were easier with her studies, and her home life was more pleasant than before.
I had to find out how she got The Idiot to work with her on losing weight, as she did look fitter than what she did a few weeks back, but it hadn’t really been obvious until now. She told me that The Idiot enjoyed watching the same shows as her, so she made another deal with The Idiot; ‘Let’s exercise for 30 minutes after our study, and as a bonus, we’ll watch whatever you want to watch for 30 minutes’. Now, this isn’t what most would call a fast way to lose weight, but it is going to work much better in the long term.
Apparently, The Idiot loved this and was right there when the 2 hours of study time was completed encouraging her to get her shoes on so they could go for a jog. The Idiot really wanted to get back and enjoy some time catching up on the last episode of Master of None on Netflix. I found it very interesting how this little game she played with herself was getting these results.
The final piece of advice she gave me was to make sure that if you make a deal with The Idiot, that you always pay The Idiot. That made perfect sense, why would you push harder towards something that you are already working hard on, only to have The Idiot push back when you want to go again the next day and say “But yesterday you promised that we would…” only to become a voice you then find yourself fighting with again.
But, back to the point about societal influence and weight control. Interestingly, as the camera contributed to our world and perceptions in the way that it did, men too began to feel the pressure of a popularly acceptable body image.
Historically, a portly body implied you had wealth and a particular social position. However, in the later part of the nineteenth century, bodybuilding, which was developed by Edmond Desbonnet, established a new, more muscular male ideal.
Photographs of athletes and gymnasts who he worked with were displayed in his salon, which is where the now the traditional ‘before and after’ pictures were spawned from. Excess weight on men now became as undesirable on men as it has on women. The Victorian age saw the concept of dieting introduced where men and women now became fully conscious of, and even focused on their fluctuations in weight.
Still, the curvy hourglass shape was all the rage as personified by the unmistakable size 14, Marylin Munroe, the then most glamorous woman in the world. Her likeness even today has quite the remarkable hold on our imaginations. However, trends changed in the 1960’s and there was the emergence of the supermodel with the sensation that was Twiggy. Now, women were striving to fit into a size 8 outfit as the nascent diet culture brought with it a much darker side.
This created anxieties, obsessions, and neuroses in women who could not achieve what was being portrayed in every aspect of advertising around them. The 1970’s then saw the exercise culture enter the world, where not only did we count our calories, but we also began to pound our bodies into the ground, all in the name of the quest for the perfect physical likeness.
Jane Fonda took exercise to the next level as she devised a regime that paved the way for the next generation of body shape gurus. There were countless media personalities that emerged over the coming years, and one that stands out from conversations I’ve had with older women is Cher, who released a video called ‘A New Attitude to Fitness’ which went to great lengths to prove that women of all ages could shape up. This went on and on as we saw Elle McPherson and Cindy Crawford join in on the act too.
With all of that being thrust at generation after generation of women and men alike, is it any wonder that so many of us are now looking for a fast way to lose weight? Not at all, in fact, the diet and exercise industries are worth billions today, and they make their money for the most part by selling an ideal that some people may never achieve.
Take for example the bottle of pills that guarantee you will slim down in 14 days. With a picture of a woman on the bottle with a firm flat tummy, they sure do look like they will deliver on the promise to someone who is desperate for the results. Keep in mind that the person on the label surely wasn’t out of shape 14 days before the photoshoot or chosen based on the proof of the product’s results. In fact, I would even go so far as to say that I believe that they have most likely never used the product they are modeling for.
Now, I’m not saying it is a bad thing to be desperate, not at all. It’s quite healthy to encounter desperation, as long as the desperation drives you to respond in a positive way. Take for example the arrow that sits in the bow, it is not until the arrow is pulled back hard against the string that it stands any chance of hitting its target. Some of us are very much like that arrow; we need some pressure, or desperation, to force our hands into acting. As long as we act in a healthy and constructive way, then it’s a good thing to feel that pressure for a time.
Eating disorders are becoming more and more prevalent, and it is not uncommon to find that someone you know struggles with a disorder in this area in one form or another. Some bring with them extreme impacts on physical health, and more. With this series, I want to help you avoid these pitfalls and the impacts they can have on your life. The fast way to lose weight isn’t the best way to lose weight, we can have more success and much better health than being on that dangerous weight loss ride.