A common pattern I have noticed among people who have struggled with their body weight for a long time is that whenever they hang out with friends or family, and the topic of food comes up; or when it’s finally time for everyone to eat— there’s inevitably some comment on diet, nutrition, exercise or weight loss.
And this leads to an unfruitful discussion on the whole topic.
The cause for this could be intentional or unintentional. Often the provocation is external by friends and family members. But a lot of the times the initiation for this kind of conversation is by the person themselves.
If you are guilty of this, this post is for you.
Initiation doesn’t always have to be via an open-ended question. In fact, it rarely starts that way.
The conversation usually begins through a comment related to diet—
“I’m trying to stick to a diet.”
“I’m trying to eat less.”
“I’m on a weight loss program.”
“I can’t eat carbs.”
If you’re passing comments like these during a meal, that’s provocation enough for others to pitch in and start a conversation on weight loss, diet, exercise and related topics— which none of these people have any experience in (in most cases), but they’re happy to provide advice about.
This post is about why such antics are not only unhelpful but in fact can be detrimental to your weight loss efforts. We’ll also discuss what you can do instead to stop this pattern from recurring.
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Achieve your goals instead of just talking about them.
Here’s a concept I’m a huge proponent of—
If you are a blank slate and have no prior notions of what to do to achieve an outcome. It is much easier for you to learn the correct way to do things.
You can teach an old dog new tricks, but it takes longer. It is more difficult and an uphill task in general.
You can learn new habits to replace old ones, but that just takes more effort because you have already learnt bad patterns beforehand. Now it’d require you to first unlearn old patterns before learning new ones.
When you keep talking about weight loss and your diet habits; and keep getting feedback from your friends and family on what you should or should not do. Over the years it builds mental patterns about what you think is the right way to go about things.
A friend might advise you to cut out carbs because it worked for them. Someone else may recommend an absurd supplement program or “medicinal” herbs or a crazy exercise routine they discovered on the internet.
When you keep hearing these same things over and over, it creates a perception in your head about them as working solutions.
When you try those out yourself and don’t see results, you still are not able to accept these methods as incorrect and your friends’ results as merely coincidental. Going forward it makes it harder for you to learn the correct method when you come across it because of the old learnings that have been hard-wired into your brain.
It’s like trying to correct your technique after having spent years playing the guitar with wrong technique.
If you have spent years thinking that carbs are bad for you. When time comes around for you to implement the correct way of eating (which is to incorporate all food groups into your diet, including carbs), it’s harder for you to accept that you could be eating carbs and still losing weight.
Whereas if you went into a program with no preconceived notions of what you need to do to lose weight, you’d be more receptive to the solutions being provided.
So you need to be careful about the kind of information you learn to achieve your goals. If you spend time feeding wrong information into your brain, it’s going to take more effort later on to erase that and replace it with the correct information.
I’m not saying that your friends and family are always the worst places to seek out advice. Everyone has domains of expertise where they are proficient.
But everyone around you also has an opinion irrespective of whether they have first-hand experience with a certain subject. And often, they dish out these opinions as advice.
99% of these people have never achieved what you want to achieve. Neither do they have the knowledge of what actually works. They probably don’t even share your goals or have ever dealt with the problems you’re currently facing.
But still, they would have an opinion and some kind of advice on what you should be doing. When you go looking for this kind of unsolicited advice, you’re going to get the information from someone who has no idea of what they’re talking about.
This is a terrible way to learn new things.
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Nowadays, the internet has made it much easier for people to voice their opinions online, which is not a bad thing; but it is a double-edged sword.
Because the people who would be otherwise dishing out their uninformed opinions and advice to just their social circle in the physical world, can now do this as influencers to tens of millions of people globally.
So misinformation has been amplified. And you need to be careful of who you follow online as well.
In most cases, such information is acting to your detriment by filling your head with a lot of useless noise. And when you feed your brain with more and more noise, the consequence is that the quality of your output is going to suffer.
What you put in is what you get out.
Whenever you’re talking to people about your weight loss problems and you’re getting really bad solutions; your results will suffer accordingly.
Tired of losing & regaining the same weight?
Similarly, if you’re constantly consuming poor-quality content online, it’s only going to add to this problem.
People who have brains worth picking are rarely out there dishing out unsolicited advice because in most cases, they are aware that different circumstances entail different strategies; and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to achieve any goal.
If someone is giving you advice with a high degree of confidence without even knowing the specifics of what you’re going through, that advice should be ignored. This is a good mental model to keep in mind.
Another reason you should stop talking about your goals and what you’re trying to do with your diet, with your exercise program is because when you keep talking about these things, it makes you feel like you’ve already accomplished something you have not.
When you have not put in the work; when you have not actually seen results. But you keep talking about it like—
“I have started a new diet”
when the only thing that you have done is eating a slightly better dinner yesterday than the day before.
But the next day you’re talking to your friends like you have been on a healthy eating streak of over five months. This creates a false sense of validation in your head.
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This would eventually come back to bite you in the butt.
Because when you don’t actually achieve results (because you have not put in the work), these same friends will take that opportunity to point out how you’re always talking about diet and exercise, but have nothing to show for it.
This creates a negative feedback loop. Now you are digging your own grave.
It’s your actions not your words that reflect your priorities.
So if you’re actually putting in the work, you don’t have to talk about it to your friends. Because when you see results, they would see that too over time.
And they would ask you themselves—
“What are you doing? Like, how are you seeing these results? You look fabulous.”
They would bring that up themselves. You don’t have to do it.
So if you feel like you constantly have to get validation from others about your efforts, be wary that there’s no upside to it.
Here are a few strategies to avoid all these above-mentioned pitfalls—
Stop talking about new things you’re trying to do with your diet and your exercise.
Stop seeking external validation from your friends and family. If you ate one healthy meal, if you woke up early for the past three days, if you went to the gym every single day for the past month— stop talking about this to get external validation.
Your friends and family don’t share your goals. They don’t have any clue why you are trying to do this or what this means to you. And like we discussed in the previous section, you only risk creating a negative feedback loop where others point out your ‘all talk and no action’ approach.
If you really want to talk about these things, you need to find a tribe of people with similar goals and aspirations. And in order to do that, you can join the Workday Physique discord community.
When friends point out your food & exercise habits—
“Why aren’t you eating your fries? Are you on a diet?”
“Why do you have to go to bed early?”
“You’re eating so less these days. Are you trying to lose weight?”
Instead of taking that as an opportunity to talk about your diet or your exercise regime, and feel good about yourself. Deflect the topic.
When people ask if you’re on a diet, just say that you had a heavy lunch and don’t feel like eating more. If someone points out how you skipped the fried items, say your tummy hasn’t been acting great lately so you’re avoiding fried food.
When you deflect the conversation away from fitness and weight loss to something else, it makes it less likely that others will pursue the topic further. But if you bring it up every time they talk about food or exercise, it gives them an opportunity to comment further— which is exactly what you don’t want.
Unless and until you make it so, it is never a big deal.
It is ultimately you who has to decide where the conversation goes. And my advice would be to deflect it away from weight loss, diet and exercise as much as possible. There is no point talking to someone who has no interest or expertise in these subjects, about these topics.
Otherwise, you’re just filling your brain with noise. And like we discussed earlier, when you fill your brain with noise your input quality goes down. Your output will accordingly suffer.
If you need advice on what you should do, seek out professional help.
If you go to a gym, ask your trainer. If you have a nutritionist, ask them your queries. Or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be happy to help you out.
This way you will see much better results and it’ll be a more effective use of your time.
If you have been trying to reach your weight loss goals for a while now, but are struggling a bit in the process.
It’s probably because of a lack of consistency, a lack of guidance or a lack of support.
If you’d like a 24×7 support system to hold your hand and guide you through the process till you get to your goals, you should consider 1-on-1 coaching with Workday Physique.