The Psychology Of Weight Loss

We all know how to lose weight; eat less and exercise more! It’s that easy, right? The answer seems so simple. But if weight loss is so easy then why are more and more women struggling with their weight? Why is something that should be so straight forward seemingly impossible for so many of us? The truth is: losing weight is hard!

So what makes weight loss so hard? Before we tackle this question let’s first clarify a very important point: a strict calorie controlled diet and exercise program will assist almost anyone to achieve a healthy weight. If you can eat small portions of food and exercise regularly then stop reading, you’ve found your answer to weight loss!

The problem is, although most of us can maintain this approach for a short period of time, we cannot continue it long-term. So where are we going wrong? They say that everything begins and ends in our mind, and when it comes to dieting this could not be truer. The reason many of us haven’t yet succeeded is that we haven’t found a diet that is suited to our psychology.

There are three psychological hurdles that cause huge amounts of damage to our weight loss attempts. They are (1) our need for instant gratification, (2) our limited willpower, and (3) ‘all or nothing’ thinking.

Instant gratification is the desire to see a result soon after an action. Imagine that you’ve started a calorie controlled eating plan. After one day of disciplined eating you jump on the scales and, to your shock, see that your weight has barely budged! All of that work for practically nothing! Soon after, you give up on your diet because your efforts weren’t rewarded with visible results.

Most conventional diets provide you with slightly less calories than you need each day. The theory being that eating slightly less than you need requires little extra effort, and those small daily calorie deficits will add up over time and result in weight loss. However, in practice cutting out even a small amount of calories requires a large amount of mental effort, especially because the daily results are practically impossible to see.

This is where BODi Meal Replacements differs. Like conventional diets, on your BODi days you will eat less calories than your body needs to maintain its current weight. However, instead of eating only slightly less, you will consume substantially less, multiplying your fat loss several fold. On top of this, the mix of macronutrients in BODi Meal Replacements keeps your energy levels high and will leave you feeling full (see BODi: The Biology). The end result being you will require no extra discipline to do a BODi day versus a day on a conventional diet, but you will lose several times the weight.

The second factor that can sabotage our weight loss efforts is our limited willpower. Take the following example; you’ve been on a health kick for a while and you are doing pretty well. You come home one day and find that your partner has bought a block of your favourite chocolate… You know you shouldn’t eat it but it’s just so tempting! How many days do you last before you give in and eat the chocolate? 1 day? 3 days? Eventually you will most likely give in as we all have limited willpower.

The interesting part of this example is not that you gave in, but that for a period of time you showed strong discipline and didn’t give in. Conventional eating plans don’t take this very important point into account. They require you to eat differently than you would like to every day for months on end. The light at the end of the tunnel seems a long way off! BODi Meal Replacements only require you to be disciplined (if you call drinking a chocolate-nut flavoured shake disciplined!) 1-3 days per week. For the rest of the week you can continue eating as usual.

This brings us to ‘all or nothing’ thinking. Imagine you wake up one day inspired to lose some weight. You make yourself a healthy breakfast, choose a salad for lunch, and avoid the evil work vending machine throughout your afternoon. You then arrive home absolutely starving! You think to yourself, “I’ve been so good all day; I’ll just have a small biscuit before dinner”. So you have a few biscuits, what’s the harm, right? This is when the “you’re out of control, you can’t even eat healthy for one day” thoughts start to kick in. You begin to feel disheartened and out of control. You start to think “what’s the point? I’ve ruined today so I may as well write the rest of the day off!” Next thing you know you’ve eaten the whole packet of biscuits!

This black and white, ‘all or nothing’ thinking is really common in people who are trying to lose weight. Instead of thinking that snacking on two biscuits is a minor setback; people see it as a total failure and give up completely.

Like limited willpower, ‘all or nothing’ thinking is only a problem when you combine it with a diet that requires you to be disciplined all the time. On the BODi Meal Replacement program, most days are not “diet” days and so there will be no guilty feelings when you decide to have a little treat… and therefore no resulting binge!

So there you have it. Given our limited willpower, need for instant gratification, and ‘all or nothing’ thinking, it’s not hard to see why most of us struggle when presented with a diet that requires us to control our calorie intake all of the time, or only results in a tiny bit of weight loss each day. Because of this, BODi Meal Replacements have been designed to provide substantial weight loss while only requiring willpower a few days per week.