See that woman in the photo? That's ME, Shelley. At 220 pounds. I know how you feel right now. Just how I felt in this photo. A little insecure and uncertain, but mostly overwhelmed. You just feel overwhelmed.
You are overwhelmed...with all the "eat this" and "eat that", "don't do this" and "don't do that."
All of the diet industry advice, from what you should eat, to how often you should eat, to what combination of food you should eat has left you wondering what to do and where to start.
I need to remove this confusion immediately. You feel trapped and we need to get you out, so you can take your first step forward.
I started by doing this one thing, and it's simple. You're going to do the same thing.
This is the beginning of your weight loss success! Read on to find out about how and why ignoring diet industry advice will help you lose weight and then complete the Ignore Diet Industry Advice Worksheet.
Do ONE Thing to Lose Weight NOW
(Or Really, The One Thing You Should Never Do if You Want to Lose Weight)
I talk with a group of women who are following, know, and have had success with the Losing Coach Process about the one thing they should never do when they want to lose weight.
I do a role-playing exercise with my friend, Erin, to demonstrate how overwhelming the enormous amount of information on weight loss is to most women. Read on to see how I make sense of the absurdity of trying all this conflicting stuff and keeping it up for the rest of your life.
I have a simple, effective alternative for you, it’s this way…
Shelley: The one thing you should never do... is listen to this! (Holding up piece of paper)
Now I did get this from very reliable sources—a couple of posts on Facebook! (laughing)
This is what you hear out there, I’ve just compiled it.
Erin: Ok, should I get some paper out?
Shelley: Please, take some notes. You ready?
Erin: I am.
Shelley: How to Lose Weight...
Don’t worry about your calories! And make sure you’re eating enough! Eat every two to three hours and pay attention to fat. Be sure to eat the right kind of fat! You need fatty essential acids – not the bad fat.
Erin (frantically taking notes): What’s bad fat?
Shelley: I don’t know, just listen. The trans-fat and saturated fat...
Erin: Eat that?
Shelley: Cut that shit out. (laughing)
Shelley: Give up sugar, alcohol, dairy, red meat, white flour, wheat – that equals inflammation; gluten—that causes bloating, I think that’s about the same thing—I don’t know. Now, eat only…
Erin: There’s still something left to eat?
Shelley: Yes, eat only 4 ounces of lean protein, fish, egg, legumes (leg-oooms, is that how you pronounce it?), beans, and raw or steamed veggies at meals.
Erin, looking confused: Are you going to have a list for me to take home? A menu—something? I mean, this is a lot.
Shelley: (ignoring Erin) IF you eat carbs (laughing) choose low glycemic sweet potatoes, brown rice, etcetera, but go easy on those. No soda, pop, Coke, no matter how you say it, none of that! And, if you can, eat six smaller meals per day, spaced out. Eat lots of fruits and veggies, organic, of course, alkalized with greens.
Erin: How do you alkalize something? Is that legal?
Shelley: Yeah, your body, I don’t know, alkalizes. So, alkalize with greens, like salads with olive oil, and lemon, seafood, soy products, non-GMO. Ah, this is very important—Drink half your body weight, in ounces, of water, with lemon squeezed in a day! (pause for group mental math) You can figure that out. (chuckling)
Erin: How many ounces?
Shelley: Half your body weight. In ounces. Of water. With lemon. Squeezed. In a day. Also, eat right for your type!
Erin: My blood type?
Shelley: Yes, it’s based on blood types, and how foods breakdown, or don’t breakdown, and support your body based on your type. And, get moving!
Erin: Yes! I heard that.
Shelley: Do all of this for a month. Your cravings go down. You gain energy, and you feel so much better. And then, keep going. Keep doing all of this... for the rest of your life.
Erin, after a deep breath: Does that work? (women laughing)
Shelley: You tell me. [to the audience] Does this work?
Women from around the room: No! No! No!
Erin, looking out at the women: Have you tried this to lose weight? (heads nodding yes)
Shelley: You’ve heard all of this, haven’t you? It’s crazy! Which ones have you bought into?
Erin: I tried the blood type one. [in her best caveman voice] I’m a meat-eater! I’m a carnivore! O-positive. (laughing from the room) Lotsa meat! Wow, that was really heavy. A lot of meat, I mean a lot of meat.
Shelley: I used to think it was about the water. I can eat this and that as long as I go drink my water. I am drinking my eight, eight-ounce glasses of water today, so I can eat whatever I want!
Erin: Yeah, I got rid of everything white. That was so intense. Organic, did all that…very intense. Not happy memories for my kids’ childhoods. (laughing from the room)
Shelley: Which other ones did you do?
Erin: Well, I remember when I was a kid, my parents did the beet diet. [to the room] Did you ever do the beet diet where you had to eat the beets? You got a half a cup of ice cream. Every day. That was a big deal. We all sat around the table, watching my Dad scoop out a half a cup of ice cream. (laughing from the room)
Shelley: I did a coaching session with someone recently and we talked about the decades—what you were told to do in each decade. In the 1970’s it was count your calories. In the 1980’s it was cut out sugar. In the 1990’s it was cut out fat. In the 2000’s it was cut out the carbs. What would it be now? It’s cut out all the non-organic.
Erin: Yeah, non-GMO and all that, right? No gluten. Nothing processed.
A participant: The raw diet.
Another participant: And now they’re saying cholesterol is not that bad for you.
Erin: Right, now it’s coming all back around. Don’t even worry about cholesterol anymore!
Another woman: Exercise. You can have whatever you want as long as you exercise.
Erin: Have you all bought into that? I did. It didn’t work. So why doesn’t all this work?
Shelley: All these diets, why don’t they work? It’s not that these don’t work, or that they’re not good advice, but... how can you do it? Eating everything—and nothing? All at the same time. It’s literally impossible. It’s impossible to worry about all of this. It’s like, you just can’t keep track of everything that’s going on here.
Erin: What does it make people feel like?
Shelley: Like “I can’t do this!” This is impossible! Overwhelmed. It is that feeling of “I’ve got so much to worry about” and you can’t even get started then because you’re worried about too many things. And literally, I’ve got to analyze all of this for twenty minutes before I can make a decision about what to eat to see if it fits into this “Do this, don’t do that. Eat this, don’t eat that.” Am I eating six small meals a day, every two to three hours? Oh my gosh, it’s been too many hours, I’ve screwed up my metabolism now, I might as well just quit.
Erin: Yeah, have you tried to do it in the midst of your job? In the midst of going to school? In the midst of kids, in the midst of parents, in the midst of paying bills… to add one more thing to your plate? No pun intended. That overwhelmed feeling. Do you still feel that way? Do you still sometimes go “oh my gosh, I’m so overwhelmed”? When it comes to your weight… Is that a predominant feeling?
Participant: Not any more. Now I only have one thing to worry about. It’s journaling what I eat and making sure it falls under a certain calorie amount at the end of the day. And I don’t have to spend an hour and a half every night prepping six meals for the following day. Making a grocery list of all the special things, specialty food items I have to buy. I don’t have to do that. I don’t have to think about that. I just do my journal.
Shelley: I have to say (pointing to the participant who just spoke) she’s a doctor, so she’s a perfect one to ask. She’s not keeping track of any of this! (holding up paper she just read from)
(To physician): You’re not concerning yourself with any of that. You are manipulating the math by counting the calories and bringing your weight down. Are you now healthier than you were thirty pounds ago?
Physician/Participant: Tremendously, yes.
Shelley: But you’re not worried about any of this other stuff? Shutting down your metabolism? Eating every two to three hours? As a doctor, are you concerned?
Shelley: We talked about this the other day, I asked, “Now, your patients when they go in to get prepped for surgery, aren’t allowed to eat, right? They’re fasting before they go in for surgery. Are you concerned about their metabolism shutting down?”
Physician: Absolutely not.
Erin: Are you concerned about them going into starvation mode?
Physician: Definitely not.
Erin: Are you concerned about them screwing up their metabolism for their future?
Physician: No, not at all.
Shelley: I mean, they didn’t eat every two to three hours, six smaller meals, and their health will be okay?
Physician/Participant: Yes, and despite that, I felt like I needed to eat every two to three hours to keep my metabolism up, because that knowledge didn’t apply to me. (laughing)
Erin: So, Shelley, you were saying, the one thing you should not do…
Shelley: Is listen to this (holding up the diet industry advice she had read to the group).
Erin: So, you’re saying ignore the advice out there?
Shelley: Yes, ignore all the advice out there! Know what you know to be true! Each and every one of you in this room has lost weight with this process, by trusting what you know to be true with the caloric deficit, and that’s the only way to manipulate your weight, is through math. You know when you’ve held on to that truth, what has happened. So, the evidence speaks for itself!
When all of this information comes out on Facebook, on Twitter, in the New York Times; understand that every time that information comes in, your brain takes it in, and you will emotionally begin to feel confused. It’s emotional, not rational. Your brain is taking all that in. You feel overwhelmed. The anxiety increases, and you’re left feeling confused. So, the one thing you should do if you want to lose weight is ignore everything. And as soon as you see a magazine article, a clip on TV, something on the radio, a talk show, people talking at work, about weight loss, immediately turn it off and walk away. This is the path out.
Erin to Shelley: What do you see regularly with clients when they get confused? What happens to them?
Shelley: Well, they can’t even take a step forward. They’re feeling trapped in fear. Oh no, what if I don’t eat breakfast? I’ve heard I can’t skip breakfast! They’re scared of these things they have been told over and over again. Like, they must eat breakfast! Listen, I eat breakfast every day. Sometimes it’s at noon. The fear doesn’t come into me that I’m going to screw anything up with my body. I manage my weight and I’m healthy. I check with my doctor very frequently because I’m a hypochondriac. (laughing) But I’m very healthy! (more laughing)
Erin: So, what is the one thing you should do if you want to lose weight?
Shelley: Truth. Know the truth. Believe in the truth. Believe in the math. You’ve all already experienced it. But you do need reminded of it because we all get carried away. We hear something, and we consider it for a split second. We think maybe they’re right. And naturally, we want to better ourselves, we want to help ourselves. So, when I hear that something is healthy, I want to listen to it. But just keep that separate from the math.
The math is the only thing that is going to bring your weight down. Manipulate that math and create a caloric deficit. Just keep it all separate. Understand that what you do for your health is for your health. What you do for your fitness is for your fitness. And what you do for your weight is math.
Shelley to the group: What have you experienced with ignoring the advice and focusing on the truth?
Participant: I have found it to be very freeing. In the workplace, whenever there are multiple women together talking about the diet they’re trying, the competition they’re in with each other, or how frustrated they are that something isn’t working for them, that they’ve tried over and over again… It’s very freeing just to be able to disconnect from that and walk away from it. And that has really been profound to me.
Shelley: It’s like having a secret inside of you!
Shelley: To be able to stand on your own two feet. I can know things, and I can believe things and I can feel things inside of me, and I don’t have to prove it to anyone else in this room. How powerful is that?
Participant: It’s very powerful. It’s a whole new level of confidence in yourself and in your abilities. And a peace, a peacefulness within yourself, and that’s priceless.
Another participant: For me it’s been freeing because of not having to tell someone when I decide I’m going to lose weight. When I decide to lose weight, I just simply decide to lose weight and I know how to do it.
I have a co-worker who I’ve told “if you want to lose weight, do not tell anyone, just keep it to yourself.”
In a meeting she announced “I’m going to lose weight. I’m going to be sexy this summer. It’s my goal for the summer.” She’s put it out to everyone. So, week after week she’ll tell me she goes to the Weight Watcher meetings, each week, and she’s not losing any weight, and she feels disappointed. And because she announced it in front of everyone at the meeting and didn’t pay attention to anything I said about keeping it quiet, she feels humiliated.
You don’t have to feel that way. Keep it private. It’s no-one’s business, it’s no-one’s body but your own. For me that’s freeing. When I decide to lose weight, I just simply follow the process and that’s it. If I decide I want to take a break, that’s fine too, but nobody needs to know about it.
Shelley: Isn’t it amazing?! Keeping it private. Women find it hard because we’re trained in full disclosure. Women find that very challenging to keep it to themselves. Look what it’s cost your co-worker. She’s embarrassed now.
Erin: So, the one thing you shouldn’t do is listen to anybody else about your body?
Shelley: Yes, IGNORE DIET INDUSTRY ADVICE!
When I turned my back on all of this diet industry advice, I started trusting myself and focused on the one truth of losing weight. And then, I lost weight.
That’s the bottom line. Here I am, 90 lbs. less, as living proof.
And I’m not different than you. I don’t have anything unique that you lack.
I only FOCUSED on the TRUTH about weight loss (Step 2 - TRUTH).
It can be difficult for some to believe that all I did was focus on the simple truth. They have tried to debate this with me and tell me that weight loss is more than math and very complicated. But I will never debate TRUTH, it doesn’t need debated, so my only rebuttal is to hold up my Before & After photos and say:
“It’s okay, you don’t have to believe me.” ;)
Shelley Johnson is the Creator & Founder of The Losing Coach®.