Thus, even these highly motivated, intelligent participants who were coached by expert professionals could not achieve the weight losses needed to reverse the obesity epidemic.
–Dr. Martjin Katan, 2009 New England Journal Of Medicine
800 participant, 2 yr Weight Loss Study Results
In 2008, after 20 years of yo-yo dieting, I came to a stunning realization:
I could not use motivation and discipline to reach my long term weight loss and fitness goals. Two crystal clear reasons:
1) Diet and Exercise motivation and discipline never lasts.
2) I’m incredibly motivated to eat a lot of amazing food all the time!
I was fighting a battle I absolutely could not win, and I had 20 years of battles lost to prove it.
A year later, when I started offering The EET Fitness Plan to my clients, I was introduced to many more stunning realizations:
Some people are really motivated:
- to eat a lot of food when they’re stressed
- to eat a lot of food for comfort
- to eat a lot of food to cure boredom
- to eat a lot of food at events
- to eat a lot of food during holidays or vacations
- to eat a lot of food because they feel they can’t control themselves
Trust me, there are more motivating factors to eat food than you can possibly imagine, and all of them are stronger than my clients’ inconsistent ability to get motivated and disciplined to diet and exercise.
So much for deciding to commit to a “lifestyle change”. Studies are clear most (as in virtually all) dieters simply cannot sustain the motivation to deprive themselves of the foods they love or to maintain the discipline to perform grueling exercise sessions when they have a busy life with a full time, high stress job, or full time, high stress kids.
When I looked at the facts objectively, it was obvious: motivation and discipline are completely overrated for weight loss and fitness. For others who may have their doubts then let’s add this:
Some people are simply not motivated to diet or exercise. Ever.
There are many reasons for this lack of motivation. Being really busy is one. Others have tried the diet and exercise route and let’s just say “it didn’t take”. They don’t like to endure the pain they feel that comes with the constant hunger of dieting and grueling exercise sessions. Can you really blame them for their lack of motivation, when diets and exercise fail nearly every time? (Interestingly, those people who feel completely defeated by diet and exercise failure are the best candidates to succeed at EET. I was one of them!)
And, while I’m building a rock solid case against motivation and discipline, let’s add this:
Everyone, and I mean every single client, no matter what shape or size, saw the following results from their prior efforts to be motivated and disciplined enough to diet. They feel guilty for eating the foods they love and even more guilty for “falling off the wagon” and eating that sometimes gets out of control. They feel embarrassed for failing at something that experts and the media make seem so simple: If you want to lose weight, just eat less and exercise more.
The truth is dieters should not feel guilty for loving food or like failures because they can’t force themselves to diet and exercise. Dieters are not the problem; diets that rely on motivation and discipline are the problem.
It all boils down to TIME (of course). Think of it this way: How long can you stay motivated and disciplined enough to stay on your diet and exercise plan? A month? Okay. A year? Hmmmm…. 5 years? Uh, no.
And so the experts advice to try and get motivated may be ok for very short term results, but longer term it fails and does significant physical and psyhological harm.
GREAT. NOW WHAT?
When I realized that motivation and discipline must can’t be important to my weight loss and fitness efforts, I had the same question you are likely asking right now:
How can I lose weight and become more fit without them?
EET does have an answer that’s been working for many EETers for years! It starts with acceptance of the fact that no motivation or discipline can possibly outlast your motivation for loving food. Then we simply adjust our weight loss and fitness goals to make sure we know what we’re really trying to accomplish. We then add in the most revolutionary EET guideline of them all:
Instead of losing as much weight as you can as fast as you can, EET encourages you to lose as much weight as you can for as LONG as you can PLUS…..