“I want to be happy (or happier).”
If I had £1 for every time I heard one of my clients say this, I could be quite a wealthy man.
What is it about happiness?
It’s so easy to say, yet difficult to define. Many people will say ‘I eat because it makes me happy’. But I think that’s not right.
Eating something can give pleasure or gratification. But can it make you happy?
Going to the fridge and seeing a slice of cake or pie or whatever your favorite thing is (mines cake), and thinking,
“I’m hungry, but I can’t have it”
will likely trigger a negative emotional response like sadness, anger, frustration etc.This is because you are being deprived of something you want and/or like.
Taking the thing and eating it will also trigger an emotional response too, but it won’t be happiness. It will likely be gratification or pleasure.
If you do eat it and you are on a diet that excludes the thing you have just eaten, that will then trigger a secondary emotional response too: GUILT.
The diet says, “don’t eat cake”. Which is just like me saying to you now “don’t think about an elephant riding a unicycle”. You have to think about it not to think about it – no matter how daft it is. Which also means when the diet say you shouldn’t eat carbs or cake or whatever – all you can think about is just that; it’s a self-fulfilling prophesy. And now each time you see something you shouldn’t have or just feel hungry, all you can think about is not eating whatever is being excluded.
So if you do eat it, or even just have a little bit, that will make you happy, right? No. It won’t.
It might give some gratification or pleasure, but that instant feeling won’t make you happy.
And this is one reason why 95% of diets fail.
Most diets are based on a deprivation model – taking away things from your normal diet that will usually reduce calorie intake and bad-fats. The problem is that these will also likely be the things you like and have been used to consuming for probably quite some time (they may also be the things you need for balanced food intake like carbs and good-fats).
Eating something like a cake will give pleasure or gratification, but it won’t make you happy: no matter how much you have missed it or think you need it.
Happiness is more prolonged and beyond instant gratification.
Here’s why: You eat the cake – going against what the diet says. But it was a wonderful piece of cake to be fair! It was delicious and you enjoyed every bit. That is pleasure or gratification, but not happiness.
Conversely, you decide to not eat the cake, because whilst you are not on a diet, you have made some choices to set a longer-term outcome to lose weight. And eating the cake would go against this.
But you do cut a small piece off, just a mouthful or two and put the rest back in the fridge. The pleasure is still there. The pleasure of tasting something delicious; it’s something to savour. That still gives gratification.
Happiness actually comes after. Happiness comes from knowing you have stuck with what you promised yourself, by not wilting and giving in. By sticking to what you want to achieve, by taking another small step forward towards what you want, rather than a few back.
That will generate happiness. That happy feeling is also pleasurable though. So you have a win-win; the pleasure the taste of the cake brings and the pleasure of knowing you have had the strength and determination to stick with the plan, to stick to achieving what you have set yourself and to stick to the longer term outcome and not give in to instant gratification.
There’s some solid psychology behind this too:
This model shows the simple process dieters go through when following a deprivation-based diet (taking things away that you normally consume).
And like night follows day, these are the steps 95% of dieters go through and cause the latest diet to fail.
It always starts with Good Intention and ends with failure. In between, is usually hard work and a plate of unenjoyable life.
If you want to stop this cycle and lose weight forever. Get in touch with us. We would love to help.
If that sounds good and you would like to change the rest of your life and have the weight and body you deserve, let us know. We have 50 free places on offer at the moment and a chat with me on the ‘phone to get you going. Just get in touch here, and I’ll give you a call back.
What have you really got to lose? Or is it just everything to gain?
Have a great day,