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The Three Legs of Weight Loss - Why Just a Diet Doesn't Work

Updated on February 8, 2013

When a Diet Plan isn't Enough:

A three-legged stool is designed to work with all three legs firmly in place. If one of legs is missing or unstable then the result is a bad experience and usually an embarrassing fall. The fact is a stool designed to remain upright with three legs needs all of them to work to be effective as a stool.

Weight loss can be compared to this kind of stool. If all three components of weight loss aren’t firmly in place then the likelihood you’ll gain back all of the weight you worked so hard to lose is almost certain.

Too many people only pay attention to the diet plan they have decided to follow (which falls under the category of lifestyle) but ignore or push aside the other two significant elements which include beliefs and feelings. This is understandable because with a diet plan you can read and understand it and implement it, but beliefs and feelings can be difficult to understand and change. But the reality is for long-term weight loss these will all need to be addressed.

This hub will look at all three legs of weight loss and point to some and solutions in each area.

Weight Loss and Lifestyle:

Lifestyle is the first leg of the stool. When it comes to weight loss, lifestyle takes into account diet and physical activity. Losing weight and maintaining the ideal weight involves choosing an exercise method that works for you. What you eat and how much exercise you engage in both make a difference. The two work hand in hand.

Do not spend too much time worrying over which diet plan is the best. The reality is most reasonable diet plans will help you to lose weight if adhered to over the recommended time. Now that doesn’t mean just pick up any old diet - choose one that includes food you feel makes sense for you, and if it requires preparation you agree to find the time. The diet you choose will probably be a shock to the system initially as you rid your meals of usual processed foods.

The diet that worked for me was extremely intolerant of carbohydrates for the first month – it was tough. No cream in my coffee, no pasta, and a whole bunch of other stuff I had to get used to going without. But after I got through the first two weeks it got easier, and then after a month I was able to reintroduce foods to my diet carefully to understand the effect each had on my body.

Couple good eating habits with a healthy dose of consistent exercise. The type of physical activity you choose to do isn’t as important as the fact you just do it. It is preferable to exercise at least 20 to 30 minutes a day. Vary the types of exercise you engage in. Find forms of exercise you enjoy.

You don’t have to exercise like you’re training for the marathon, but you should push yourself a little to build up a sweat. Walk, jog, hike, cycle, swim, dance or take an exercise class. Just do something to keep active… each day!

Be consistent and make exercise a part of your day and not something you get to if you have time… you’ll never will find the time at the end of a long day to drag yourself down the gym or on your home treadmill. So schedule exercise as early in your day as you can so you know it’s done.

Weight Loss and Beliefs:

Changing your lifestyle habits can be easier than changing what’s going on in your mind. Your belief system is often deeply entrenched in your subconscious and more resistant to change. It is beliefs that often lead to a failure to keep weight off. Beliefs make up the second leg of the weight loss stool.

For instance, it’s common for many weight loss clients to believe no matter how much weight they lose they will gain it all back eventually. It’s a belief they have a hard time letting go. Often the individual does not even realize they think this way but subconsciously they behave in accordance with their beliefs.

A quick scout through their wardrobe confirms they’ve kept all their “fat clothes” for when they gain back the weight. I call this the “fat head on a thin body” syndrome. This sends a strong message to your subconscious mind about your expectations. Do yourself a favor and give your “fat clothes” away.

Beliefs are deep-rooted and many times stem from events in our past. We may not even be aware of the impact they have on our lives or remember the event causing the belief.

If you’ve only recently put on weight – say last few years – then chances are this could be lifestyle changes caused by family or work events, and the belief change work required for you may be straightforward. This could involve changes to beliefs around your schedule, priorities, etc. I still recommend you work with somebody and most qualified hypnotherapists can help.

If you’ve been overweight for a large part of your life there’s a good chance there’s some deep-rooted beliefs to be eradicated. This will require some skilled help. Find a qualified hypnotherapist in regression therapy. This form of hypnosis is also called age regression therapy.

If you’re obese or morbid overweight or suffer with type II diabetes then you may be considering weight loss surgery such as gastric band or gastric bypass surgery. Please review my section on weight loss surgery below.

Weight Loss and Feelings:

How often have you pushed aside your feelings as silly or not relevant to your life? In actuality feelings are a very integral part of being human and they matter a great deal.

Feelings make up the third and final leg of the weight loss stool.

The beliefs we harbor deep down influence our thoughts as well as our feelings. This in turn plays a role in the decisions we make and the actions we take.

Unfortunately the downside to feelings is they can sometimes get the best of our will power and logical thinking. This explains why negative habits are so problematic when it comes to change. It can seem like an uphill battle to alter them to reflect the good!

Your motivations are influenced by your deepest feelings and even though you may consciously want to lose weight, if your beliefs and feelings aren't in alignment with that goal then it's just not going to happen.

Negative feelings are usually caused by an event in the past and it can be necessary to identify the initial event causing the feelings and remove it so the feeling is eradicated. Beliefs and feelings are intertwined and so it will come as no surprise to learn that age regression hypnotherapy can also be used to tackle the feelings leg of the weight loss stool.

A Few Words about Weight Loss Surgery:

People who have struggled for years to lose weight or are obese or morbid overweight are candidates for weight loss surgery. There are obvious concerns with any surgery such as risks of complications, recuperation, time off work, etc. And of course the chance it doesn't work, and you have to go through the whole procedure again to unravel the operation you had.

Gastric band and gastric bypass surgery achieve the effect of shrinking the size of the stomach, so a patient is only able to eat small portions before feeling full. They also have to be very deliberate about their chewing and swallowing. The intent is to limit the intake of food and thus achieve weight loss.

In recent years a hypnotherapeutic procedure called Virtual Gastric Band has been developed which simulates gastric band surgery without the operation. In effect a gastric band is “installed” in a client’s stomach during a hypnosis session. The client believes a gastric band has been fitted around the stomach and they have a stomach the size of a golf ball instead of the normal size of a fist.

Subsequent hypnosis sessions tackle traditional weight loss hypnosis sessions aimed at covering the lifestyle and belief and feeling changes required to round out the weight loss success story for the patient.

The success rate of this procedure is very promising. There are a number of virtual gastric band studies going on currently and here is one I'm involved in and you can find out more about here.

Next Steps:

Successful weight loss does not just take place in the short-term but in the long-term. There are many stories of people losing 10 lbs in one week on a diet of lettuce and cucumber, but frankly it’s not sustainable. There is nothing wrong in enjoying food. You just have to find the food you enjoy and are healthy for your body.

Your weight loss plan includes making the necessary lifestyle modifications in diet and exercise, and should also include having your beliefs and inner feelings be on the same course. By doing this you can sit down on your weight loss stool and be confident it’ll support you in staying the right size.

How much did you lose weight last time you tried?

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    • profile image

      Jed Smith 

      7 years ago

      Love this hub and concept of weight loss being more than just a diet. Sounds obvious but we get so wrapped up in the food part - which I know is important - but we miss the other parts of the plan. Great stuff - thanks.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      8 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Exercise and activity sure makes a difference if you want to keep the weight off. And it makes you feel good too!


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