Why I diet (and you should, too, even if you’re thin)

Been thinking about dieting lately (in part because I’m on one again) and it occurs to me that most people diet for the wrong reasons. They have the wrong expectations and goals in mind, so they never get the incredible benefits that come from it. (It goes way beyond weight and appearance.)

So, here’s why I diet, and why I think you should, too, even if you’re already thin and healthy. I also give you a fun challenge to get you started.

In the comments, today’s question is: What bad habit of yours could you give up for 30 days?

Thanks, and keep up the good work!


[ transcript ]

Hey, it’s David Levin. I want to talk to you today about dieting, why I’m on one, because some people think that’s weird, and most important, why YOU should be on one, too, even if you’re thin. 

Most people go on a diet at one time or another, me included, obviously. But something I’m really just seeing lately is that I think they do it for the wrong reasons – they have the wrong expectations and goals in mind. So what happens is, well first, they don’t do it and they should. Or they don’t stick with it. Or, for people at a healthy weight, they don’t think to do it, right? Why would they? When in fact it would help them in some surprising and important ways.

So here are the reasons I diet. And you’ll see what I mean with this as we go along.

The first is, no surprise, I don’t like the way I look. Right? And this is the reason most people diet, or think about dieting. I look in the mirror, or see pictures, it’s not what I want to look like.

I think my shape should be shoulders out here, chest comes in from there, and that line should CONTINUE down to the hips. That’s how I think I should look. So when the line goes, shoulders, chest and then back out again – I don’t like that. So at the first level, it’s just pure vanity. Don’t like the look. And there’s nothing wrong with dieting for that reason. But that’s my first one.

I also don’t like the way I feel, physically and emotionally. I don’t like when my clothes start getting tight and uncomfortable. Don’t like when it gets harder to keep up with the kids and I feel tired all the time. I don’t like being embarrassed taking off my shirt at the pool or when my kids poke me in the stomach and say “squishy belly, squishy belly.” It’s funny, but I’d rather provide them entertainment in other ways. Okay? So that’s another reason. And there are many examples we could think of along that line – the emotional and physical discomforts of being overweight.

Then, of course, there’s the health reason, another good one. It’s not healthy to be overweight, as we all know, and the more overweight you are the worse it is.

One of the best health reasons to lose weight, though, you might not think of is to get better sleep. Sleep is a huge issue for people today, especially for their Focus, and being overweight is one of the biggest factors in not getting good sleep. But it’s also a health issue in just about every way you can think of.

Now, health isn’t a big one for me. I’m in pretty good shape. My health insurance has this program where you go in every year for a fitness check, and I’ve scored a perfect 100 the past two years, which is great, I feel good about that, but my weight is always just under the limit. So I’m doing fine, but it’s still something that keeps me focused on it.

The fourth reason I do it starts to get into some deeper areas, and that is, I don’t think it’s who I AM. When I see myself looking a certain way, get a few extra pounds on there, it just doesn’t line up with the person I believe I am. It’s like, “That’s not me. It’s just not me.”

Now you could say, “well, it IS you, you’re kidding yourself.” But that’s not what it feels like. It feels like a fundamental disconnect. So that’s about my identity and self image, and that’s a pretty big deal. The better you feel about yourself as a person, the more open and creative you are, you’re more energetic and positive, more present with other people. Just all the things you want to be. So that self esteem and confidence factor, that’s a good reason. But it’s still not the biggest one.

The biggest reason I diet, and why I think you should, too, even if you’re thin and healthy, has to do with what I think of as Waking Up and the feelings associated with that. So here’s what I’ve observed.

When I’m on top of this, when I’m resisting my cravings and staying in control of what I eat and drink, I feel great. My weight hasn’t changed yet, I still look the same but I FEEL MUCH more alive and energized.

On the other hand, the times when some OTHER part of me is in charge, the part that thinks I NEED whatever it is I’m craving, it darkens every area of my life. I start feeling out of control, overwhelmed, depressed, scared, stressed out – it’s really striking the difference between the two states. It’s night and day.

So the lesson there is that the real difference, the Inner Game, psychological difference, is not about my weight or my look, it’s about who’s in charge, which part of me is in charge.

Now, I should say we’re talking here about craving things that aren’t that harmful. Okay? My personal addictions are for butter and sweets and Coke Zero. Not going to kill me, at least not quickly. With things that can kill you, the substance itself obviously matters. But with the everyday things we tend to crave, the big psychological effect is not about what you’re addicted to, it’s simply that you’re addicted.

And by addicted, I mean – you crave it. You feel the need for it, the desire, the impulse to do it. I want sweets and fats and Coke Zero every day, many times a day. That’s addicted, for me. And we all have things like that, things we crave, things we do unconsciously and impulsively. And when you do those things, you are essentially sleepwalking. You’re in a trance. You’re NOT in control of yourself. Some other part of you is in control. But when you start to pay attention, resist that impulse and craving, you wake up. And you can really feel the difference.

So that’s the biggest reason I’m on a diet. It’s not about the weight or the look or even what I’m craving. It’s just an incredible tool for waking up and getting back in control of what kind of person I am and getting the feelings that come with that. It’s a beautiful thing.

So I really recommend you try this, and it’s not even a diet, really. Just a 30-day challenge. Pick one thing you crave or do impulsively, kick it for 30 days, notice the difference it makes. I think you’ll really feel it.

And to help you do it, I want you to get the Focused Action Toolkit. The hardest part with things like this is keeping it in mind and staying on track. The Toolkit is the system I use to do that and it makes all the difference. It’s super simple. There’s a free training at my site. Takes less than 10 minutes to learn and set up. Just a couple of short videos and some downloads. And you may already have a system that works for you but I at least want you to see what I do, and see if it’ll help you stay on track. So, go to my site, davidlevin.com. First big button there says get the toolkit. So you register. Check it out. I think you’ll love it.

So there you go. The REAL reason I’m on a diet (and why you should be, too, even if you’re thin). It’s not about losing weight. It’s about waking up, about Raising Your Inner Game. It’s a beautiful thing. So, I hope you try it out. Hope it makes a difference for you. Pretty sure it will. Let me know how it goes. As always, keep up the good work. I’ll see you next time.

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