Your bad feeling about dieting is understandable. Experience
has no doubt taught you that it has to be hard and uncomfortable.
However, your past experience does not need to repeat itself in the
future. You actually can diet without the pain and suffering.
Let’s take an example from something purely physical.
Kate was having a lot of trouble with one shoulder. When she raised
her arm up or reached back or out to the side, she would feel pain in
her shoulder. She was referred by her orthopedist to a physical
therapist who was extremely helpful. The therapist gave Kate several
specific exercises to do involving her shoulder. Here were the
instructions about how to do them:
“As you do these exercises, stay aware of how they feel to you. If
you begin to experience pain at all, back off a little – go slower,
more gently, not as far. Get back to just below the pain. What this
does is allow you to stretch in comfort. The comfortable stretch will
enable you to have more range and capability the next time you do the
exercises. It has a cumulative effect. Each time you will be able to go
a little farther without hurting yourself.”
You can put this principle to work when you are dieting. It will help in
losing the weight. Start out with a small, manageable step. For example,
Nina told us she started by skipping dessert when she was out to dinner
one evening. That’s all she did, nothing more. She missed it a little,
but she was able to withstand the loss and not feel too deprived.
This may seem like a very small thing, but Nina took courage from
it. Then she came up against a situation that felt too painful for her.
She couldn’t even think about going to sleep without the feeling of
being full. So she practiced thinking about this without actually
giving up her bedtime snack of chips and soda.
She began to think that maybe she could do something about this
snack trap of hers, and she tried going to bed one night minus a snack.
That first night she tried it was too uncomfortable for her. She went
back to just thinking about doing it.
Nina’s thinking got more creative and she decided to try once again.
This time she kept to her bedtime snack attack, but answered it with
mostly diet snacks. This was a stretch she could manage.
You see the pattern here―small steps, small changes, keeping pain
and discomfort at bay, not doing anything too hard, no big changes
until you work up to them.
It really makes sense. This is an effective way to change anything
significant in your life. It is a good strategy for overcoming
Begin by making mini changes, taking baby steps that don’t upset
your equilibrium. Build a path to your weight loss goal, going just a
little farther each time, and you’re sure to get there without feeling