Do something different!
That’s right. Do something – anything – different and you’re likely to lose weight in the process. That’s what doctors Ben Fletcher, Karen Pine and Danny Penman discovered in their research. They are specialists in something called “behavioral flexibility” and co-authors of the book The No Diet Diet.
While researching the effects of making small changes in daily behavior, they noticed their test subjects not only became more productive and happier, they also lost weight – without even trying to. This led Fletcher, Pine and Penman to the the theory of something they call the habitweb.
You Live in a Habitweb
Humans have evolved by creating habits. This helps us avoid having to learn the same things over and over. While repeating good habits is good for us, repeating bad habits means repeating mistakes. Your bad habits are stuck inside a web of supportive good habits. The bad news: your habitweb is very strong and is held in place by the forces of inertia.
The good news?
Breaking unconnected habits can help unravel the habitweb. When you try to make too many big changes, the habitweb goes into resistance. However small changes in the habitweb can become global. This is why Fletcher, Pine and Penman’s research subjects lost weight without trying. When they started doing a few things differently each day, those changes automatically led to changes in how they ate and moved, without them noticing or feeling deprived.
When you try to lose weight by going on an extreme diet your habitweb will eventually win. Yes, you may lose weight through willpower but the habitweb will eventually draw you back into its comfort zone.
The No Diet Diet tackles the entire habitweb by using the leverage of small changes so that the entire habitweb becomes more flexible and less of an obstacle to healthy change.
No Diet Diet suggestions for small changes:
- Get up one hour earlier.
- Try being more (or less) conventional.
- Listen to a different type of music.
- Be nice to someone you don’t like.
- Go to bed one hour earlier.
- Learn a new skill.
- Write in a journal for 15 minutes.
- Do something new with the kids.
- Throw away something you no longer need.
- Make a list of your goals for next week.
Do something different every day for a while.
The idea is to shake things up in a not-so-serious way. If you usually read the paper in the morning take a week off. If you never read the morning paper try reading it for a change. Take a different route home from work. You get the idea.
“Habit is habit and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed down the stairs a step at a time.” ~ Mark Twain
Give it a try! I’d love to hear how doing something different works for you.
The No Diet Diet is available at amazon.com.