Guest Post from Yanicka
Let me tell you a story. A long time ago, a baby elephant was born in captivity. While he was very little, his handlers used a chain to tie his leg to the ground. The little elephant pulled and pulled trying to get free, but it never worked. Now that the elephant is full grown, the same chain is keeping him in place even though he could easily break it. This phenomenon is called learned helplessness.
Learned Helplessness is the condition of a human or animal that has learned to behave helplessly, failing to respond even though there are opportunities for it to help itself by avoiding unpleasant circumstances or by gaining positive rewards. Learned Helplessness theory is the view that clinical depression and related mental illnesses may result from a perceived absence of control over the outcome of a situation. Organisms that have been ineffective and less sensitive in determining the consequences of their behavior are defined as having acquired Learned Helplessness.
All that is very interesting but why is it posted on a fitness site? Because how many time do we see a forum thread about someone not doing what they need to do in order to take control of their weight and health. So many of us tried and failed at this…I am sure we all have a story about using this diet or that diet and failing, or succeeding and then gaining it all back. The worst is that when we fail, we feel it is our fault. Not the fact that the diet is so low in calories that you will binge, or making it so restrictive that you freak out at the idea of a family Sunday diner, or fearing whole group of food or nutrients.
So we fail, and we fail, and we fail…we end up fatter than ever believing that it is our fault. We've tugged and tugged at this d**n chain and some of us end up thinking that we can't win at this. Heck how many time do we see in the success story that “I was not even sure I could do it?”
For some, sadly it is not even worth it to try. For the others, those who go to MFP and log more than a month, you may doubt your ability to do lose the weight. To do the “right” thing, to exercise even though you were always the last picked in gym class. It is very hard to be successful if you have no faith in your capacities.
Those who are successful usually will tell you to eat enough, to not sweat that nice birthday diner, not to be scared of that bowl of ice cream that you can fit in you calories allowance. That you do not have to run for hours to see results and they are giving you this advice for free…quite different from the “diet industry” no?
I know that it is so different and might be scary…but my question to you is, will you pull on that chain? The chain of the diet industry: those who want to sell you books, or a program, or this cleanse, or that pre-packaged food…those persons and companies like you helpless. Otherwise, how can they tell you what to do for a price? Tugging on that chain is taking everything you think is true and researching the other side of the story. You might confirmed what you were thinking…or not. Take the power, believe that you do have that power.
TL:DR you are more powerful and able that you think. Question everything you think you know.