Originally Posted by JossFit
We can all come here and ask for help and support and usually are recieved with open arms, but seriously... when does personal accountability come into play?
If you KNOW you're eating "crap" then stop.
Wow, such compassion is overwhelming.
Anyone who really understands chronic weight loss struggles, realizes that "personal accountability" is only one small part of the equation and is much easier said than done.
One of the reasons is that we're "taught" to fail at weight loss and then blame ourselves for failing at personal accountability.
We all learn best by observation - watching how everyone else behaves and then copying that behavior (which is why a parent saying "do as I say, not as I do" is ridiculous advice - we all learn to do what everyone else does).
A trivial example is the ubiquitous "employee manual." Most of us have had jobs in which we had to read an employee manual, and we usually learned pretty quickly that when the manual conflicted with common practice, we learned that the "real" rule was to do what everyone else did.
Weight loss is a lot like that, because we're essentially "taught to fail and blame ourselves."
30 years of "personal accountability" didn't help me lose weight in the long run. In the long-run what helped was realizing that I followed failing patterns, not because I was lazy, crazy, stupid or selfish - it was because I had been "taught" to fail.
I had to unlearn the habits that I learned by watching others fail at weight loss.
Failure rates for weight loss are in the high 90th percentile. This doesn't jive with "personal accountability" being to blame. 95 to 98 percent of the population refused to be accountable? I don't think so.
It can be extremely difficult to understand why we make the same mistakes over and over again - when we're taught to do so, and taught to blame ourselves for it.
The social "rule" is to diet by methods that are unsuccessful, and to blame ourselves as lazy, crazy, stupid or selfish and to have other thoughts about those behaviors that reinforce the unsuccessful pattern.
We have "social rules" to dieting that have virtually become rituals so ingrained, we don't even know that we've learned the behavior.
It's customary to "eat whatever we want" on vacation - we're taught that we're entitled to it (but we're taught to hate ourselves when we get back to our normal lives and see the damage we've done).
It's customary when having as much as a single off-plan bite to binge until the next appropriate "starting over" point - when we get back from vacation, or tomorrow morning if it's early in the week - Monday if it's later in the week, the new year if it happens to be past mid-October, or when we've gained all the weight back and then some.
Personal accountability is about more than blaming oneself and having perfect control over our eating. It's also about understanding the bigger picture, and understanding that when our behavior seems out of control even to ourselves, to try to understand why we're having difficulty taking control. Is it really because we lack personal accountability or have we learned behavior that we don't even realize we've learned.
Yes, bottom line is taking control, and changeing behavior, but often some "unlearning" has to take place first. It's not about "blaming" society - or even ourselves, it's about changing behaviors that have become so ingrained, we don't even realize why we're doing them, or why it's difficult to stop.
It should be easy, we tell ourselves to "just do it," but obviously it's not that easy or the weight loss failure rate wouldn't be in the 90th percentile.
Understanding that there's social pressure to "do it wrong" ironically does make it easier to do it right.
It also helps to understand the "addictive" properties of junk food. The book "The End of Overeating" by David Kessler does a great job of that. It's difficult to get off the salt/fat/sugar train because those foods actually set off brain-chemicals very similar to addictive drugs. In fact, cocaine-addicted rats will choose these foods OVER cocaine.
We have bigger, more sophisticated brains than rats, but our body still reacts to these foods similarly. The primitive portions of the brain are very difficult to override, even with higher brain function, especially when we believe doing so is supposed to be "easy."
Doing what we know we need to do, when our body, brain chemicals, and social conditioning are screaming for us to do the opposite, is harder than just about any other accomplishment possible.
I've succeeded in all areas of my life except weight loss, and yet I've put more energy into weight loss than all the other successes in my life combined. Unfortunately, I was spinning my wheels because I always tried to do weight loss the way I was taught to... and I always failed - because most of what I was taught was just plain wrong, or so distorted that it became meaningless.
"How can I stop" is a legitimate question, and often just having others say "this is how I stopped, you can too" can help make that "just do it" no longer seem impossible.
But we also have a social ritual that says needing help for weight loss is shameful, and we "should" be able to do it all on our own, with no help (and with a great deal of hindrance) from everyone else.
It doesn't have to be that way.