I received a great email from personal finance/business blogger Ramit Sethi this morning. A young Stanford graduate with a degree in psychology, I love his behavior-based approach.
The email was titled: Problems Smart People Have
As I read it, I realized this could easily be re-titled, "The Problems Smart People Have with Weight Loss."
So, I've taken the liberty to re-write his message from the weight loss perspective.
(They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery, right?)
Here's my re-write of Ramit's brilliant email....
Let's talk about the psychological oddities of smart people...
They might be really good at their jobs and have gotten great grades, but being smart also leaves people with odd problems in different areas of life, like weight loss for instance.
Smart People Problem with Weight Loss #1: They Over-Think Everything
Smart people tend to over think things, sometimes to the point of analysis paralysis. Since they can see lots of angles—in fact, they've been rewarded for seeing multiple angles—they often can't accept what's in front of them.
How could they? They were trained to see beyond the obvious.
Should I join a gym?
Count my macros?
Go Paleo? Try Keto? Maybe Whole30?
SmartPoints or PointsPlus?
Low fat? Low Carb?
Hire a trainer? Which fit-bit is best? How many reps/sets?
Have you read the latest study from???.....
This can be ideal when they're considering complex strategies or life decisions. But when it comes to weight loss they should just trust that it's really as simple as eating a little less and moving a little more...
Really. It works. Every time my golden retriever starts to get a little pudgy, I skim a little off her cup of food and increase the length of our walks. And every single time she slims down.
What works for my golden retriever will work for smart people like you and me too.
Smart People Problem with Weight Loss #2: They're Perfectionists
Welcome to Ramit's Lesson #593 on losers:
No/low standards = loser
High standards = awesome
Perfectionism = loser
It’s an odd backwards-bending curve, isn't it?
No/low standards, and you take anything you can get. Think of the people you know in this category, people who have no boundaries or standards. Ugh.
On the other hand, high standards show you have selectivity and options. This is someone who sets boundaries, knows who they are, and is unapologetic about it.
...you have perfectionists.
Perfectionism can be crippling.
I've come to realize that it's the smart person's version of Fear of Failure.
"If it's not going to get me back to my ideal weight/body shape, why even bother?"
"I was so good all day and then I grabbed a cookie before starting to work on dinner. Now I've totally screwed up my tracking for today so I may as well have the rest of the cookies and all a pint of ice cream for dinner. I'll start again tomorrow."
Seriously, this is the way perfectionists fail at eating better and losing weight again and again and again! To lose weight and keep it off you have stop expecting perfection!
Related: 10 Habits That Mess Up a Woman's Diet
Smart People Problem with Weight Loss #3: They're Afraid of Looking Stupid
When I was trying to teach personal finance at Stanford, everyone seemed excited...until it came time to attend the class. (Which was free.)
I later discovered that people hate going to events about money because it makes them feel bad about themselves.
Especially smart people.
"I'm smart. I should already know this. I don't want to go and ask a stupid question. I should figure this out on my own."
It's the same exact mentality with weight loss.
Instead of seeking support or hiring a professional to help, we decide that we should be able to do it on our own.
Even though we may not know nearly as much as we think we do about the best way to lose weight.
I think that's why kids seem to do better when coached to lose weight. They just do what you tell them and jump in with both feet.
And why Behavior Expert and Lifetime WW BJ Fogg admires people who come to meetings: "They are the ones — the few — who are really trying to improve their lives. As I see it, those who go to Weight Watchers are top-notch people. "They're willing to risk looking stupid and being vulnerable in order to lose weight an improve their lives.
P.S. What smart people problems with weight loss have you noticed? Leave a comment. I love reading them!
Martha is the founder and main content writer for Simple-Nourished-Living.
A longtime lifetime WW at goal, she is committed to balancing her love of food and desire to stay slim while savoring life and helping others do the same.
She is the author of the Smart Start 28-Day Weight Loss Challenge.
A huge fan of the slow cooker and confessed cookbook addict, when she's not experimenting in the kitchen, you're likely to find Martha on her yoga mat.
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Little hard to attend meetings when there are none in your area anymore!
Right about that. We had an awesome "coach". When the company decided they would not hold meetings in small towns anymore she quit after 40 yrs. I can't use the app because I have tremors in my hands so that part of WW stinks. I can no longer add recipes, etc. because I can't get it on my laptop anymore. S0000, I no longer attend. I think almost 40 of us quit. I think 3 are attending online.
Wow. You nailed it! Those totally match my thinking. So, good news: I’m smart? Bad news: I’m also chubby. ?
I am a perfectionist. I have my spices alphabetized. (I was a library director). I do overthink almost everything and I guess I am afraid of looking stupid. Maybe those are the reasons I am stuck. I have lost 45 lbs., but am stuck and have been for almost 2 years. I have not given up but I cannot get those last 10-15 lbs. off and it is driving me crazy.
My husband and are lifers and we just let it go found excuses when we know better.. So in July we said lets do it. So got online with all this Covid and meetings closed thank goodness for people like you and all the groups on here. So one day at a time we track that is probably the most important thing to do. My old WW leader in Florida taught us two things if you bite it write it and pretend your points are like money and remember eating salads didn't get you here. Loved that lady.
How do I discontinue paying for these emails
Hi Helen, You are not paying for these emails. They are free. If you no longer wish to receive them click the link at the bottom of any email you receive. Hope this helps. All the best. ~Martha