Think back to when you were a child. Remember how badly you wanted that particular toy? How jealous you were of the other kids that had it? How excited you were when you finally got it?
Or, if you have children, think about how much they nag you for a particular toy, like a fidget spinner (what even are those things)?
Anyway, you can also probably remember how quickly you grew bored, stopped playing with it and moved on to wanting the next popular thing?
I used to do this all the time! (Sorry Mum and Dad)
When I think about it, things haven’t changed that much. I’m still constantly looking for new, better, shinier toys. Phones, shoes, laptops, books, gym programs. Yep, I suffer from Shiny Object Syndrome and I’m not alone. In fact, I’d bet that the majority of people suffer from Shiny Object Syndrome in some form or another, specifically in relation to nutrition and health.
Let’s paint a familiar picture.
You’ve started a to make some positive changes for your health. Maybe you’ve come to The Hub and developed a long term plan to work towards your goals
Four weeks in and everything is going great! You’re 2 kilos down, energy levels have improved, cravings have diminished, and you’re feeling more in control than ever before. Sure, you occasionally get hungry or succumb to a piece of chocolate here and there, but overall things are good.
While out to lunch with friends you haven’t seen in a while, your friend Sarah chirps up about the new diet she’s just started.
She’s lost 5 kg in two weeks! She’s also lifting more in the gym and isn’t hungry in the slightest. She doesn’t even want chocolate! (Top tip: don’t trust people who don’t like chocolate…)
And then it happens.
That little voice in your head.
“5 kilos in two weeks? Why aren’t I losing weight that fast? Maybe I should follow that diet? I’ll just have a look…“
The seed has been planted. Doubt in your current regime begins to grow. Your attention shifts to the possibilities the new plan promises. You lose focus on your current program as your mind is now on this new, potentially better program. Due to this your progression stalls, perhaps even regresses and the choice becomes clear. This new wondrous diet must be right for you. Shiny Object Syndrome strikes again!
The above hypothetical scenario is a pretty typical cycle for many. As humans, we’re constantly looking for shortcuts. We are almost subconsciously hardwired to want maximal pleasure at minimal cost.
That’s why 10-minute FAT BLASTING workouts or diet programs from celebrity chefs that make you a “fat burning machine” seem so attractive. Because compared to consistently exercising, building healthy habits and eating a balanced diet for prolonged periods, they seem relatively easy.
Essentially, we want to believe there is an easier way! A supplement or secret that we haven’t discovered yet. Why? Because the opposite is prolonged hard work.
The problem is that by constantly changing what we’re doing, we end up spinning our wheels. It also becomes hard to accurately judge what’s actually happening in the body. The truth is, two weeks isn’t long enough to accurately assess progress with a plan. Hell, even four weeks may not be long enough in some scenarios. Fat loss, or changes in body composition take time, and by constantly changing variables, it’s almost impossible to figure out what’s working.
So what can we do instead?
1. Question your thought processes
Acknowledge the shiny new object and rationally think about it. When you start looking for a new Shiny Object, what triggers you? Is it a lack of progress? Boredom?
2. Trust the process and be patient
I get it. We all want results two weeks ago, and it’s frustrating to put in so much effort, only to see what appears to be minimal results. This is why focusing on the process rather than the outcome is so valuable. Outcome-based focus has us thinking about the WHAT. For example:
” When I get to [insert goal weight]…then I’ll feel more in control“
While process-based thinking focuses us on the HOW.
“I can feel more in control by planning my lunch and packing some healthy snacks for myself”
Once we shift our mindset to focus on the ‘how’ as opposed to the ‘what’, we go from being passive to active.
3. Track your progress with objective feedback
What are your goals? What can you measure to see if you’re moving in the right way? By tracking objective based data when it comes time to evaluate your diet progress, you can do so with a logical and rational approach, rather than an emotional one.
That’s why we at the Hub like to use the InBody scanner. It provides multiple metrics that we can monitor such as weight, body fat percentage, waist measurements, muscle mass, and more.
If you’re wanting to improve fitness then use fitness markers as your goals posts. Being able to lift more, go further, run faster or be more flexible are far better feedback than the scales.
Alternatively, if it’s for health, we can measure and track certain pathological markers like blood sugar levels, cholesterol or blood pressure. The Hub practitioner can help you determine the most helpful blood tests to track progress.
Whatever your goal, find objective data you can track that provides feedback on how you’re going.
4. Don’t try to fix what isn’t broken
If you’re making progress towards your goals, celebrate the little wins and keep doing what you’re doing. When you make incremental habit change the positive feedback isn’t usually as immediate as dropping 5kg in 1 week. You have to purposefully pat yourself on the back for the progress and changes you have made, to reinforce that you are on the right path.
Remember that while faster results may appeal to you now, this may not give you time to build the skills necessary to maintain them.
If you want to avoid Shiny Object Syndrome and make long term change, we can help!
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