Motivation Articles

9 Dieting Paradoxes that Make Perfect Sense - Part 3

How Can That Be...?

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Weight loss can make smart people look silly, confound roomfuls of award-winning scientists, and baffle the rest of us, who are otherwise competent and brilliant in our own right. Somehow the mysterious answers still elude us.

Part of the mystery and frustration could be that we often look at the whole dieting question backwards. There are a number of assumptions and beliefs we often hold that are actually the opposite of what’s really true. However, there are some paradoxes (statements that seem contradictory but are actually true) that you should hold onto. Putting these to use will help you see progress and, more importantly, gain confidence.

There are 9 Goal Achievement Paradoxes that you can apply to your weight loss goals, or any part of your life. Here are the last three. (You can read about Paradoxes 1-3, and Paradoxes 4-6 first.) Perhaps they can lend some insight for how to solve some puzzles in your own life:

PARADOX 7: There is such a thing as a good mistake.
A mistake, or a step back, doesn't have to be a negative thing. It depends on what you do with it. You can mope and stress about it, cutting back your efforts so you don’t "fail" again…

Or, you can move past a mistake with a little more insight and wisdom to plan for a better future—a future where that mistake doesn’t happen again. This is how you learn and grow. Mistakes force you to evaluate your actions, change the way you're going about your business, and improve. Why else would you do any of these things?

Mistakes are part of the natural growth process, nearly as important—definitely more educational—than success. Just keep it in perspective. Thomas Edison liked to say that he knew only one way to make a light bulb, but discovered thousands of ways not to.

Without mistakes, you may become competent in a skill, but you'd never master it. Without heeding the lessons that mistakes teach, you're doomed to repeat them again.

PARADOX 8: Dreaming can give you practical results.
There's no reason your wishes can't become goals. The biggest contribution you can make to the world will always come from something you're passionate about.

It's true that society is interested in the practical, the useful, the realistic. That's fine. It's also true that the best results—the outcomes with the most practical impact— happened because someone thought "what if." (And then he worked his tail off to make it reality.)
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About The Author

Mike Kramer Mike Kramer
As a writer and artist, Mike has witnessed countless motivational stories and techniques. See all of Mike's articles.

Member Comments

  • Good points! i want to save it to my favorites but can't seem to find a link. Any suggestions?
    really like the last point. best time to act like a kid is when you are an adult.
    Not having to ask permission well- you still have some stupid people involved in your life that will say NO just because they can.
    However- they don't really matter in the grand plan of your life or my life.
    WOW. their 'No' can only limit you to what you allow it to limit you to. SO in your personally life it does not have to effect it at all.
    - how cool is that. - 7/22/2012 2:19:30 PM
  • ELLDOCKE
    Great food for thought. And, great inspiration for getting back on track after a couple of weeks of fighting a head cold. Now that I can breathe again, I can exercise again! - 10/22/2011 7:29:27 PM
  • Thank you for this article, I enjoyed reading it and learned not to be so hard on myself :) - 10/21/2011 9:17:43 AM
  • Thx - 8/24/2011 8:43:04 PM
  • Great article. Made me re-think some things. =) - 5/11/2011 2:42:41 PM
  • I liked this! - 2/1/2011 10:46:25 PM
  • I really love Mike Kramer's articles. This is the first time I'm seeing all three of these Paradox articles and they are so spot on. - 11/22/2010 6:33:11 AM
  • MONTANA4ME1
    Great article! Makes you think and see things differently. - 10/22/2010 1:55:47 PM
  • JMSURPRENANT
    A fabulous series - great food for thought - THANK YOU! - 10/21/2009 11:46:46 AM
  • Great series of articles. I had a wise friend who would deal with a seemingly embarassing mistakes by saying, "it isn't a mistake if I learned something from it." I love SP's emphasis on balance and moderation, to not only get weight off but be whole, and healthy, and keep it off. - 10/21/2009 10:30:38 AM
  • SUSHAH
    I just finished reading all three articles and immediately saved them to my SparkFavorites, so I can readily refer to them. I joined SparkPeople a while ago, but have just recently started to actively participate as a member and take advantage of all the options and features available. It seems that no matter a person's age or physical health, it is important to stay informed and be open to new ideas. Sometimes life gets so busy, that it is easy to forget the basics and get caught up in the flurry of daily activity. These "9 Dieting Paradoxes" will help serve as a reminder to keep things in perspective and to maintain a healthy overview of lifestyle goals. - 10/21/2009 7:32:42 AM
  • Dear noteworthy,
    I'm glad you've set some long term goals, and I'm sure you've heard this a million times...be sure to write them down. It really helps. You then will look at those goals and begin to come up with the short term goals that will get you there. I put off doing something until things got better, but they didn't get much better, so I'm starting again, and as long as I'm doing something, anything, I'm not standing still...:) - 6/17/2009 4:14:23 PM
  • NOTEWORTHYBANDZ
    I just read all three articles. These were wonderful and just what I needed. I'm really struggling at work with colleagues and administration (I'm a teacher) and it makes going to work very difficult. All I want to do is whole up in my room and teach my kids all day because that's what I love the most. However, in my area (music) you can't do that. I loved the part about being a perfectionist and being fearful of making a mistake - that's me alright. I also needed to hear about #8 and going for some big goals I've had in the back of my mind. After reading these articles, I set some long term goals in my mind and I really think they are achievable. I really hope by then that my work situation will change whether I'm in a new district or I have been able to tend the grass on my own side of the fence!

    Thanks for the motivation and inspiration! - 1/2/2009 8:27:59 AM
  • Oh my gosh, Sharon, what you have written could have been written by me. Hi, I'm Linda, 52 same problems with yo-yo dieting, tried so many other plans, it's ridiculous. I also have high blood pressure (under control thru meds), high cholesterol (also controlled with meds), and now I have sleep apnea! Anyway, I have been a Sparkpeople member since March, and have yet to follow a plan, what gives? I'm not sure what is holding me back, I too, want to be healthy. Thanks for sharing - 10/30/2008 2:55:53 AM
  • I joined Sparkpeople quite a few months ago, and alhough I check it regularly for information, I have not started a program. I want to, but evidently not enough. I seem to be paralyzed, easily deferring until some future time, what the heck I am going to do. It's not that I don't know that it's important, maybe even imperative, but I am lacking the will to start and keep going. That's why the paradox article struck home with me---there are good paradoxes (paradox1??!) listed in Mike's article, but the biggest one of all is the one I struggle over: in order to succeed at dieting, or making changes, I have to find a new way to accept myself. In other words, while we are still dissatisfied with what we look like and how we feel, we have to find a way to still love ourselves: I am still a good person, I do everything else I can to be worthwhile and worth loving, etc. To make the shift over to the other side, when we begin taking care of ourselves better, we have to learn to accept the changes and reject the old ways. Maybe my fear is that I know I can't or shouldn't accept myself both ways. You know those organizations that boast that their members are fat and proud of it? I don't want to be a member, but I understand their thoughts---that we should be loved and worthwhile no matter what. I have to get around that somehow before I can move forward again. Any ideas to help me?

    Oh, and by the way, I am 54, and have lost significant amounts of weight many times in my younger years. Gaining it back has discouraged me to try again. In my heart, I want to be healthy, be able to move quickly, look better, and live longer. I have type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Shouldn't that be enough to motivate me? I guess not. On the other hand, I want to change enough that I am writing this, plus I want to be able to pay it forward someday when someone else is at this crossroads. And I wonder if there are others who are at this crossroads right now, who can be inspired along with me. I know that there are so many people out there on... - 10/21/2008 11:43:51 AM

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