Home » My Thoughts » Week 8 – Diets Don’t Work — or Do They?

Week 8 – Diets Don’t Work — or Do They?

They do when they are designed around solid principles of nutrition and health. Restricting myself to 500 calories a day of raw veggies is not sustainable over the long term, and I will likely give up, return to my old habits and gain all the weight back. An abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and protein will not only sustain me, but I am far more likely to continue eating that way for the rest of my life — and enjoy it.

So it is with the 7 Day Mental Diet. Our special assignment for this week is to go for seven days without having a negative thought, spoken or unspoken. Seven consecutive days! Every time we fail, we are to start all over again at Day 1. Thankfully, we have a seven second grace period in which to catch ourselves and substitute a positive thought for the negative one! Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to go more than an hour or two!

The one thing I don’t like about this exercise is that it reminds me too much of the movie, Groundhog Day, where he relives one day over and over and over until he finally gets it right. That’s a quagmire I don’t want to get entrenched in, because it’s all too familiar. Much of my life has been spent feeling like I am stuck spinning my wheel and never getting anywhere.

Like the No Opinions exercise of a few weeks ago, I think the reason for the 7 Day Mental Diet is not to leave anyone feeling frustrated and hopelessly spinning his tires. I think it’s another awareness exercise, where we take notice of our thoughts and quickly substitute the harmful, unprofitable ones with those that will help us break us free and move forward.

CHARLES HAANEL writes:

Emerson loved the good, and his life was a symphony of peace and harmony.
Carlyle hated the bad, and his life was a record of perpetual discord and inharmony.

Here we have two grand men, each intent upon achieving the same ideal, but one makes use of constructive thought and is therefore in harmony with Natural Law, the other makes use of destructive thought and therefore brings upon himself discord of every kind and character.

I used to be part of a church where the leaders put everything under their theological microscope, scrutinizing and analyzing everything, weighing and measuring every belief and action to see if it measured up to their idea of what God’s Word teaches. They hated the bad.

Now I’m part of a church where the leadership encourages us to delve into God’s Word for ourselves and discover His promises and desires for us as His people. They love the good.

I loved my old church, but I spent a lot of time and energy looking over my shoulder to see if I was being watched. I love the freedom of finding out for myself what my loving Father in heaven has for me. The leadership in both churches wanted the same thing — to obey and glorify God. But my goodness, what a difference between the two!

HAANEL continues:

It is evident therefore that we are to hate nothing, not even the “bad,” because hatred is destructive, and we shall soon find that by entertaining destructive thought we are sowing the “wind” and in turn shall reap the “whirlwind.”

I have a friend who says there are no good happenings or bad happenings — they are just what we make of them. I used to have a problem with that, because we’ve all had things happen to us that truly are bad, and hard to get past. The key is in what Haanel wrote. The death of a loved one… the loss of an excellent job… a bad accident or severe disability… are all bad, but it’s what we do with them that makes the difference. Anger and bitterness never help, no matter what short term satisfaction they may give us. They only hold us back from everything we really want.

Og Mandino says the same thing in a different way in Scroll II.

OG MANDINO writes:

Henceforth will I look on all things with love and I will be born again. I will love the sun for it warms my bones; yet I will love the rain for it cleanses my spirit. I will love the light for it shows me the way; yet I will love the darkness for it shows me the stars. I will welcome happiness for it enlarges my heart; yet I will endure sadness for it opens my soul. I will acknowledge rewards for they are my due; yet I will welcome obstacles for they are my challenge.

There is a reason for the rain, the darkness, the sadness, and the obstacles. We don’t always know the reason right now, even when we develop the habit of looking for the good in everything… the silver lining in every cloud. But there is always a reason, and we can choose to walk in that knowledge rather than in bitterness over what isn’t going the way we want.

The 7 Day Mental Diet is a challenging exercise, calling for hard mental labour. But it’s one that will benefit me and those around me. It will stay with me for the rest of my life — and I know I will enjoy it!

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33 thoughts on “Week 8 – Diets Don’t Work — or Do They?

  1. I have really pondered this scenario very hard “I have a friend who says there are no good happenings or bad happenings — they are just what we make of them. I used to have a problem with that, because we’ve all had things happen to us that truly are bad, and hard to get past. The key is in what Haanel wrote. The death of a loved one… the loss of an excellent job… a bad accident or severe disability… are all bad, but it’s what we do with them that makes the difference. Anger and bitterness never help, no matter what short term satisfaction they may give us. They only hold us back from everything we really want.”

    Glad I am not the only one

    Liked by 1 person

    • I never could understand the bad rap Pollyanna gets today. She was wiser and happier than those around her until they learned to play the Glad Game too.

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  2. I’m not sure it’s possible for us to ban all negative thoughts from our life all the time. The trick instead is to quickly recognize and counter them. That recognition or awareness is the key as we can have fleeting thoughts that we don’t even notice that can affect or mood and attitude. Keep practicing that and those negative thoughts start reducing and almost disappearing. That’s my own experience.

    The exercise you are doing is valuable Willena but rather than penalizing yourself for having them congratulate when you recognize them and counter them with something positive or an explanation. I can see why that extra week is given though as it takes time and effort to get rid of negativity. It could take months of determination to overcome but it does work and can change your life.

    As for grief, I think we need to go through the various stages. We have these emotions for a reason and for grief I think it’s part of a healing process and healthy, as long as we don’t get stuck half way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with you, Sue. I think you know my story, so I won’t go over it again here. But I’m well acquainted with grief… beginning with the loss of my father when I was 7. Anger, despair, and even bitterness can be part of the process, but I sure wouldn’t want to be stuck there. It’s too painful.

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    • That’s for sure, Sipho! And I like the moments of good fruit when I am successful at substituting a positive thought for a negative one. It makes me feel good, but also strong.

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  3. Willena,
    This is my favorite of all your posts that I have ever read. I liked it so much that I have actually created a new parent page on my Marketing Our Practices web site called “Mindful Success” (http://www.marketingourpractices.com/mindful-success/) because we cannot be successful if we are harboring negative thoughts. Such a simple yet profound realization. I will attempt that 7 Day Challenge and I know it may take much longer than 7 days to complete. Thanks for sharing this.
    Warmly,
    Dr. Erica

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Dr. Erica! The 7-second grace period is great — often it’s enough time to catch yourself and substitute a positive thought.

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  4. Willena, A very thought provoking post. I don’t know if I could get through the 7-day challenge or not. I do try very hard to see the positive in all things but it is hard sometimes, so I would probably have to start over quite a few times.

    I do know quite a few people who should try this and I do include myself in this. Thank you so much for the inspirational post.

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  5. Very interesting article and perspective. Success in dieting and life are both the same. Your mindset and perspective plays a key role. Following a balanced diet should be done for good health and living a balanced life style should be done for lasting fulfillment. There will always be negative pressures on both, but when we possess the gratitude for how lucky we are to be alive with the awareness of how we are each on our own journey, no other influences should matter or prevent our success. Negativity only has the weight you give it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is great Willena, I love the spin on “dieting” from negative thoughts and how the desired result is going to be increased awareness of our thoughts. I’d love to say it is impossible not to have negative thoughts but then I would fail the diet right then and there hahaha… what a fun exercise.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You got it, Victoria. 😉 I’d like to add that increased awareness of our thoughts is only the first step — but we have to start there in order to change them.

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  7. Absolutely wonderful post Willena! It shows that you are a veteran blogger and I am so grateful to be on this amazing journey with such special people like you who understand the challenge and reward of the “7 Day Mental Diet”! Meet you on the “7th Day” whenever?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Willena. Wow! What a great idea! Doing a mental “diet” seems well worth it. Thank goodness for the 7- second grace period. Otherwise, everyone would be stuck and starting back on square one!

    I love all the examples that you share to support positive thinking and how our perceptions and approach to life’s difficulties really make the difference in how they affect us.

    Also, I don’t think everything happens for a reason per se. Sometimes bad things just happen. But as you said, it’s what we do with them that makes the difference in how they affect us.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hello Willena, What a great post, I think this is an awesome exercise and think more people should try it..I am sue that buy removing those negative thoughts you be able to will bring about more positive energy..

    Thanks for sharing my friend and do have a Wonderful Thanksgiving..Chery :))

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Diets work! I did nothing but eat less and eat healthier, and in six months I was 55 pounds lighter. Two years later, and I’m still thin!

    I haven’t tried the positive thoughts “diet,” though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree diets work sometimes, Zach. I eliminated all foods I’m sensitive to, and was 92 lbs. lighter in 8 months. I stayed at my new weight for over 5 years. But then some things happened, and I allowed my old thinking patterns to take over again, and within an alarmingly short time, I regained it all and then some. Hang onto your positive attitude and new way of thinking of yourself, Zach. THAT’s what will keep you on the right path to stay thin. Right thinking!

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