Especially when it comes to weight loss, people sometimes have to see the picture of failure before they can be motivated toward success.
One day, I was on the phone with a client. Jo was in the dumps, feeling defeated, and telling me how she pretty much felt like a failure. "Why can't I lose weight?"
Suddenly, it hit me. I said, "Jo, you know you really are a major success."
"HUH?" she replied.
"That's right. You are quite successful at NOT losing weight. I'm not sure if you aware of it or not, but you have put a brilliant strategy in place."
I asked Jo to make a fun list to catapult her out of the "I can't" rut. She laughed, but as she wrote, her energy shifted dramatically. Here's Jo's list--maybe it can bust your rut too!
1. Beat Yourself Up
Do this daily, or even more often. Tell yourself that you can't do it, that you are not smart enough, pretty enough, rich enough, young enough, talented enough, or even tall enough. That's right, tell yourself that you are just not good enough, plain and simple. Beat yourself up, and feel bad.
2. Hate Fat People
Hate fat and fat people, and make every effort to dislike yourself. Distaste for obesity in America started growing in the 1860s. First the term 'porky' was coined, followed by 'jumbo,' and then 'butterball.' Keep the tradition going. Call yourself names such as 'you fat pig' or 'oinker.' This goes along well with method #1, beating yourself up.
3. Eat Mindlessly
Mindless eating is always a good idea. Sit around a lot playing computer games such as scrabble or casino games while thinking about what constructive things you should be doing. Have snacks while doing this to maximize the results. Don't skimp on the snacks. Go for the gusto. Eat the entire bag of full-fat chips.
4. Make a Pile of Lists
Make lots of lists of things to do: diets to follow, exercises to do, errands to run, people to call. Top it with a list of low-cal foods to buy at the supermarket. Make yourself a promise to de-clutter. Put it all in writing, then add the paper to your pile of to-do lists. Sit back, all pleased and proud of yourself, confident that you've gotten it all down on paper. Reward yourself with some TV watching or more computer games.
5. Buy Diet Food
Buy only low calorie foods such as sugar-free ice cream and 100 calorie packs of cookies or chips or candy. Then, eat it all, secure in the knowledge that it's lo-cal and it can't be that bad for you. This is one of the many ways to fool oneself!
6. Shop Hungry
Go shopping, preferably before lunch or dinner when you're at your hungriest. Go with the intent of buying just the one or two items that you need, then browse through the store, picking up cake, ice cream, sourdough bread, peanut butter and other necessities. Then go home and eat what you bought. Just be sure and throw any leftovers away so you can start out your diet fresh in the morning.
7. Use Food as Entertainment
Take yourself out to lunch at a Mexican restaurant, preferably one with huge baskets of chips as appetizers. Take a good book along and relax and eat and read and eat and read.....what fun! Have a large margarita with extra salt on the rim. May as well go for the full experience!
8. Force Your Diet
Tell yourself that you absolutely HAVE to go on a diet. Force yourself to stay on a diet, then rebel and eat whatever you want. It is always a good idea to tell yourself that you HAVE TO, SHOULD, MUST STOP. Drive yourself nuts, and then go eat something.
9. Have Selective Memory
Have convenient lapses of memory, forgetting that you're supposed to be eating right, and pig out. How did you get covered in crumbs? What are those stains on your clothing? Oh well, tell yourself that you'll start again tomorrow. (Yeah right!)
10. Skip the Workout
Cut your exercise time short. Maybe just do 15 minutes on the treadmill or bike. You certainly don't want to injure yourself. Skip a couple of the weight machines at the gym because someone is already on them, and you certainly don't want to sit there and wait until they're done. In fact, better to be as sedentary as possible.
If you do all of the above, you will most certainly NOT lose weight. And with perseverance, you might even manage to gain a few pounds!
Originally published at Beliefnet.com.
HuffPost Lifestyle is a daily newsletter that will make you happier and healthier — one email at a time. Learn more