Secret to Diet Success (Hint: It is what you think)

Over the past few years I’ve seen a number of people drastically change their bodies with a number of different strategies.

Some ate Paleo, others slow-carb, and still others ate whatever they felt like; they just simply counted calories. The strategies aren’t usually too important.

Sure, Some are better than others. But there are a lot of ways to skin a cat. (not literally…)

While they varied on many things there was one consistent trait I saw in people who changed their bodies:


Now before you write me off as some new age wooshu guy, let me explain.

What I saw in those that transformed their bodies was a strong belief that it was possible for them to change. They knew what they wanted, they knew they could get it, and they went after it.

What I’ve found is that for any endeavor to succeed, one has to believe that he/she can actually do it. Of course there are times where we stumble into great things, but I’ve found this is pretty rare.

How much of our potential will we tap if we’re just giving this dieting thing a try verses actually believing that something will change?

If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right. – Henry Ford.

For me this was challenging to accept and even more challenging to overcome.

All the guys in my family were stocky, well built guys. In lieu of lean legs, we all owned a pair of Thunder Thighs. Our broad shoulders and solid stomachs only added to the “Born to be a Wrestler” look. My Dad only reinforced my fears by telling me “Bolton’s just weren’t born to be lean, Dan.

The question came to me “Do I believe him or do I believe I can break the Bolton genetic curse”?



Usually we don’t just stumble into a greater sense of belief, but we have to work for it.

For me there is one thing that helped develop belief more than any others….


I’ve looked at so many before & after transformations (Read: shirtless guys) my wife started to get worried. I was conditioning my mind to believe if they could do it, I CAN do it. We have to condition ourselves to believe that it is possible.

As I said, there are many different strategies out there to change your body – Just make sure whatever strategy you use is backed by real world stories of people like you & me getting results.

Sometimes it’s the only thing that will help us get through a tough patch when we’re questioning whether or not this really works at all. I know because I’ve done this countless times.


When we have a desire to change our bodies we can tell ourselves the craziest stories, right?

These stories affect what we believe, how we behave, and who we become. Some people simply don’t lose weight because they believe they can’t. And then because they can’t lose weight the tell themselves a story to make sense of it.

One of the biggest obstacles in making any change in life is overcoming the stories we tell ourselves.

  • “I’m big boned”
  • “I’ve always been fat, I can never change”
  • “It’s impossible for me to eat better”
  • “I don’t have enough time”
  • “I have the fat gene”

Some people refer to these thoughts as limiting beliefs. Whatever you call them one thing is clear: GET RID OF THEM!

Sometimes you don’t need a change of strategy you just need to change your story.


Here are 3 questions that can help you form a better story.

1. What stories are holding you back?

We all have stories we tell ourselves. Some of them are helpful and move us forward. Others are harmful and hold us back.

What beliefs or stories do you need to get rid of in order to move forward?

This step is about being real with yourself. It’s about addressing the excuses and being bold enough to call them just that. Answering this question is sometimes difficult because you have to confront flat out lies that you tell yourself.

e.g. “I haven’t done it because I don’t have enough… Time. Energy. Money.”

Whatever they may be, write them down and make a list.

2. What stories will move you forward?

Since we’ve looked at what has been holding you back, now we need positive beliefs to replace them with.

What helpful stories will you start telling yourself?


  • “I have all the time I need.”
  • “I possess more than enough energy.’
  • “I can do this”

I’m not talking about positive affirmations, although they can be great, but simply controlling the thoughts you fill your mind with day after day.

What would your life look like if you traded every harmful story you tell yourself with a helpful one that moved you forward?

3. How will you remember these better stories?

I have a list of things taped to my bathroom mirror that I read while I brush my teeth. They remind me who I truly am and what I’m capable of. It’s a bit cheesy but it’s crazy effective.

  • Maybe you’ll keep a card in your wallet.
  • Maybe you’ll have them in a note on your phone.
  • Maybe you have a supercomputer for a brain and can simply remember everything.

Whatever it is, whether tangible or not, make it a focus.

Working on growing the simple belief that it is possible to change can literally change your life!

Question: How have you seen the power of belief work in your life?

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  1. Ted

    I’m pretty much convinced that ALL of life is a mind game. Our attitudes (beliefs) have the ability to make or break any area of life. Relationships, our jobs, our diets, and our happiness. We all have the power to be more successful, healthier, and happier, BUT it starts with transforming our thoughts first. After we get that down, the rest will follow.

    This is a constant battle for me as negative thoughts still creep in at times, but I recognize the direction they are taking me and begin putting them in their place and thinking about the positive.

    Great tips for learning how to change the way we think Dan!

    • Dan Bolton

      I so agree, Ted.

      Two of my favourite quotes on this topic:
      “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he”
      “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford

  2. spectra311

    Absolutely. When I was heavy, I made every excuse for it in the world–I blamed my genes, I always felt like it would be too hard and would take too much time. The truth was that I really did know what it would take to become thin and I honestly didn’t want to make the changes necessary. I LIKED eating donuts and cappuccinos for breakfast, burgers and fries for lunch, pizza and huge burritos for dinner. I liked being sedentary–or so I thought. It was what I told myself. When I decided to get healthy, I made up my mind that I’d find foods that I would be able to eat that I loved and would still help me lose some weight. I persuaded myself to start walking and seeing if it made me feel better. Once I lost about 10 lbs just from some simple changes, I had convinced myself that I could really do it and kept it up. Sometimes, all it takes is trying things you’ve always thought were “too hard” and seeing that they really aren’t that hard after all.

    • Dan Bolton

      You’re a powerhouse of inspiration, Spectra!
      Thanks for being so open with your journey