A sane and thoughtful approach to permanent weight loss.

Eleven years ago, I set about tackling a long out-of-reach goal. In the course of a year, I lost 50 pounds. I’ve now maintained this loss for over a decade. Less than 10% of dieters accomplish this goal past the five-year mark.

I did it without counting calories, eliminating any food group, adopting a set program, or taking supplements. I didn’t push myself into uncomfortable workouts, pay for expensive training, or join a fitness boot camp.

In other words, I thoroughly rejected diet culture, popular advice, and weight loss trends of any kind.

In 2010, 2011 and 2018

Instead, I began paying careful attention to…

They know you’ll do ridiculous things to make that number.

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Goal weights are an invention of diet companies. They are an unnecessary ‘motivator’ and do more harm than good.

The more acute the distance between you and some magical number, the higher the likelihood you will agree to a plan with a 90% failure rate.

Goal weights allow diet companies to let you do the work of convincing yourself to accept unsustainable schemes. No carbs? Sure. Eat all your food in a 6-hour window, why not? Guzzle celery juice? Ok!

Every idea becomes reasonable in the face of that glittering number.

I lost 50 pounds without ever having a goal weight.

I started writing about my process because my experience…

Choose what pulls you.

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Most of us understand that durable weight loss requires consistency.

What we forget is that motivation is highly inconsistent.

The question then becomes, how do we show up day after day for practices that result in a healthy weight?

I propose a radically simple answer. Choose joyful pursuits.

Yes, this means ditching workouts that you silently dread and have to psyche yourself into doing. There’s space down the road to intensify your movement practice when you’re ready for a bit more.

For now, today even, go do something that opens you up to joy.

In my case, that’s a walk. It's even better if it’s in nature, but a city walk with some parks thrown in does the trick just as well. …

The problem is in plain sight.

“I want to eat naturally and be able to stop when I’m not hungry anymore.”

Seems reasonable. The daily struggle to keep yourself from eating too much is a depressing affair. So is letting loose pretending you don’t care but silently hating your growing body.

Food shouldn’t be a land mine, it’s nourishment. The good news is that you can eat to satiation and not beyond if you start paying careful attention to what has been done to the food.

The more it's altered, the less likely you’ll be able to stop.

Another way to think about this is that whole, unprocessed food is perfectly designed to work with your body. …

Some habits influence everything else.

A daily salad is the most impactful thing you can do to achieve and keep a healthy weight. Yes, really.

That’s because eating a salad every day is a keystone habit. Those are habits that have an outsized impact on the entirety of your life. I wouldn’t have believed it before last week but eating a salad most days is one such habit.

Here are a few of the reasons:

  • it displaces other less healthy or dense foods from your day’s intake
  • it forces you to shop for veggies on the regular
  • you’re eating a nutrient-dense meal every day which…

This radical notion is your founding principle.

My 50th birthday is tomorrow. Other than the AARP card I should have anticipated (but still startled me), I’m feeling very good about this.

In 2014 I was diagnosed with highly invasive breast cancer, with a small recurrence in 2017. I had serious doubts about making it to fifty.

Instead, here I am in a body I thoroughly enjoy, crazy about cycling and full of energy for this venture.

What does this have to do with weight loss? Quite a bit.

I discovered the lump early because a few years prior I’d lost fifty pounds and could easily palpate it…

You’re only delaying the inevitable.

The issue is technology alienation.

Technology alienation = weight loss apps.

Photo by Rob Hampson on Unsplash

I came across this fascinating piece in the Growth Equation about the concept of technology alienation. It’s the idea that certain technologies stop us from tuning into ourselves.

I was immediately electrified. YES!

Take, for example, a GPS watch with a heart-rate monitor or any other biometric tracking device. Exercising, sleeping, eating, and so on with these devices gives you all kinds of powerful information, but it also alienates you from your own body’s physical sensations. …

Does that still sound like coping?

Have you heard?

There’s a pandemic and it’s stressful and if you have to eat your way through then do it because you do you, boo.

I’m seeing this message all over the place and it’s making me a bit nuts.

Think of it this way, if you heard that someone was spending money on impulse purchases would you advise them not to worry about the resulting credit card bills?

Now a global survey conducted earlier this year confirms what Mr. Loy and many others experienced firsthand: The coronavirus pandemic and resulting lockdowns led to dramatic changes in health behaviors, prompting people around…

The question keeps us stuck in unworkable systems.

If we want to curb weight gain individually we need to start thinking collectively.

Photo by JOSHUA COLEMAN on Unsplash

Let’s start with the obvious. All bodies regardless of size deserve dignity. That’s not pandering, it’s basic fairness. Being fat is not a personal or moral failure, it’s an outcome. One poorly understood by most people.

What I have to say below isn’t a missive on thin being ideal, and everything else isn’t good enough. A healthy weight looks different on everyone and I say ‘vive la différence’.

The health risks of excess weight also remain. Chronic, inflammatory diseases fueled by sugar and packaged foods are on the rise. These diseases cause incredible damage to people’s lives and rob them…

Nothing. Seductive. Uncomfortable. Unsustainable.

Clean slates are a fun idea. Start fresh, throw out the bad.

Who doesn’t love that glittery horizon?

Here’s another way to think about it: that’s nurturing a fantasy.

Lasting change evolves. It’s a simultaneous process of growing good thinking, doing the emotional work to allow honesty in, and keeping your commitments to yourself.

It’s one step at a time. It’s gentleness. It’s respect for the self.

Diets can only ever end one way, with you no longer dieting.

Then what?

Have you created boundaries, worked on self-talk, employed good tools, deepened your understanding of behavior, created rules, pursued joyful movement, and focused on your nourishment practice?

One way or another you…

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