Do You Want to Lose Weight? Stop Trying to Lose Weight!

If you're trying to lose weight, the best thing you can do is to stop trying to lose weight.

"I am trying to lose weight." That's a phrase I've heard many times in my life as a life coach. It's a phrase that people say because they think it's the right thing to say, but it also reveals something deeper: The person saying it is failing at losing weight.

Trying to do something presupposes that we are not successful

(otherwise there would be no trying, just doing).

So let me ask you: Do you truly want to lose weight? If so, then you need to change your focus from losing weight (something no one can do for long) to getting healthy enough so that you're at your ideal body weight.

Change focus from losing weight to getting to your ideal weight

The first question you might be asking is:

How do I determine my ideal weight? 

There are 2 ways to do so:

  1. Remember the time from your past when you were at your best fitness level, when you were the most healthy that you have ever been. Would you say this was your ideal weight? If so, what was the number at the time?
  2. Imagine and pretend that you could lose all the extra body fat that you don't need and gain all the muscle mass you would like to have. How much would be your weight?

Congratulations, you have just arrived at your ideal weight. Please remember this number as it is much more important than the current number you can see on the scale.

There are certainly benefits to losing weight, but the process can be both frustrating and discouraging. If you focus on losing weight as a goal in itself, you may find that you're not making progress towards your ideal body size or shape. Instead of thinking about how much weight you still have left to lose, try thinking about getting closer to your ideal body size instead.

Instead of thinking about how far away from reaching your goal (the destination), think about how much closer each step takes you (the journey). As long as each step brings us closer than before--and we're moving forward at all--we're doing something right!

For ideal weight, you need 3 healthy relationships: with food, with exercise and with self.

You need 3 successful relationships:

If you're looking to reach your ideal weight, there are 3 important relationship that you need to sort out:

  1. Relationship with food
  2. Relationship with exercise
  3. Relationship with self

But most people don't understand this and they try all sorts of crazy things like dieting or starving themselves in an effort to lose weight fast, which almost never works because it's not sustainable long term. You can't starve yourself for the rest of your life! That would make anyone sick and unhappy!

1. Relationship with food

The first step to becoming your ideal weight  is to change your relationship with food.

You will not lose weight by sheer willpower or by exercising every day. Some people say that our weight is 80% food and 20% exercise, so if you want to become your ideal weight, first and foremost you need to focus on eating right.

How to eat

Eating is one of the most fundamental parts of life--we do it every day! But while eating is easy enough on its own, there are some things that can make a big difference in how you feel when you're eating and what happens after you've finished your meal.

When we're hungry our bodies send us signals that say "Hey! Time for food!" These signals are important because they tell us when we need energy so we can function well throughout our day. Most people, however, don't eat ONLY when they feel hungry, but also for other reasons as well. Some people eat when they are bored or stressed out. Some people eat when there is "time" to eat. Make conscious effort to eat only when you are feeling hungry.

Eating should be "feeling good" exercise. Feeling good depends on the type of food and the amount of food we eat. Important is to feel good all the time with regard to food, not only at the time when we are eating the food. What I mean by that is that some of us focus only on the instant gratification connected with eating a particular food, but then suffer consequences of eating that food down the line (in a couple of hours, days or even months).

Try the following exercise to change how you feel about eating certain things

There is a simple, yet powerful exercise to change how you eat that you can try right now:


First, try thinking about a food that you like eating, but it’s not good for you long term. You can choose whatever you want, just as long as it fulfills these criteria. When you chose your food for this exercise, follow theses steps:

  • Imagine that you eat the food, the processing of food in your mouth and as it goes to your stomach
  • What do you notice? What are your sensations? What are you feelings?
  • Imagine that you are about 15-30 minutes after that, processing the food in your stomach
  • What do you notice? What are your sensations? What are you feelings?
  • Imagine that you are about 3 hours after you ate the food
  • What do you notice? What are your sensations? What are you feelings?
  • Imagine that you can feel long-term consequences of eating this food on regular basis, you are living in the body that has been sustained by this food long term
  • What do you notice? What are your sensations? What are you feelings?

Try doing it with some other food that belong to the same category (you like eating the food, but it is not the best for you). Our unconscious minds have an amazing ability to generalize what we learn, so once you learned it thoroughly on a certain "type" of food, your brain can generalize it for others, similar ones.


Second, try thinking about a food that you don’t particularly like, but you know it’s good for you. Again, let’s go through these 4 steps once again:

  • Imagine that you eat the food, the processing of food in your mouth and as it goes to your stomach
  • What do you notice? What are your sensations? What are you feelings?
  • Imagine that you are about 15-30 minutes after that, processing the food in your stomach
  • What do you notice? What are your sensations? What are you feelings?
  • Imagine that you are about 3 hours after you ate the food
  • What do you notice? What are your sensations? What are you feelings?
  • Imagine that you can feel long-term consequences of eating this food on regular basis, you are living in the body that has been sustained by this food long term
  • What do you notice? What are your sensations? What are you feelings?

Again, consider doing it more than once with food that belong to this category (healthy, but not as tasty at the moment). Consider your wonderful sense of generalization of other similar foods.

What to eat

Diet is very individual for each and every one of us. While we believe that reducing the amount of animal products in our diet can have beneficial effects, short term and long term, we are not going to recommend a specific diet in this article. There are a couple of generalizations that are useful for anyone with any type of diet:

  • Supplement your body with variety of nutrients = Eat a variety of foods
  • Focus on eating a lot of fiber = Focus on eating more vegetables and fruits
  • Focus on whole foods = Avoid processed foods

When to eat

One thing that can make a great difference in your weight long term is to expand your non-eating window. It might mean either not eating any snacks after dinner or skipping breakfast. Many people know this approach as intermittent fasting and it has been proven to have marvelous effects on human body, not only in terms of becoming your ideal weight, but also improving sleep, strengthening immune system and many other beneficial functions within the human body.

Relationship with exercise is very important for reaching and maintaining your ideal weight.

2. Relationship with exercise

Exercise is not just about weight loss, exercise should be something you look forward to doing, not something that you feel like you have to do, because you should, you were told by someone (close person, a doctor).

Whenever I hear that people say that they should exercise, I already know that it will be an uphill battle for them. In our young years, we were often told that we should do something and we often didn’t do it. How effective can this “should” approach be for us as adults when we are now in control of what we really want to be doing?

How to exercise

Again, with exercise like with the diet, there is no size fits all approach.

What is recommended by many people is to exercise about 3-4 times per week, where 2 times it is about moderate exercise (we can call it aerobics) and 2 times about high intensity exercise (strength exercise).

When it comes to aerobics exercise, the best thing you can do is to find something that's enjoyable and convenient. If you're not enjoying your workout, then chances are you won't stick with it long-term. And if it takes too much time or energy (or both), then again--you're more likely not to keep up with it in the long run.

So what's an easy way around this? Try keeping things simple: pick one activity per week that works for your schedule and preferences, whether that means doing yoga at home or running laps with friends after work twice a week. You don't need an elaborate plan or expensive gear; just try out different things until something clicks!

When it comes to strength exercise, there is no need to join the gym, you can exercise with your body weight and do some very simple exercises at home on a exercise mat (push-ups, squats, planks).

Ideally, you start with exercising for a couple of minutes every time you do it, maybe something like 5-10 minutes. What you are trying to do is to get to consistent approach and it’s much easier for you to be consistent with 5-10 minutes than to go for 60 minutes or even more. You can always increase your time for exercising in the future and it is highly likely you might do it once you experience the first benefits. Remember, start small and build on top of it.

Desire to exercise

If you approach exercise as a chore or punishment instead of something that makes you feel good, then it will be much harder for you to stick with it long-term. However, I understand when people who never exercised or haven’t exercised for a while, lack motivation to even start with exercising in the first place.

Motivation comes from two sources:

  • People are motivated by DOING the activity, by the activity itself
  • People are motivated by HAVING DONE the activity, the activity doesn’t motivate them, but the result of the activity does

Every activity has the beginning (before the activity happens), the activity itself (DOING the activity), the end (HAVING DONE the activity) and the reward point (noticing outcomes of the activity). If you were motivated by exercising itself, by DOING the exercise, there would be no need to do the following motivation exercise. However, if you struggle to exercise, you can try this motivation technique and take these steps now:

  1. Imagine and pretend that you can see yourself (from the third person perspective) just before you are about to exercise, how committed and dedicated you are to the exercise, how prepared you are, you can notice the clothes you are wearing specifically for the exercise, you can notice the equipment you are about to use, you can notice your expression in your face that is saying that you are ready to go for it.
  2. Now, step inside yourself in that situation and imagine that you go through exercise. You are moving your body, maybe using some weights, feeling a bit resistance to do so, but still do it and take yourself through the experience all the way to the end.
  3. You are at the end of the exercise, notice how you feel, the feeling of accomplishment, maybe a bit sweaty and tired, but still feeling good, as endorphins are now flowing your brain and body, letting you know that you did something meaningful for yourself.
  4. Imagine yourself being a bit more in the future, where you have done this activity a couple of times, as your strength increases, as your endurance increases, as you sleep increases, as your stress levels decrease, how good you feel having done the activity, ass you notice the outcomes, the effects of the exercise, the rewards from the exercise.
  5. Repeat the first 4 steps at least 4-5 times, really stepping into those feelings, into those rewards.

You might notice that your motivation for exercise increases after having done this exercise. If it works for you, keep it in mind if you need to increase your motivation for anything else in the future.

Your beliefs about yourself are like self-fulfilling prophecy - they determine how you behave and how you feel about yourself.

3. Relationship with self

In order to change your relationship with self, you must first understand how it came about. A lot of our beliefs about nutrition and exercise are formed by others. For example, if your parents were overweight or obese and told you that "healthy food is too expensive," or “you need to finish everything that is on your plate” this would be an example of a negative belief that could affect the way in which you view food as an adult.

It's important to remember that nobody can change their own beliefs without first making an effort to understand where they came from--especially when those beliefs have been formed over time by multiple sources (e.g., family members). Reading articles like this one will help!

Correct beliefs about nutrition, exercise, worthiness

First, you need to change your beliefs about nutrition and exercise. You may think that if you just eat less or do more cardio, then you'll lose weight. Or maybe you believe that eating healthy foods makes people fat and therefore it's not worth it for you because of all the time and effort involved in preparing those foods. Or perhaps when someone compliments your progress with fitness or weight loss (or even if they ask how much weight have lost), it makes you feel embarrassed or ashamed because deep down inside there's a nagging voice saying "but what if he knew what I really weighed?"

The truth is that these types of thoughts are simply not true! It doesn't matter if someone knows exactly what kind of food choices we make as long as they are healthy ones; moreover, working out isn't something only skinny people do because everyone needs some type of physical activity every day whether it's walking around town or taking part in recreational sports like basketball or tennis, or even just doing squats while watching TV counts too! And finally becoming your ideal weight isn't necessarily the worst thing that can happen for us (quite the opposite really) since being overweight has many negative effects such as higher risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, developing type 2 diabetes etcetera. Instead focus on changing these false beliefs by replacing them with ones based on facts instead which includes things like "I'm allowed to eat whatever if I stay within recommended calorie range"; "Exercising helps burn off calories faster than sitting around doing nothing"; etcetera... If you are interested in how to change your beliefs, make sure to read this article.

You have the power to make these changes!

You can do it! You can be lean and healthy, but you need to stop trying to lose weight. That's right, I said it: Stop trying to lose weight. If your goal is simply "lose weight," then that's all your body will focus on doing--and in turn it will keep fat on your body, because without extra fat, there would be no extra weight that your body could lose. When we change our focus from losing weight to achieving a healthier lifestyle and mindset and reaching our ideal weight, our bodies respond by becoming leaner over time (and not just because we're eating less).

I hope that this article has given you a better understanding of the three key relationships we have with food, exercise and ourselves, and how they relate to our weight. If you need any assistance in improving any of these relationships, contact us here. Remember: It's not about losing weight or making yourself feel bad about being overweight; it's about finding the right balance between food, exercise and self-esteem so that you can finally achieve your ideal weight.

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