Is it worth it to lose weight?
Losing Weight Is Still Worthwhile. Just don’t diet to get there.
Anti-diet messages have gotten so mixed up with weight loss that many people wonder, is it ok to want to lose weight?
Yes, but it matters how you go about it. After twenty years of struggling with dieting and its bad ideas about weight loss, I’m certain that dieting is self-harm and a massive waste of time.
Research shows that food restriction just makes you want to eat more. And over the long term, dieting can backfire, triggering your body’s survival defenses, slowing your metabolism and making it even harder to lose weight in the future.
Dieting is deprivation. Weight loss is intention.
To put it simply, one asks you to eat less no matter your hunger or the practicality of the idea, and the other emphasizes sustainable practices that lead to weight loss.
In fact, in the weight loss journey that finally stuck, I barely thought about my weight and never went hungry. I was too focused on making real food, movement, and stress relief part of my daily life. My changing body was often a surprise.
“If you make decisions through the lens of permanence it immediately disqualifies the majority of deprivation-based eating.”
I understand stable weight loss as a series of self-care practices. That point of view informs my life and this program.
These self-care practices not only transformed my body but, more importantly, created a way to heal and nurture myself that continues twelve years past the initial loss. I learned to listen to myself, set kind boundaries, focus on natural nourishment, and tame my inner critic.
We teach you to love yourself through the acts of self-care. Weight loss is a by-product of those actions.
Losing weight through deprivation won’t fix the following:
- Poor self-regard. It’s a common misunderstanding that losing weight will make you feel better about yourself. You need high self-regard to sustain the practices that lead to lasting weight loss. Love yourself first.
- Coping with depression or anxiety with food. You can force yourself to stop turning to food when you’re feeling low for a while. Adhering to an app or dietary ‘rules’ is a temporary crutch that offers the illusion of change. Real change is a different kind of process.
- Knowing what your body needs. As far as I can tell, most diets fully disconnect you from your body’s hunger signals (which right there ought to be a warning sign). Your body communicates with you all the time about how it functions best. You need that information for a lifetime of self-care.
What losing weight did for me.
I can’t say what losing weight will do to your life, but I’d like to offer my story and see if that sparks some truths within you.
I had ongoing health issues, even as a young woman. Every meal seemed to create heartburn, enough that I had a (worthless) endoscopy to see the problem. The problem was the weight. As soon as I lost it, I never had heartburn again.
I had seasonal depression, sleep apnea, debilitating periods, persistent headaches, knee pain, and chronic fatigue. I felt unwell a lot.
All now gone.
Once I was living at a healthy weight, it reminded me what it meant to feel great in your body, to get up off the floor quickly, and have it do most of what you ask of it with ease. I walked for miles and miles (and still do) because it felt so good. A healthy body is a treasure, better than anything.
In the years since my loss, I’ve used that template of self-care and resilience to become an adventurous explorer. I took myself camping across America, solo hiked in multiple states, took up mountain biking at 48 (and still obsessed with it as I near 51), and there’s much more I intend to do. For me, none of that would have been possible carrying excess weight.
I’m grateful to have found my way but still wistful at what I could’ve accomplished with an energetic, healthy body from ages twenty to forty. I missed out, and there’s no other way to look at it.
Excess weight has a cost.
Besides the years of being limited by and struggling with my body, I’ve had breast cancer twice with no prior family history. The ongoing pain, fear, and costly treatments exacted a real toll. I had PTSD as a result and now live knowing that it might come back anytime. Cancer is a chronic condition that’s permanently altered my life.
Could my diagnosis be a matter of bad luck? Sure, but I suspect not.
Excess weight is a factor in higher rates of cancer. It creates elevated levels of estrogen that bring systemic issues (including breast cancer). I had nine surgeries in four years, some of which addressed other problems brought on by too much estrogen.
During those painful years of treatment, the self-care practices already in place saved me. They nurtured me back to health. Without them, I don’t know where I’d be.
I dearly wish I knew then what I know now.
- That you can take good care of yourself and thrive as a person.
- Weight loss isn’t some arduous gauntlet but the by-product of pursuing meaningful care.
- Self-care is an affirming process that can heal and bring happiness into your life.
- Pursuing joy is how you keep showing up for yourself.
- You can eat well every day and take genuine pleasure out of making your meals.
- You can hold boundaries with people, and the right ones will honor them and you.
So, yes, it’s entirely worthwhile to lose weight. We'd like to help you make the lasting change you need to live at a healthy weight.
We built a free course to help you understand why you haven't been able to lose weight for good.
The 10 Weight Loss Mistakes Holding You Back.
"What a terrific presentation! I wish it had been available to me years ago." - Kathleen