Skip to main content

No wonder you’re confused about your weight…

By November 17, 2018March 17th, 201952 Thoughts for the Chronic Dieter

No wonder you’re confused about your weight…

One “expert” is promoting their new research on the benefits of intermittent fasting, another is suggesting you are looking down the barrel of weight loss surgery as your only option, and another still is telling you weight loss doesn’t work at all, so just forget about it and learn to love the skin you’re in.

This constant struggle with your weight is almost driving you up the wall1, and the only tangible result you see is the number on the scales rising over time2.  And to top it off the experts are making you feel like when Mum tells you you can’t have a second piece of cake but Dad tells you you can:


You’ve done 4, (or 5, or 10) failed diets, what’s going to be the thing that finally works for you?

It’s confusing, right?

Luckily, confusion is the emotion we always experience before clarity, so you’re on the way to finding the answer3, but a big problem is that we “experts” are actually confusing you further, and in doing so, we are failing you…

The weight loss industry cowboys are creating a “need” to lose weight where often none exists, in order to sell you a product that claims to work…but doesn’t.4

The medical profession are institutionally taught weight bias, and with the best of intentions, believe you have to lose weight for your health if you are above a BMI of 25 (this, of course, is NOT true)!5

Fitness experts are generally younger people and haven’t yet experienced the changes their bodies will undergo over time.  From their perspective, you can lose weight and look like them if you just “put the work in”.

The trouble is, diet and exercise weight loss approaches don’t really work (remember the Nike swoosh?), so two polar-opposite alternatives are emerging, each claiming to be the only answer.

Health At Every Size ® advocates claim you should never focus on the scales, and cite research that taking the focus off weight and putting it on overall health has A LOT of benefits,6 which it does!  But the absolute rule of complete weight neutrality may favour their ideology over what is best for you personally if there is a reason why living in a lighter body would greatly improve your health or wellbeing.

Bariatric surgeons feel that weight loss surgery is the only way to achieve large and lasting weight loss, and significant evidence supports this.7  But bariatric surgery is a “pay to play game”, with risks and complications that may outweigh the benefits (especially if you are not in the right headspace to get the best results, and especially especially if you don’t need the surgery in the first place8!)

Noting the downsides of traditional weight loss, HAES ®, and bariatric surgery options, supporters of innovative interventions like tapping, hypnosis, and habit change, cite research that their approaches result in increasing weight loss over time, which is exciting given all other approaches9 see weight regaining shortly after treatment finishes.  But the reality is that the weight losses are quite small compared to what most people are looking for, and longer-term research is still forthcoming.

Okay, so now I’m confused AND depressed?
What IS the answer, then Glenn?

Now we’d both love for this to be the part where I tie up everything nicely in a neat little bow (really, we would), but – while we’re dropping truth bombs – the reality is that this challenge is an imperfect puzzle, and to complicate it further, your answer to it is going to be different from the next person’s. So while I can’t give you the answer, I can help you with the process of how you arrive at it, which is the most important thing.  And working through this very question with literally thousands of clients, I know we can always find the right answer together.

I do know that your answer will involve:

  1. A firm decision to stop doing what hasn’t been working for you
  2. A careful and informed reflection about what will work for you
  3. A commitment to the new approach to see if it really is right for you.

Give me a week or so to gather my thoughts on exactly how I help people work through this, and I’ll come back with a template for you to start to figure out your own answer very soon.

If you still feel uncertain, that’s good!  Let me leave you with one of my favourite quotes from Sir Francis Bacon:10

“If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts;
but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties.”

I am sure that if we have the patience to begin with doubts, and the emotional wherewithal to make room for the inevitable uncertainty as we weigh the options, we will certainly discover the answer that is just right for you.

I created this blog for people just like you.
If you found it valuable, please help me share it with them!


  1. This constant drive to be thinner without trying anything fundamentally different and never ending up achieving the results you want is akin to Einstein’s definition of insanity “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results” – I call this particular type of insanity Thinsanity….hmmm that sounds like a good title for a book!” 😉
  2. With your weight chart showing the trend you want to see when you look at your shares but not when you get on the scales!
  3. Otherwise you may have been “certain” the 5:2 diet is the one for you, and we both know how that would have probably ended up!
  4. The subtext of this is that when you fail, it’s YOUR fault, because the program works, if you follow it (the disclaimer is that most people DON’T follow it, because it’s stupid!)
  5. Much more on the details of this when I next write you!
  6. People who follow a HAES ® approach can become a lot healthier and happier, even if they don’t lose weight! Bacon, L., Stern, J. S., & Van Loan et. al. (2005) Size acceptance and intuitive eating improve health for obese, female chronic dieters. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 105, pp 929-936.
  7. O’Brien, P. E., Macdonald, L., & Anderson, M, et. al. (2013). Long-term outcomes after bariatric surgery. Fifteen year follow up of adjustable gastric banding and a systematic review of the bariatric surgery literature. Annals of Surgery, 257 (1), 87 – 94.
  8. By “need” I mean have a significant medical reason for requiring surgery.
  9. Apart from weight loss surgery.
  10. Please forgive the inherent sexism favoured at the time of writing.