Why weight loss may not be the best goal

26th April, 2016

It is harder to nourish your body well or improve your eating behaviours for the long-term, when your goal is weight loss. Worrying about weight loss can lead to worrying about calories and good food/bad food thinking. At some point this becomes annoying, stressful and exhausting, and this usually results in the “what the hell effect” and eating that is driven by emotions or just wanting to eat whatever’s on offer regardless of your appetite.

If you take the focus off weight loss, the calorie content of food can take a back seat, instead you can start to practice tuning into your appetite. Learning your various cues of hunger and fullness takes practice and happens more easily when you loosen your grip on food rules, calories and weight loss. Once you’re back in tune with your appetite, you can base food choices on level of hunger and a better knowledge of what will satisfy that hunger, and you can base how much to eat on your level of fullness. No calorie counting, no weighing or measuring food and no need to be fearful of carbs or fat.

This is called intuitive eating and while for some it may come more naturally, for many the process is challenging. This is especially true if you have spent years dieting or if you have disordered eating or an eating disorder and most likely you will require help from a skilled practitioner.

In taking the focus off weight loss, I am not saying people shouldn’t care about their bodies or their health, of course we should. But we don’t need to focus on weight loss in order to do this.