Weight Loss as a Happy Side Effect

It’s probably not what you want to hear. But once you believe it, and live it, you experience it. I promise.

You see, I lost 12 lbs. last year without trying.

At 51.

In menopause.


How? I decided what taking even better care of myself would look like, gradually implementing new behaviors and altering old patterns. It sounds simple. And it was. Seriously.

I’m not saying to never have a weight loss or “size” goal. But if that’s the only thing you’re going for, it’s hard to stay motivated. If weight loss is the only effect, and not a side effect, it’s too easy to quit the minute your friend brings over cookies as a thank you for loaning her your car last week.

Or, if despite all your efforts, the weight isn’t coming off fast enough, or not at all, thoughts like “I’m not losing weight, so I might as well have another glass of wine” start traipsing through your mind.

And you’re back to square one.

What if instead you focused on non-scale victories. I asked a group of clients recently about the effects they were noticing and they said things like increased confidence. An ability to sit with uncomfortable feelings and not get swallowed up by them. A health problem was no longer a problem.  A quieted mind. Feeling like herself again.

Try it. Go ahead and keep the number goal, but focus on all the things. Imagine, you start exercising consistently. After a few weeks you can keep up with your best friend on your walks together. Two flights of stairs up to your office that used to wind you are now effortless.

Or you keep hydrated with water and remove sugary snacks, noticing you’re no longer jittery and on-edge at work.  Your choices give you steady energy that don’t mess with your blood-sugar.

Make a detailed list of all the benefits. In that way you literally build the case for your desired behaviors, as though you’re an attorney arguing the benefits of healthy habits.

Here’s the thing: the more short-term benefits you identify, the easier it is to keep taking the actions that will produce the results you want. Including the side effect of weight loss.

I lost 12 lbs. without trying. At 51. In menopause. But, my focus wasn't on the scale. Weight loss was a side effect of my actual focus.

Back to the 12 lbs. I didn’t try to lose it, but if you’d asked me back then I’d have said “I wouldn’t mind losing a few pounds.” Had my focus been on the weight, I never would have lost the weight. Partly because I didn’t think I had it to lose (“this is just how my body wants to be”) and because it happened gradually. (I don’t weigh myself regularly, which I’ll talk about in my next post on “Are you using the scale wrong?”)

I focused on all the non-scale victories because they were truly what I wanted. I’d keep up with my habits with or without the weight loss. Because I’m stronger. Because all my blood work shows I’m in incredible health. Because I feel amazing. The 12 lbs. are a happy side effect.

Do you want to lose weight without trying? Let’s talk!

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