Do you know what you need to know about weight loss and health?

Is there anything new under the sun?

Yes, science regularly discovers health and weight loss information but most of the time we don’t even apply the information we have while we continue to seek more. It’s as though we expect something “new” is going to make it easier.

My final Year of 50 review focuses on the “Top 50 things I’ve learned about weight loss and health.” It’s about the basics that don’t change with the next shiny object. Shiny objects scatter your attention so that you never consistently apply what’s actually necessary to reach your most desired health and weight loss goals.

Weight loss is about basics that don’t change with the next fad or diet. Here are the top 5 things I've learned about weight loss and health.
Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

To stay focused on what really produces results, consider these 5 of the top 50 basics:

  1. Weight loss is a side effect of healthy choices, but not necessarily the first thing to occur. Which is a bummer because that’s what most often prompts behavior change to begin with. It’s important to find other markers of success so that you’re motivated to sustain your healthy habits long enough to see and feel more significant results.
  2. When you lose weight, you lose muscle in addition to fat. And when you go off a diet and gain weight back, it’s 100% fat so your metabolism is lower and your body burns fewer calories. That’s why on-and-off dieting makes it so hard to lose weight over time.
  3. Small steps go a long way. The tendency is to attempt huge changes, fail, then try again. If you get discouraged enough, you may stop trying, thinking something is wrong with you because you can’t just buck up and do it. But consider implementing small changes, daily, weekly, monthly…and watch how they add up. In a year you can make significant improvements, one small step at a time.
  4. Substituting “good” for “bad” foods as a late-night treat is still overeating if you’re not hungry. Why you eat is as important as what you eat.
  5. Spot reducing is a myth. Shrinking belly fat, for example, is about overall reduction. Focus on exercises that get you the most results for the time spent – you’ll see overall fat loss, including your “problem” area.

Isn’t it freeing to realize you don’t need to read one more fitness magazine, weight loss book or diet research study to tell you what you already know? Isn’t it exciting to consider that you have a lot of the information you already need? Consistently applying the basics is the best and fastest way to lifelong weight loss and feeling like yourself again.


Top 50 Things I’ve Learned About Weight Loss and Health

Are you looking for an easy fix for your weight loss and health goals? Spoiler alert: It’s a lifestyle! Wrapping up this month’s Top 50 Countdown is the Top 50 Things I’ve Learned About Weight Loss and Health. Some of these will be new to you but for those things you already know, the repetition can be very beneficial!

  1. It’s a lifestyle, silly! (sounds nicer than “stupid!”)
  2. Weight loss is a side effect of healthy choices
  3. When you lose weight, you lose muscle in addition to fat
  4. Yo-yo (up & down weight gain/loss) is actually bad for your health
  5. The “yo-yo” also makes it harder to lose weight the more you do it
  6. Everyone is unique so comparing your results to someone else’s is unhelpful
  7. Small steps go a long way
  8. Quantum leaps are great, but few can sustain them so, not really great…
  9. Non-hunger eating is a huge factor in gaining weight
  10. Snacking in and of itself is not good or bad (are you hungry?)
  11. Water is your friend
  12. So is fiber
  13. Good stress (e.g. striving to reach a goal) is healthy
  14. How you view a particular stressor affects your health and your habits
  15. Substituting “good” for “bad” foods as a late-night treat is still over-eating if you’re not hungry
  16. Being healthy is more than a number (scale, blood pressure, cholesterol)
  17. Being thin does not equal being healthy (it can, but it’s not a given)
  18. Pound for pound, muscle is more compact than fat (it doesn’t weigh less, it just takes up less space)
  19. People tend to recall that they exercised more and ate less
  20. The scale is not god, nor does it tell the whole story
  21. Objective feedback, like that provided by a heart rate monitor and accelerometer, is motivating and lets you know that what you’re doing is working.
  22. Non-scale victories keep you going for the long-haul (link to March)
  23. It’s gotta be about more than weight loss
  24. You know the guy who smokes, eats bacon and is a couch potato who lives to be 90? He’s the exception NOT the rule
  25. There’s no “getting away” with over-eating, over-drinking or not exercising – again, the scale is not the whole story
    Photo by Ursula Spaulding on Unsplash
  26. One day of “blowing it” doesn’t cause a 5lb weight gain (any weight gained in one day is typically water weight)
  27. When you accept your body type/shape you’re more likely to focus on what you can control
  28. When you actually like your body you’re more apt to treat it well
  29. It’s easy to get in a food rut, but we need a balance of many foods (especially plants) for optimal health
  30. Wide-ranging research shows the healthiest diets include a LOT of plants (
  31. Strength training will boost your metabolism and help shape your body
  32. Spot reducing is a myth
  33. “Where” your body loses fat is genetically pre-determined
  34. The fit of your clothes is a good measure of progress
  35. Sleep affects both health and ability to lose weight
  36. Food as entertainment alone is not serving its proper purpose
  37. But when hungry, food is meant to be enjoyed
  38. You can train your brain to enjoy healthy habits
  39. Strong, positive relationships promote good health, independent of weight
  40. Most of the reasons someone gains weight has little to do with not knowing what to do
  41. Deprivation almost always leads to a backlash
  42. If you keep telling yourself “it’s hard” it will keep being hard
  43. How you start off the day impacts the rest of the day, so be intentional to start it well
  44. The oxygen mask demonstration from the flight attendant is a transferable lesson to daily life
  45. Our natural bias leans negative – we must intentionally focus on the good
  46. Self-compassion is integral to healthy living
  47. When we let go of things we’ve been holding onto (clutter, grudges, resentments), sometimes weight follows
  48. Now and then those we love the most make it hard for us to change – they don’t mean to, it’s like an auto-responder…
  49. Healthy habits are easier when you surround yourself with other healthy people
  50. If information was all we needed, everyone would be fit, healthy and at their ideal weight

Like non-scale victories, when you broaden your effort beyond calories-in/calories-out, your focus is on truly living. And in my experience, that’s the only way weight loss and healthy habits last.
Enjoy food. Love life. Be you again.


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