Is It Time For You To Rethink The Way You Are Trying To Lose Weight?

Is It Time For You To Rethink The Way You Are Trying To Lose Weight?


As we head to the busy end of the year, we inevitably start to think about the new year as well. And those New Year’s Resolutions.

Personally, for me, I look at all the emails and social media posts and blog posts that I wrote at the start of this year and kind of think that I could just use them all again.

Is It Time For You To Rethink The Way You Are Trying To Lose Weight?

Is It Time For You To Rethink The Way You Are Trying To Lose Weight?

Most people are repeating the same cycle they did last year… and the year before… and the year before that!


Let’s face it…


Everyone knows how to lose weight: eat better and exercise more. Ask anyone walking down the street to name ten things they could do to lose weight and few, if any, would struggle to come up with a list something along the lines of:


Eat less fat

Eat less sugar

Eat less salt

Drink less alcohol

Drink more water

Eat more vegetables and

Do some exercise.


Indeed, perhaps one of the reasons the health and fitness and weight loss industries spend so much money promoting their products is because they know that you already know how to lose weight on your own. As I heard one of Australia’s foremost experts in fitness sales remark at a conference recently, “Everybody can lose weight on their own – it costs no money.” True. That’s why so much of the weight loss industry’s advertising budget is spent trying to convince us that we can’t actually do it on our own, and that we need help – a lot of help – to lose weight. How many times have you heard that weight loss is difficult and confusing? That you can’t possibly do it on your own? Nevertheless, if you choose merely three habits from the above list and start doing them right now, you will lose weight. Keep doing them and you will keep it off. Despite knowing what to do, Australians spent over $800 million on weight loss products, potions, plans and procedures last year. Wow – you’d think we’d be getting smaller, right? Wrong! Not only are we one of the fattest nations in the world, we’re getting fatter much faster than anyone else in the world. Our rates of obesity are skyrocketing in direct proportion to our weight loss knowledge.


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The situation in America is not much better. While the USA has seen a recent plateau in its obesity levels (at last a weight loss plateau we can all be proud of!), 35% of Americans (or about 78 million people) are obese.


Far and away weight loss plans and programs are selling peace of mind more than anything else. Tell people that you can solve their problem and they will pay to have that problem taken away. We do it with our garbage, we do it with our sewerage so why not do it with our excess weight as well?


I often compare the theoretical versus the practical aspects of weight loss to my own, spectacularly unsuccessful, career as a pianist. For seven long years I was forced to do piano lessons as a child. I could say, “learned to play” the piano, but I think that might be overstating the situation somewhat. While I never actually failed a practical piano exam, there were several near misses (or “please ensure that you continue to work hard in order to maintain this grading” in teacher-talk). In terms of music theory exams, however, it was a far different situation: 90%, 95%, 97% and so on. The theory behind how to play was easy; but that didn’t necessarily mean that I could execute it with any measure of success. So too with weight loss. The problem lies not with the theory of weight loss, but in the practical application of it. There are many successful weight loss methods out there and many fantastic success stories to support them. But for every success story there are nearly one hundred failures. According to the Australian Dietician’s Association, 96% of people who lose weight will put it all back on again – and more – within two years.

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In terms of diets, most even semi-respectable ones work – if you can stick to them. It doesn’t matter if you opt for a diet that recommends no carbs, low carbs, low fat, no eating after 7 pm, only eating fruit until lunch time, not eating protein and carbs at the same time or eating according to your blood type (to name but a few) – they all work to begin with because they all force you to restrict what you eat in some form or another. You’ll eat fewer calories overall and thus lose weight.


Similarly, with exercise regimes, pretty much anything works…if you do it. But if you merely purchase a piece of exercise equipment in a late-night, guilt-fuelled surge of desperation, use the equipment once or twice and then store it under your bed for the next six months, unsurprisingly, the only thing you’ve actually lost is “three easy payments of $49.95” (although maybe you also got a free set of steak knives so at least that’s some bonus).


The three things that people find most amazing about my weight loss are:


  1. The amount of weight I’ve lost: over 50% of my original body weight (over 50 kg).
  2. The speed of loss: initially I lost 45 kg in 33 weeks and kept that weight off for about five years before going on to lose another 8.5 kg.
  3. The ease of maintaining the loss: I don’t find it difficult to keep the weight off. July 2016 marked the 14 year anniversary since I lost my weight.


Now, while I initially toyed with the idea of moving into the health and fitness/weight loss industries in 2003 (and was about three-quarters of the way through my personal training course when I met my husband, became somewhat distracted and ended up planning a wedding instead of a weight loss business!), when I did finally decide to change careers in 2010, much of my impetus was based on my frustration with the minefield of misinformation that society is fed regarding weight loss. The other major motivating factor was my desire to explain why I was so successful when so many others fail so dismally. Why did I lose weight so quickly and why can I keep it off with relative ease when others struggle so vehemently with this? I once read that a magic trick is never seen the same way once you know how it’s done. Once the “trick” is revealed, amusement over its simplicity replaces amazement over its assumed complexity. It’s not so different with weight loss. There are many times when my clients just “get it” straight away. The weight begins to fall off, they aren’t hungry, they don’t feel deprived and they can’t believe they ever found it so difficult for so long. Sometimes, however, it does take a little longer for it to all just click into place. But once “it” happens, “IT” happens.


So what is “it”? What is the one thing that separates those people who have transformed themselves from flab to fab, never to return to those wasted years of serial dieting? It’s how you think. For me, this is the one single thing that makes me live my life so differently now to the way that I lived it for the first twenty-nine years. Naturally slim, fit and healthy people think differently. While I may refer to them as “naturally slim, fit and healthy” people, few of them are actually lucky enough to be blessed with a freakishly high metabolism which enables them to eat pretty much whatever they like without gaining weight. For most “naturally slim, fit and healthy” people this isn’t actually the case; rather, they naturally integrate the behaviours necessary to maintain this body shape. Now, my personal theory is that there’s some kind of “healthy mindset” gene – a gene that gives you the ability to control your weight with very little effort. And if you’re not born with it, then you need to teach yourself those “healthy mindset” skills – which is part of what this book is all about. You can learn how to become one of “those people” who never have to worry about their weight again. I did it…and you can too. But as with the piano, you need to move beyond the theory and into the practice in order to really know how to play with panache.

At any one time our lives consist of but three things – thinking, feeling and doing. Over the years I’ve learned to think like a slim person. At first it required some degree of effort, but as the months and years have gone by it’s become second nature to me. It’s automatic. When you think like a slim person, you learn to act like one as well. You do the things they do – you naturally make healthier food choices, you naturally learn to integrate formal exercise and informal additional physical activity into your day or week and you naturally learn how to cope with everything that life throws at you. Life is full of hiccups. Everyone has time constraints, negative influences, emotional drains and physical impairments, and a myriad of other excuses. Successful weight loss is all about expecting the unexpected and being able to negotiate a healthy way through the trials and tribulations that life throws at you. Healthy living is a marathon, not a sprint. It isn’t all or nothing, on or off, stop and start – it’s just part of everyday life.


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So, as you think about losing weight… again… I’m asking you to rethink how you think about it.

I often say that a big body is the product of a small mind. People think they need to follow a diet or exercise program to lose weight. Yet every time that they try to do it that way it inevitably fails.

What if I told you your beliefs don’t make you a free thinker. The ability to change your beliefs based on new information does.

So are you ready to think? Are you ready to change your beliefs? Are you REALLY ready to lose weight?


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Sally Symonds

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