Why You Should Quit Trying to Lose Weight

What’s that?! What kind of “… Food, Exercise and Living Longer” blog tells you to stop TRYING to lose weight? That’s the whole object isn’t it? Well, not exactly.  Stick around, you might find out something worth your time.


I tried to lose weight for most of my life, my weight went up and it went down, but more up than down and I was overweight and out of shape more often than not. Some years ago I started writing this blog. At that time I had my weight down to 165 pounds. That was the lowest in about 15 years and down from a peak over 220 pounds. I felt happy about my success. But starting to write about eating healthy and controlling my weight changed something for me. I realized I was no longer struggling in private. I felt responsible to the blog’s readers and also to myself for eating intelligently and maintaining my good health and weight.

I started reading about aspects of weight control like serving size and portion control. I learned that a serving of pasta amounted to 220 calories, BUT, a single serving amounted to about the size of a fist or a baseball. This astonished my Italian eyes. To me a serving of pasta was a ten inch plate mounded over with pasta. So, if I planned to set an example for my blog followers, I needed to confine myself to true serving sizes.

This concept carried over into snacking, too. I would check the calories on a snack and see a reasonable 180 calories, but with my new awareness I would also read how many servings were in the package. If there were three servings included, that meant my eating the whole package, would amount to an outsized 540 calories, not the reasonable 180.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was no longer trying to lose weight. I was simply eating and choosing my diet in an intelligent fashion. I had begun doing it.

A really amazing thing happened then. The pounds started melting off me. I was living my life normally, the only new element was this blog thing and learning something new every day and putting it into a post for the readers. Inside of six months I had lost 10 pounds. Remember, when I started writing, I was at my lowest level in 15 years. I really had thought I was a success. Now, half a  year later, I had dropped 10 pounds.

What happened? My focus had changed. I had quit TRYING to lose weight and in the process doing nothing substantial toward my goal. Instead, I just started DOING what was necessary to achieve a healthy weight and I was there.

Those of you familiar with Star Wars will remember the wonderful quote from Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back.  Luke Skywalker’s ship was stuck in the swamp and he couldn’t get it out. Yoda told Luke to raise the ship and Luke yelled, “I’m trying!!” To which Yoda answered, “Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.” After Yoda raised the ship using ‘the force’ Luke said, “I don’t believe it,” to which Yoda answered, “That’s why you fail.”

When you try to accomplish something you are aiming at a result, that is key in your consciousness, not performing the process. With that kind of skewed focus you dramatically reduce your chances of succeeding because you will be comparing your situation with the ‘hoped for’ end instead of accomplishing it. Just get down to doing it and the results will take care of themselves.

If you want to use some of the Weight Control tools I have discovered in the four years of writing check out my Page – How to Lose Weight – and Keep it Off.

Not incidentally, I believe this trying vs. doing concept applies to any endeavor. Get your focus straight, forget about end results and success will come bowling you over.

I wrote a variation on this about a year and a half ago – Yoda on Losing Weight.


Filed under calories, Exercise, Weight, weight control, weight loss, Yoda

8 responses to “Why You Should Quit Trying to Lose Weight

  1. Belief is everything. I never believed I could, and I still doubt. I must stop that.


  2. Charlotte

    Great article!


  3. I love this. It makes perfect sense to me. Apart from my doodling and my scribbling I also teach Alexander Technique. One of the key principles in the Alexander Technique is that if we reach directly for an end, a desired result, then we will probably fail. And even if we do succeed, there will be a price to pay. The alternative, more natural way, is to focus 100% on the means. The end will take care of itself 🙂


  4. Pingback: Portions, My Friend | I Run in the Rain

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