How to Lose Those Last Few Pounds Without Resorting to Dieting Tactics

by | Nov 7, 2016


Overall Libby is happy with her healthstyle. She stopped dieting, focused on Real Food, and cut out most of the processed foods (sugars and refined grains) from her daily habits. Her energy is up, her body is happy, and the chronic headaches she’s suffered from for years have abated.

While she feels great from these changes, Libby has only lost one pound over the last couple of months and in her perfect world she would lose another 5-10 pounds.

This brings up an interesting question: Is it okay to keep trying to lose weight even if you’re already pretty healthy? How can you accept yourself as you are and continue to strive for improvement?

Many people making the move from dieting for external reasons to embracing health to align with your own personal values come up against this issue. From a behavior perspective the actions you take to achieve health and those you use to restrictively diet can look very similar. The subtley is in how you frame your values, goals and actions in your own mind that makes the difference.

It’s a tight rope to walk and there is a lot of nuance in the process. I believe it is possible to accept yourself as you are and still strive to optimize for your goals and values. In this episode Libby and I discuss the importance of psychology in this process, as well as the practical strategies she can use to continue to work toward her goals.

Once you listen to the show I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Wish you had more time to listen to the podcast? I use an app called Overcast (no affiliation) to play back my favorite podcasts at faster speeds, dynamically shortening silences in talk shows so it doesn’t sound weird. It’s pretty rad.


Related links:

Free Starter kit and Myth of Willpower Chapter from Foodist

Fitstar exercise app

Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink



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12 Responses to “How to Lose Those Last Few Pounds Without Resorting to Dieting Tactics”

  1. Kate says:

    I really wish you would post summaries of these podcasts. I really used to enjoy reading your blog, and found a lot of the insights useful and applicable. Now, however, the audio episodes are the only ones you post, and they are LONG and unwieldy. While I can read an article at my desk in between other things, I can’t do that with a podcast.

    I’m at the point where I will probably be dropping this from my feed reader because I no longer get useful content. Please consider bringing back text entries!

    • Darya Rose says:

      I’m still publishing two text articles a week, are you not seeing them?

      • christine says:

        same issues – I see the podcast emails, I love the headlines, I go to this page and get no summary and I don’t go searching for the article

    • Sam says:

      I too would like either summaries or transcripts for people who can’t listen. I’m not going to drop the site from my feed since the Friday links and articles are still good, but I’m also very interested in the podcast topics and it’s incredibly disappointing not to have access to them.

  2. Emily says:

    Hi Darya,

    This podcast really spoke to me on a number of levels. First, I am in a very similar spot to Libby: I have lost most of the weight I want to lose but wouldn’t mind losing a tiny bit more. I feel happy in my body and am reconciling that with wanting to polish it, so to speak. I have *just* been thinking that mindful eating is the next thing to focus on (inspired by other things you’ve written), so it was good to hear that these small shifts can have a big impact.

    I am a mathematician so I see parallels in what you’ve said here with the work that I do both on my own research and with helping my students learn. It’s such a slow process but if you stick with it a step at a time, when you look back you really can see big growth. But before you can really do that, it can really help to come to a comfortable acceptance of the math skills that you have right now.

    This is actually a MUCH bigger theme in my life right now in general. I am also a meditator and have been considering lately the notion that I am comfortable with how I am (in general) right now but that it’s also okay to change my trajectory so that it leads to even more wholesome states, if that makes sense. As far as I can tell, it all comes down to a series of small little momentary steps that ultimately lead to big change.

    So anyway, I agree: it’s a subtle topic that’s sort of hard to discuss and express, but I think I really saw where you were going with it. And yay: the thought of just totally focusing on the food itself rather than my body’s response to the food sounds so fun, and like a tweak that will really help me just at this exact moment. So, thank you!

  3. Erin says:

    Darya, you kind of blew my mind with your interjection that measuring/weighing food and mindful eating are not mutually exclusive. It seems that everything I’ve read says if you’re counting anything, you’re dieting, so measuring anything makes me feel like I must be slipping back into diet mentality. Do you think that’s not necessarily true? Would love to hear you expand on that.

    • Darya Rose says:

      Measuring food can be useful for people who have never seriously looked at portion sizes or for one is sincerely confused about the appropriate amount to eat. It can be used either as a benchmark (fine) or as a mode of restriction (dieting). It comes down to how you frame it in your mind.

      In contrast, mindful eating is a practice of focusing on the experience of eating. It isn’t about portion control, though it often leads to eating less. They are not mutually exclusive because they are completely different tools that can be used independently of one another. It’s up to you to decide which tools are the most helpful.

  4. Hannah Disch says:

    I really enjoyed this episode as I’m in a very similar position to Libby. I’ve never been really overweight and was actually “skinny” and fairly active before I had kids, although my nutrition as a teenager and young adult wasn’t great. I gained quite a bit of weight with my pregnancies, only lost part of it, wasn’t consistently active, started actually gaining weight again and ten finally decided a few years ago to really make my health a priority. I’d already been eating pretty well (focusing on whole foods, belonged to a CSA, loved fruits and veggies) but I started working on my portion sizes, cut back more on junky processed foods and drinks, upped the amount of veggies I was eating and reduced my carb intake some. I started walking 45 minutes almost every day and started doing yoga, Pilates or strength training on a semi-regular basis. I was shocked when I went to the doctor for my annual check up and he told me that I’d lost more than 15 lbs in 2 years (a pretty big deal when you’re 5’3″ and weigh about 130 to start. I was pleased about the weight loss, how I was feeling and that my clothes were fitting better but I still felt like there was room for improvement. It’s been a struggle because I don’t want to focus so much on how I look because I feel like there’s more important things in life, but I still do really care. I’m thin, but I still have the baby belly bulge and would love to get rid of it, which will probably mean losing a few more pounds. Although liking how I look is one of my goals, I’m trying to focus more on living a lifestyle that’s healthy and sustainable, and on becoming stronger, more flexible and gaining more energy and stamina. I think I still need to reduce my “treat” intake (I still have dessert and/or chips almost every day, sometimes more than once and I also tend to overindulge on special occasions) and work on working out more intensely more consistently. So right now I’m working on eating more mindfully, replacing some “treats” with more nutritious options, trying to get in my 10,000 steps every day and doing some form of strength training (typically body weight exercises, dumbbell exercises or yoga) 3-5 days a week. I find that it can be difficult to discuss weight loss/appearance goals with people and find healthy support for reaching them when you’re already pretty thin but you still feel like you have work to do. People either tell you how skinny you are and it feels like they think you’re judging them for how they look when all you’re talking about are your feelings about yourself or else you’re talking to someone who is interested in physical perfection, tries to follow a diet plan to a T and works out obsessively. Anyway, thanks for the great discussion and helpful advice on a topic that, I agree, can be hard to discuss.

  5. Alexis says:

    I just wanted to point out one possible problem with having weight loss as a goal, especially if you already feel physically fit. Any changes you try to make in order to reach that goal, however innocuous seeming, are always going to come from a diet mentality. For some people this may be fine, but for certain personalities or those with histories of eating disorders this mindset will always be triggering and backfire. Darya, the anecdote about your own journey to lose the last few pounds involves you completely dropping the goal of intentional weight loss. I think all the advice given was valid and helpful, but I’m wondering if there isn’t a way to both drop the goal of weight loss as well as still strive for optimal health and happiness, and as a result lose the extra weight (or not). When you asked Libby if she felt better at her lowest weight, all I could think about was as someone who is recovered from anorexia, I always felt better at my lowest weight which in reality was unhealthy and unsustainable. I’m suspecting that a good deal of your followers are recovered or recovering from eating disorders. Although you do mention that weight loss for the sake of self esteem is a bad idea, an additional disclaimer about eating disorders may have been helpful too.

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