Time flies! I can’t believe it has been two years since test piloting Gentle Weight Loss.
This is a really exciting update. But honestly, I still feel shy talking about my wins. It’s easy for me to talk about my struggles — I mean, helloooo, my entire book is filled with stories of lessons learned from the struggle — because struggles are relatable.
But success? For those of us struggling with compulsive eating, success can be unrelatable at best and triggering at worst. I will speak for myself. Back in my darkest days of depression and dieting (with each one fueling the other) it used to be really hard for me to see people succeed with stopping overeating.
So, I share the following updates for the sake of documenting my journey and celebrating my wins even though I feel awkward doing it.
2 Years Post-GWL
Have you noticed lately that I’ve been going bananas updating my blog posts to include tons of clinical evidence? Fun fact: I spent 8 years of my career as a medical writer, working alongside clinicians to make sure content is well-researched and triple-fact-checked. I’ve had a lot of fun adding dozens and dozens of clinical studies to my blog posts. Now, why am I mentioning this here?
There’s a lot of clinical evidence showing that dieting does not work in the long-term. Sure, restrictive dieting can make you lose weight, but over the long-term it leads to weight gain, not weight loss. Some studies even show that a third of dieters gain back even more weight than they initially lost.
I’m almost done with the nerd rant, but one more interesting note: One study found that dieters who were prone to food-rule-breaking regained about 99% of their weight back within two years while people who were strict dieters regained about 50% of their weight within 2 years. Strange! I would have assumed it would be the other way around, because the more strict we are with the food rules, the more likely we are to rebel.
Now, why am I mentioning all this in a personal update? Because Gentle Weight Loss, in my opinion, is the exception to these patterns. Why? Because these studies look at “energy-restricted weight loss” or “restricting food intake.” So, weight loss by creating a calorie deficit. Aka, eating less.
Neither of these are required with Gentle Weight Loss.
Still, I am not saying that GWL is bulletproof! That’s why I spent the last two years experimenting on myself and a small handful of willing coaching clients. (Shout out to you!!)
Still still, even if GWL is considered a diet (I address this directly in my upcoming course) there are clear markers to watch for. Specifically, have I regained 50% or 99% of my weight lost in the last 2 years?
Does this mean the experiment is done? Nope! I’d like to watch what happens over a 5 year period, because that seems to be the gold standard of long-term success in the clinical world. So far, I’m optimistic.
Now, I am not trying to say that my weight is perfect and stable. Heck no! Everyone’s body weight is meant to fluctuate. And these days I can keep a really cool head when it happens, which is something I am celebrating.
In the past two years, there have been some weeks where my size 6 pants were uncomfortably snug. They buttoned, but it was not a happy button. 🙂 But my body always found its way back to balance. Which to me is really cool because I think I found a new set point weight.
Your set point weight is the size your body naturally gravitates to when you’re eating normally. You can have multiple set points! And since my body gravitated back to my “lower” weight whenever I felt off-balance, I think it’s fair to say it’s a new set point weight.
These days, if my pants fit tighter, I relax and trust that my body will find balance as long as I just keep eating normally. And eating normally just means following the Psycho-Spiritual Wellness eating guidelines: eat what appeals to you when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full, and do the Stop, Drop, & Feel when you want to eat without hunger.
Mental and Physical Health
My mental health is actually something that makes me feel even more confident in Gentle Weight Loss. Dropping a pant size and keep it there for over two years aside, my relationship with myself and my body has improved. This is not typical while dieting.
Dieting is strongly associated with depression, reduced self-esteem, and feelings of obsession over food., ,  To me, this is where Gentle Weight Loss really stands strong. If dieting makes you feel crazy, and GWL has not made me feel crazy, does it mean GWL is the exception to the rule?
I will let you decide this for yourself when it launches in a couple months!
My opinion is yes. Gentle Weight Loss is the exception because I never felt crazy around food; my weight remains stable with normal fluctuations; and I feel peaceful around food. I am unaware of any other diet that can make these claims. And I think the fact that GWL is not restrictive is what matters.
Restriction is what makes us feel crazy around food. When we put foods off-limits, we want them more. When we deny our physical hunger, we are more inclined to binge. These aren’t just my opinions, they’re patterns back by clinical evidence!
Celebrating My Wins
Recently, I had to go through a week-long round of antibiotics. I don’t like antibiotics. I am allergic to many varieties, and even if I’m not allergic to a specific type, my body does not like it.
Still, I had to do what I had to do. So I spent a week popping antibiotics twice a day, and my body became super puffy. I could see it in photos; I was dramatically rounder on the 7th day than I was on the 1st. The old me would have panicked and felt tempted to eat low-carb for a while until the bloat went away.
(This is literally my old pattern, which I also documented: The time I felt tempted to diet again after giving up dieting.)
But now, I know better. I trust that if I just eat normally, my body will find balance.
On the seventh day, I even told my fiancé, “I feel fat, and I’m not upset about it. I know that it’ll come off. It took a week to get here, and I’m sure it will take a week to find balance as long as I don’t do anything dramatic.” He stopped what he was doing and just blinked at me before a smile crept across his face.
“Wow, your level-headedness is really amazing.” In that moment, I realized that I needed to celebrate my win. In that moment, I realized that I did not have an inclination to bolt.
Do you know that chapter from Geneen Roth’s Women, Food, and God? One of my favorite books ever! “Never underestimate the inclination to bolt.” I think five years of Stop-Drop-and-Feeling has a lot to do with it. And the fact that I don’t restrict my diet anymore.
(Credit where credit is due: Geneen got that phrase from Pema Chodron, one of my other favorite authors!)
Gentle Weight Loss Launches Soon
In summary, here are some of the reasons why I think Gentle Weight Loss works:
- It doesn’t require you to eat less!!! This keeps the restrict-binge cycle from firing off
- I’ve sustained my new set point weight for two years and counting
- It builds upon healthy eating behaviors like allowing all foods, viewing all foods neutrally, eating enough food(!!!), and doing the Stop, Drop, & Feel like it’s your damn job
Seriously — fluency with the Stop, Drop, & Feel is going to be a prerequisite for Gentle Weight Loss. It will NOT work without addressing the rest of the Psycho-Spiritual Wellness framework, and the SDF is the bread and butter!! (Is that a pun? Did I just make a really bad pun?)
Anyways, Gentle Weight Loss is launching in a couple months. I’m working on it as we speak. Stay tuned! (Read the 1 year update here.)