Kari Dahlgren

Coach | Author | Advocate

feel normal around food again

Documenting Gentle Weight Loss

As you may or may not know, I test piloted a program called Gentle Weight Loss in winter of 2022. I experimented on myself and continued to watch and observe my experience. While I once kept these posts on my blog, I wanted to put them all together in one place.

[Personal Post] A 1 Year Update on “Gentle Weight Loss”

Gentle Weight Loss is something that I introduced in the winter of 2021 as a way to slowly accelerate the path to your natural weight. I built it upon the existing Psycho-Spiritual Wellness framework — aka, the Stop, Drop, & Feel takes center stage, and there is no calorie counting or deprivation. 

Naturally, I was suuuper reluctant to teach anything weight loss-related because, well, the intuitive eating sphere is constantly shrieking about the need to let go of the desire to lose weight.

And this is why I intentionally separate myself from intuitive eating — and why I’ve really stuck with my weird-sounding but perfectly-fitting name, Psycho-Spiritual Wellness.

Because I think it’s perfectly fine to want to lose weight! I even made a YouTube video where I rant about why it’s perfectly OK to desire weight loss, and why it’s much worse to get mad at yourself for wanting it than to gently heed its message.

(In my YouTube video, I talk about how many of us have a low-level desire for weight loss, but when that desire spikes and we get hell-bent on losing weight, it’s a sign that something else is going on.)

(But already, I am digressing.)

Gentle Weight Loss was something that I was very reluctant to teach, but I also felt very called to share it with my community. I was living the experience and it was exciting!

As someone that wholeheartedly advocates giving up dieting (and still do!! this has not changed an is still a requirement for a healthy relationship with food and for reaching your natural weight!!!) I was worried that people would think I was a fraud.

So when I introduced GWL last year, I was very upfront and honest that it was 1) experimental and 2) it did involve some dietary advice. That dietary advice was something that I learned through my Chinese herbalist, who I had already been working with for 3 years before something finally “clicked” in regards to weight loss.

It was gentle, it made sense, and it didn’t require any deprivation or threaten my mental health. No diet can make this claim!!!

How GWL Loss Got Started

When I first learned these things (these very “Eastern medicine” type things), I began experimenting on myself in October of 2021. I had a gut feeling that this was going to be life-changing, and I was incredibly surprised that within 3 weeks, I had dropped some weight; and within six weeks, I had dropped an entire pant size.

I will never forget that day. I went into American Eagle (my favorite place to buy jeans) and tried on my normal size, which is a size 8. It was loose, so I went and grabbed a size 6 out of sheer willy-nilly/why-not vibes. While walking back to the fitting room to try it on, I remember thinking to myself, “There’s no way this will fit, or maybe it will but it’ll be very unflattering and tight.”

As I started to try them on… I knew something was different. They already felt good as I began pulling them on, and I was over-the-moon when I was able to button them with ease. They didn’t fit in a squeeze-me/give-me-love-handles kind of way. But they just… fit. I will never forget that day.

I Never Thought I’d Be Here

After spending my entire life struggling with my weight and yo-yo dieting like crazy… (something SO many of my clients and readers relate to)… after so many years of feeling like I lacked willpower and like I was NEVER going to be free of the struggle….

To later overcoming compulsive eating through the Stop, Drop, & Feel and other principles of Psycho-Spiritual Wellness (which I completely outline in Food Normal)…. and to GENUINELY get to a place where I rarely overeat anymore…

After all of that, I got back my LIFE.

My days stopped revolving around food. My thoughts wandered onto things that didn’t involve when and where my next meal would be. It was an enormous breakthrough in my life. And this is why I am so so passionate about the books, workbooks, and online courses that I provide, as well as the coaching that I offer!

I regained my mental health. I stopped loathing myself. And I felt free.

I was still a size 8 through all of it. I had been a size 8 or 10 for many, many years.

I Was Able to Do Something That Once Felt Impossible

To finally get to a place where I could intentionally lose weight and keep it off… to get to a place where I dropped an entire pant size, something that I had NEVER done in my entire adult life…. and to have it stick… all while maintaining my mental health and still feeling very normal around food…. it was incredible.

All of that happened within six weeks, and I kept my mouth shut because I wanted to see if it would indeed stick. So a month went by, and those jeans still fit. And another month went by, and I was still a size 6.

To some, this might not be impressive because some people can lose weight, drop a pant size, and see it stick — it’s the whole gaining it back that gets us. But I personally was never good at losing weight. I always operated on a very short timeline back when I was still yo-yo dieting. I would restrict Monday through Thursday and binge on Friday. I never really did lose much weight when I dieted, and when I binged I (thankfully) never gained crazy amounts of weight either.

All that to say: I’ve never been able to lose weight and keep it off for more than a week my entire life.

So, once I dropped an entire freaking pant size using the principles of GWL and I kept it off for two months, that’s when I decided to speak up and share it with all of you.

The Day I Went “Public” with GWL

In the winter of 2021, I held a live workshop where I introduced the principles of GWL and answered any questions that anyone had. (I actually released the principles a week before the workshop so that people could practice them and come with even better questions.)

The feedback I got was positive, but people did say that they couldn’t immediately practice it because they were still in the stages of giving up dieting and it didn’t feel right. And OMG was I so so proud of them for listening to their bodies on that one!!! (That was a point that I hammered in the GWL guidelines: if at any point you feel triggered to restrict or binge, stop and go back to the basics: aka, the Stop, Drop, & Feel and the PSW eating guidelines.)

It was after that feedback that I realized that I was only successful with GWL because I had already spent a long time going through the stages of giving up dieting, and I was VERY well-practiced with the Stop, Drop, & Feel. (I mean, hello, I created an entire masterclass on the Stop, Drop, & Feel based on years of personal experience and answering questions from all you lovelies.)

Deciding the Best Way to Teach GWL

Over the next year, I sat on this idea, unsure of what to do with it. I knew that it worked because I had witnessed it first-hand (and witnessed it as a person that used to compulsively eat, too!!), but I wasn’t sure how to teach it because it does require intensive work with the other tools of Psycho-Spiritual Wellness.

Then, during 2022, I spent six full months creating Food Normal, my comprehensive online course on the path to stopping compulsive eating the psycho-spiritual way. It was my dream to make this course (I had been procrastinating on it for way too long) and I knew in my heart that I needed to make it.

Perhaps my intuition was telling me that I needed to create a comprehensive one-stop-shop that contains all the information I have learned, so that other people can build their own foundation, just like I did. Whether someone is interested in GWL or not, I am very proud of the content inside Food Normal and think it will help anyone build a healthy relationship with food and body.

One Year Later

I’m happy to say that a little over a year has passed since I first started experimenting with GWL, and I still fit into those size 6 jeans.

During 2022, I’ve also been living my life to the fullest. Recently, I went on a week-long trip to Italy and was thrilled to watch my behavior around food there. I was able to listen to my body, eat when I was hungry, stop when I was full, and overeating was a non-issue. I mention this because I was in the land of the most heavenly food on earth!

Sure, there were a couple meals where I ate past fullness because Italian cuisine is BOMB. But there were also times where I ran waaay too long without eating because of siesta (i.e. restaurants were closed when your girl was hungry) and I wasn’t planning my days very well around that. This, to me, is actually progress!

Old Kari would have been doing allll the research to make sure I knew when and where I was eating so that I could avoid hunger like the plague. It was so nice to feel relaxed and balanced around food. Although I’ve been at this for the last 6 years, it never gets old. It really doesn’t.

Also while I was in Italy, I never once thought about how much I weighed. Although I had been keeping an eye on all things GWL (to make sure it actually does work) my size was completely off my mind. I still had all the benefits of giving up dieting, and I was still able to keep my size stable without thinking about it, all while on vacation (a time that many of us have heightened behaviors around food).

(Actually, some people naturally overeat less on vacation, while some of us struggle with it more. I used to fall into the ‘struggle with it more‘ camp, thankyouverymuch.)


Never never never did I think I could ever do this, and I am so excited to somehow teach GWL (carefully!) to you guys soon. I am pretty sure that I will be offering it again in 2023, likely to students of Food Normal and/or to coaching clients.

My Rambling Is Almost Over!

Pretty much, I wrote this post because I wanted to share my excitement and explain what I’ve been up to, especially for anyone that heard me talk about GWL last year and hasn’t heard me talk about it since.

[Personal Post] Total Transparency: Here’s What Happened at Month 15 of “Gentle Weight Loss”

As a coach that helps other women stop compulsive eating, there are two things I wish to share today: 1) the imposter syndrome is very real if I ever slip back into binge eating and 2) it’s extremely important for me to share those moments with you when they happen.

Authenticity means everything to me. Among other amazing things, it helps me avoid or overcome imposter syndrome, because it’s hard to feel like an imposter when you have no doubt in your mind that you’re being true to yourself.

So, here goes a very important update.

My “Gradual Binge Bender of 2018”

I first gave up dieting on August 8th, 2016. That date will go down in history for me. It was the year that I was so fed up with gaining and losing the same 15 pounds that I decided to see what happened if I stopped dieting altogether — while paying excruciating attention to my emotions.

I got into a groove with everything during the first year and the second. But I distinctly remember struggling with a long-term (2 week) period of slight binge eating. I say “slight” because I wasn’t going all-out, but I was definitely eating more than my body wanted, and I was doing it for many consecutive days.

The thing that got me through it was practicing what I preach: the Stop, Drop, & Feel. And boy, was it hard to use that tool in the thick of both imposter syndrome and a difficult period in life. But that’s the point. The moment that we most do not want to do the Stop, Drop, & Feel is the moment when we need it the most.

Now, let’s fast forward 5 years.

The “Gradual Binge Bender” of 2023 That Had an Undercurrent of Self-Acceptance

First, a super important tangent: Do you ever avoid talking about a potential job because you don’t want to “jynx” it? Like, if you talk about it before it happens, it won’t happen at all?

I’m like that. I believe in the jynx, and I try to avoid it.

And ohhhh boy, did I jynx myself by posting about my success 1 year later with AYNW. Even though I waited of over a year to share and “brag” about my success, I still jynxed myself. (I think.)

Here’s what happened:

I was experimenting with a new Psycho-Spiritual Wellness-friendly weight loss approach in the winter of 2021. It was so effective that I lost an entire pant size for the first time in my entire life. A few months later, taught a live workshop for it.

The reason why I haven’t taught it since (although I eventually plan to) is because it really requires an exceptional foundation with the Stop, Drop, & Feel and other pillars of Psycho-Spiritual Wellness. (You can find the entire process outlined in my mother of all online courses: Food Normal.)

Anyways, I lost an entire pant size for the first time in my entire life. It was really cool, but I also didn’t want to jynx myself — for many reasons, too. First, I didn’t want to set you guys up for failure if it didn’t actually work long-term, and second, because I really, really didn’t want to jynx myself.

So I waited for over a year to brag about it.

Then, that bit me in the a$$ 🙂

A 15 Month Update on ‘Gentle Weight Loss’

Ok, now that you have the backstory, here’s what actually happened:

In February of 2023, I quit a job that I held for 8 years. It was my first job out of college, and I loved it. (Why else would I stay for so long?) But near the end, things became toxic, so I quit.

But can you imagine how hard that was? Can you imagine how much it pushes up against people pleasing tendencies to tell your employer, “You let me down, and so I quit.” It was so freaking hard.

And at the same time, I also wanted something when I left. I wrote a book on company time called Healing & Happiness After Stroke. And because I wrote it on company time, my old company owned it.

But I wanted it!

So I spent two weeks negotiating a deal where I would exchange time doing contracting work for 3 months in exchange for ownership of that book (that I freaking wrote).

Because my book means so much to me, this was incredibly stressful. Like, really, really stressful. Negotiation involves confrontation, and all of that (the stress, negotiation, and unwanted confrontation) created the worst concoction of emotions.

Enter: fooooood.

Ohhhh yes, food food food. I would say it was another “gradual binge bender” where I never binged a ton of food, but I definitely ate more than my body wanted, and I did it for many consecutive days in a row — about 2 weeks, the same amount of time as 2018, actually.

So those size 6 pants that I have been wearing for all of 2022 after dropping down from a size 8 due to AYNW… yeah, those pants still “fit,” but they were tight. Too tight. Like, I don’t want to wear them because they are uncomfortable, kind of tight.

And again, this is where I had to practice what I preach. But also! This time something really cool happened: I never panicked. In 2018, I definitely panicked. I wrote about this part too.

But this time, no panic. 😀

Panic-Free Troubleshooting for Binge Eating?!

Yes, it sucked for my size 6 pants to grow tight. No doubt about it. But I was really, really pleased that I never panicked. And I definitely never thought about abandoning my practice and jumping into a diet.

There was this amazing undercurrent of peace and contentment (sitting underneath the “uggghhh” feeling of being bloated and puffy) where I knew deep within my heart that things would work out.

I got to practice first-hand something that I believe in, which is that if it took you two days to get bloated, it will probably take about two days for your body to bounce back. And if you took two weeks to get bloated, it will probably take another two weeks to bounce back.

The reason why dieting is so seductive is because it promises to shortcut the bounce back time. Instead of waiting for two weeks, a diet would promise to get me back to “normal” tomorrow. (Right.)

And I was SO curious to see if it would take two weeks to bounce back.

And sure enough: I am writing this post at the two week mark almost to the T, and those size 6 pants fit almost like normal again. They’re still a bit tighter than before, but they’re comfortable enough to wear, and that’s freaking amazing.

Dieting didn’t get me back there. Listening to my body did.

What I Did to “Bounce Back” Slowly but Surely

The slow but steady path is not a sexy path. (And this is why I have an entire lesson in Food Normal on all-or-nothing eating.) It took years of practice to get to a place where I could do it without panicking.

And when I say “it” I am referring to eating exactly what appeals to me when I’m hungry, stopping when I’m full, and dealing with the mountain of emotion rumbling around underneath then I want to eat when I’m not hungry (aka, the Psycho-Spiritual Wellness eating guidelines).

During those 2 weeks of “recovery,” I didn’t eat out very much. Not because I labeled that as “unhealthy” or bad, but because it really didn’t sound good. I was bloated, and my appetite was also small (because our bodies are self-regulating!!!) so it felt the best to eat home-cooked meals.

(Mind you – this recovery phase happened after I quit the toxic job and started a new one. The decrease in stress is key here!)

So really, I was focused on relaxing and eating what appealed to me. And I was really obsessed with steamed (not raw!) kale during this time. I really am forever amazed at how our bodies self-regulate!

When I was stressed during those last 2 weeks at my old job, I was craving vegan donuts (which are soooo good by the way). And when I was done with the stress, I was honest-to-God craving steamed kale.

Going through this period taught me a lot, and I’d like to summarize a few of the juicy nuggets for you:

Our bodies are incredibly adaptive.

When we’re stressed, we will crave high-calorie foods on a physiological level. And we will crave high quantities of food on an emotional level. This is where the Stop, Drop, & Feel really comes into play. Because we need to honor our craving for those delicious high-calorie foods (aka, Permission to Eat) so that we don’t trigger the restrict-binge cycle.

Stress is the absolute worst.

I know this. And it’s why I quit my old job. I even took a pay cut to do so. Because my mental and physical health are worth the difference. This is something that I often see with my coaching clients: they’re working too hard to make really good money, when they would be better off working less and making less money, because it means less stress!

And I know this is a privileged thing to say. It is incredibly privileged that I am able to make less money and still make ends meet. Not everyone is in the same boat.

I also know that many people are in the same boat, and it could be life-changing to sit down and truly look at the opportunity cost between making mo’ money and feeling relaxed and good in your skin.

What I Learned & Hope It Helps You Too

In conclusion, I lost a pant size through my not-yet-taught-but-eventually-will-be-taught program Gentle Weight Loss. I kept that weight off for over a year, then I wrote about it. No doubt because of that (maybe) I jynxed myself, and it bit me in the a$$; because shortly after, I overate steadily for almost 2 weeks straight.

Unlike the last time I overate for 2 weeks straight, this time I was not tempted to diet again, and I had this sense of deep knowingness that it would all work out.

I practiced what I preach — aka, I stop-drop-and-feel’ed like it was nobody’s business and I ate exactly what appealed to me — and in the exact same amount of time that it took to put the “weight” on, I released it. Two weeks to put it on, two weeks to take most of it off.

And having peace of mind though all of that… well that, to me, is success.

[Personal Post] An Update on Month 18 of “Gentle Weight Loss:” Documenting This Amazing, Self-Experimental Journey

Whenever I slip back into binge eating, I like to write about it. Not only does it help me overcome any lingering feelings of imposter syndrome or shame (because shame cannot stand being spoken — a lesson from the wonderful Brene Brown) but it also helps me be super transparent and illustrate situations where my tools become inaccessible or difficult to use.

This, however, is not the case today. Instead of sharing how I messed up (if you want some of that relatable flavor, see this and this), I’d like to share how I’m thriving 18 months into my journey with Gentle Weight Loss. I plan to teach this method this winter because 1) I will have lived through two years of testing it on myself by then and 2) in the winter, weight loss is the last thing on our minds, so it feels appropriate because those that join me will hopefully be doing it for all the right reasons (i.e. no “beach body” “get skinny” schemes).

Anyways, here’s a recap of the last few months since my 15 month update.

This Avenue Works

There’s no humble way to say it. I feel really good about what Gentle Weight Loss is. And I think what makes it possible is my intensive experience with the Stop, Drop, & Feel and studying/analyzing the psycho-spiritual reasons for overeating. I mean, I’ve written about the psychology of weight loss just as much as the spiritual root of weight gain.

The intersection of psychology and spirituality is where it’s at. (Thus, Psycho-Spiritual Wellness.)

At month 18, I am wearing my smallest jeans and I feel mentally and physically thriving. But ohhhhhh it was not a linear process. And today, for the sake of personally documenting my journey if not for you, oh curious reader, but for myself, I’m outlining exactly what has happened.

During Year 1

During the first year, my weight was pretty stable and I was a size 6 through most of the year. I remember going to Italy and feeling really good about not only how I fit in my clothes, but how I could put GWL aside and still eat normally (i.e. eat when I was hungry and stop when I was full) and still immensely enjoy my food. (ITALIAN FOOD!!!!) This, to me, was the ultimate proof that GWL was not some backwards kind of diet.

I am someone that has tried every single diet in the book and always binged as a result and gained back any weight I ever lost — usually within weeks, if not a month maximum. I have never ever been someone that could lose weight on a diet, keep it off for some time, but then eventually gain it back. My ‘rebound window’ was always extremely short.

In a way, this was helpful during my experiments with GWL. When I dropped a pant size after the first few weeks — something that I had never ever done before; I had never even pulled a size 6 off the shelves before — I kept my mouth shut. I didn’t talk about it with anyone, because I honestly wasn’t sure if it would stick. And after about 6 months remaining at the same size, I felt confident that I was onto something big.

During Month 15

As I wrote about in my 15 month update, I had a “setback” (ughhhh how that wreaks of diet culture — something I try to avoid but alas, I am human, and sometimes my brain just goes there) where I struggled with a bout of overeating while I was uprooting myself from a job that I had for 8 years.

It was a tough time, and very stressful. And yes, I turned to food to cope with my stress. The intensity of my emotion was too much, and my emotional tolerance was spent. Although I was using my tools (like the SDF) I was also overeating and being really kind to myself in the process. That last part is huge for me.

After I quit that job, I found another one, because I wasn’t confident enough in myself to take Psycho-Spiritual Wellness on full-time yet. Low and behold: that job sucked even more. I couldn’t stand it, and after 2.5 months, I quit.

So, I quit not one, but TWO full-time jobs in Q1 of 2023. It was A LOT.

During my time at that second job, my weight did not move. I still had some extra protection hanging around, and I was aware of it. I was pleasantly surprised, actually, that I wasn’t berating myself or feeling bad about it. My weight increased a bit because I was super stressed when leaving my last job, totally understandable, and my weight hadn’t gone back down because the next job was even worse. This was also incredibly understandable to me, so I was able to cut myself loads of slack.

Wow… this level of self-compassion was once SO FOREGIN to me. And it means SO MUCH to me to be able to extend compassion and kindness to myself when I am struggling these days. It is a hard-won skill.

Fast forward to mid-May, where I quit the even-worse job and took the plunge into working for myself full-time. Hallelujah! It has been so amazing!!! (Side note, because this blog post is personal right? I always thought that I would feel insecure or paralyzed, even, by the insecurity of not having a steady paycheck, and I am really surprised that I have not only not felt insecure (for the most part, I’ve had my moments) but I’ve also felt like I’m thriving. Even though I took an enormous step down in pay, it is beyond worth it to chase my dreams.

Month 18: A New Set Point Feels Official

I never used the principles of GWL to “get back to my normal weight” once I quit my job. I was just focused on getting fully into the groove of things and also giving myself a BREAK from the emotional drainage that it took to quit two jobs in one year before it was even June.

During that time, as the stress slowly left my body, it seemed that my body shape was changing too. Of course, like anyone that has a history of struggling with weight loss, I was hopeful that my weight was going to shift, but I wasn’t holding my breath.

Now, I’m happy to report that my smallest jeans fit like butter again. It makes me happy. And while part of me is afraid that someone will judge me for being “shallow” for caring about clothes, I don’t care! I know in my heart that what I am doing is far removed from diet culture because diet culture only makes you feel like poo, especially when you “fall off the wagon” — but here I am, having been through highs and lows, and being really nice to myself through all of it. That is a testament to how freaking well this ish works.

What I find particularly interesting is that I didn’t use any measures other than the Psycho-Spiritual Wellness eating guidelines for my weight to wiggle back down this time around. It wasn’t another few weeks of GWL that got me back to where I was in 2022. It was just normal eating that got me there.

This leads me to believe that my body has perhaps established a new set point. If this is where my body naturally went, all on its own, when I listened to my hunger and fullness cues, this is my new normal.

Holy guacamole.

Relax, And Let Your Weight Regulate Itself

I want you, my dear reader, to know that GWL is optional. I firmly believe that the Psycho-Spiritual Wellness eating guidelines can get you to your natural weight all on their own. GWL will simply provide a way to gently and subtly speed up the process.

It is not a quick fix. It is almost frustratingly the opposite of a quick fix (just as the eating guidelines are) and GWL is only possible when you have a firm foundation of emotional tolerance and Stop-Drop-&-Feeling under your belt.

This is why I’ve created enormous resources for you to draw upon, like the Stop, Drop, & Feel Masterclass and my beefy online course, Food Normal, which contains everything you need to master the psycho-spiritual approach to stopping compulsive eating. I would LOVE to offer GWL to graduates of either course early, and that is probably what I will do. I hope to see you inside.

Thanks for reading this rambly and personal post. It wasn’t supposed to be brilliant nor amazing. It was just my own attempt at documenting this incredible journey, being as open as I possibly can, and creating my own trail of crumbs. This way, I know exactly what I went through when I am hopefully teaching anyone that is interested in learning how to walk this brave path too — with lots and lots of loyalty to the bread & butter: the Stop, Drop, & Feel®️.

[Personal Post] A 2 Year Update on Gentle Weight Loss

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.[1] Some studies even show that a third of dieters gain back even more weight than they initially lost.[2]

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. [3] 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.

Fluctuating Fluctuations

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! [4] 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. [5], [6], [7] 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.[8] When we deny our physical hunger, we are more inclined to binge.[9] 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 fatand 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?)