If Dieting Doesn’t Work, What Does?

Last week I referenced a very well written article on why dieting doesn’t work. I believe the author did a great job at explaining what doesn’t work and even referenced mindful eating as a helpful strategy to implement instead. However, this isn’t the whole story of weight loss.

The only way to truly encompass a weight loss strategy that signifies the end of the war with weight, is to adopt a Total Body Health approach.


What is this you ask? It is an approach that considers the whole person. Therefore, it emphasizes not just physical health as most weight loss strategies do. It emphasizes the balance of Mental, Emotional, Spiritual and Physical health for a complete picture of who we are as eaters, movers and human beings in this complex and ever changing world.

Physical health is the focus of most weight loss methods out there as is proven throughout my preparation for my research proposal. I was on the hunt for past studies that show the thoughts, beliefs and emotions of those that struggle with weight, and those who do not. I wanted to find studies that described how dieters think and how non-dieters think. However, the only studies that even discuss the cognitive side of weight were done over 20 years ago. And they were in very limited supply. In other words, people aren’t even studying the mental, emotional and spiritual components of weight! It does explain why so many of us are relying on the ineffective and downright frustrating method of dieting.

While my research is in its infancy stage it will not focus on physical health. There is plenty of research out there that supports my hypotheses that dieting is ineffective and dangerous for weight. It will focus on the mental, emotional and spiritual components and here is why this is important for you to pay attention to:

In the umbrella of mental health I am most interested in the way we think. Our thoughts are directly responsible for our reality. Therefore, how can we overlook this crucial piece of data? How does someone who has never had a weight problem think? Do you know? Can you even imagine what it would be like to think, “I can’t gain weight”? And not just to think it, but to believe it as much as you believe the sun will come up tomorrow. The thoughts we think dictate our behaviors. So if you don’t like your habits and patterns, it’s time to look at your thoughts and beliefs first.


Learn How to Master Total Body Health in the Love Your Body, Love Your Life program!

Emotional health is a fairly obvious focus. Your emotions can be described as the fuel for your thoughts and beliefs. If you believe, “I can’t gain weight” and you feel fantastic about that belief, your behaviors will shift dramatically. Your emotions tell you the story about what is going on in your life. How do you feel about food? If you feel shameful, frustrated and angry, what sort of behaviors do you believe you will have around food? If you feel defeated by exercise, what sort of results do you expect to receive from them? Therefore, we have to stop “doing” all the physical things we want or need to be doing and take a look at our thoughts, beliefs and emotions first.

Lastly, we come to spiritual health. This is about trust and faith. I am not referring to religion, I am referring to the ability to trust in yourself and have faith that living your most joyful and purposeful life will contribute to the body you desire so deeply. This will be the most challenging hypotheses to support in my research but I will figure out a way.

Total Body Health is the way to love your body, and love your life. Therefore, once you ditch dieting.. it’s time to turn to an approach that works. Mastering the Total Body Health approach is part of the curriculum  in the Love Your Body, Love Your Life program starting in January.


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About The Author

Michelle Hastie

Michelle Hastie Thompson is a recovered binge eater who turned her binge eating around and even got featured in Shape Magazine helping a woman lose weight in “My Weight Loss Diaries". She helps women end the battle of binge and overeating, fall in love with movement, and finally lose the weight permanently. A veteran weight loss coach for almost ten years, she is a Ph.D. student in Health Psychology and has three published books, the most recent titled, "Have Your Cake and Be Happy Too: A Joyful Approach to Weight Loss”.