“That was Awful … But it Had to Happen”: the Two Levels of Weight Loss

I was reviewing a client’s weight loss progress the other day and we noticed that she had made steady progress each month, except in May when she had a “reversal”.

What this means is, she went slightly astray and gained back a couple of pounds.

Obviously from the client’s point of view, this is frustrating. She has lost 9kg so far (1.5 stone) but it would have been more if she hadn’t had the bad few weeks in May. By gaining some weight, she then had to “re-lose” the weight again. It has meant slowed progress overall. This would seem like a failure of sorts.

But this is the wrong way to look at it. The “reversal” was due to some issues around coping with a particular situation: a busy time at work.

Whether these issues cropped up then, in three months or even a year, is irrelevant. The fact is those issues existed and had to be dealt with. If the issues hadn’t been dealt with, they would be lingering in the background, ready to trip up my client. Because she had worked out how to deal with them in May, they would not be able to trip her up again.

Another way of looking at this is, that when clients see me, we are working on two levels:

Level 1. Losing weight
This is the superficial level on which most diets work. Success and failure is measured purely on whether the pounds have been shed or not

Level 2. Changing habits and learning how to cope with all situations that are part of a person’s life.
This is a deeper level of weight loss, which is really the foundation of long-term weight maintenance. You have to change your habits if you are ever going to keep the weight off. And dealing with difficult situations is what protects you against future setbacks. Success on level 2 is more difficult and most diets don’t even acknowledge or try to deal with this.

But as you can see, if you achieve level 1 of weight loss, without addressing level 2, your weight loss will always be temporary, as most diets generally are.

This also relates back to the question most prospective clients ask me, about “how long will it take to lose weight?” This question is so that they can compare it to other methods. But as you can see, it’s a level 1 question. There’s no point losing weight quickly if you haven’t worked out how to maintain it. And maintaining it is what level 2 is all about: creating new habits and dealing with “life”.

When assessing a weight loss programme, you should always be more interested in the level 2 side of things than the level 1. Because the level 2 is what is going to bring you lasting success.

Going back to my client’s example, you can see that her “reversal” was only a setback in the level 1 scheme of things. From a level 2 perspective, it was a great victory, because she learnt how to deal with a particular aspect of her life in a way that it will never trouble her again.

Dr. Khandee Ahnaimugan (Dr. K) is a medical doctor, weight loss expert and author of the best-selling book, “Slim and Healthy without Dieting”. He provides individual consulting programmes for people wanting to lose weight without dieting. Try his 7 Day “How to Lose Weight without Dieting” Email Course for FREE at

Posted in Blog, The Programme, Weight Loss Mindset, Weight Loss Tips

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