Will I Ever Be Able to Lose Weight?

tape measureDo you ever think about losing weight and DESPAIR at how much you need to do?

Do you feel FAR AWAY from your goal?

It’s easy to look at people who have already lost weight and think that they achieved it without any doubts or hesitation.


But the fact is, every single one of them, at the beginning of their journey (and even partway through) felt as overwhelmed and intimidated by the thought of losing weight as you might be feeling now.

But while it’s natural to feel a bit intimidated at the beginning, what we don’t want, is for it to interfere with you taking action.

So let’s talk about how to reduce the overwhelm you feel before losing weight.


1. This Isn’t a Diet.

This week on my weight loss forum, one of the members had a chat to her husband about her weight loss and told him:

“Dr K’s approach isn’t another failed diet, it’s a life change”

I love that because it captures perfectly why you shouldn’t let any past dieting affect what you’re doing now.

Diets don’t work.

Diets are made to fail.

But this isn’t a diet. It’s about changing your lifestyle. So you can forget all the previous failed attempts.

When you failed in the past, it wasn’t you failing, it was the diet.


2. You Can’t Mess Things Up

You are changing your habits to create a lasting change in lifestyle. And the bonus is that this process can’t be messed up.

It’s not a diet that you stick to for a short time. It’s a process, of steady improvement.

You can’t mess this up, unless you give up.

And because you’re not going to feel deprived, there should be no reason to give up. Even if you take a break from it, you can always come back.

3. Break It Down

Many of the questions I receive about feeling overwhelmed come from women who feel the amount of weight they need to lose is too much.

And frankly, when you think of losing 30 , 40, 50 or 100 pounds of weight, it’s completely understandable to feel overwhelmed.

But that’s where you need to change your thinking.

Break it down into 10 pounds at a time.

Focus on losing 10 pounds. Then when you’ve done that, focus on losing another 10 pounds.

100 pounds is intimidating. 10 pounds, not so much.

If you find 10 pounds is still a bit intimidating, make it 5 pounds. There’s no rules here, just do what makes you feel comfortable.

Remember, even someone who has lost 100 pounds, lost it 1 pound at a time.

4. Ditch the Deadline

When I told you to focus on 10 pounds at a time, you probably thought “But then it may take longer!”

Most people put more pressure on themselves by adding in a deadline. So even if they don’t need to lose a lot of weight, they create overwhelm by wanting to lose it quickly. Of course, the deadline makes things much worse if you have a lot of weight to lose.

But the best thing you can do is to take the time pressure off.

A 20-year-old wants to lose weight quickly, because they are immature. But the benefit of life experience is realising that it won’t be a disaster if you take a few extra weeks to get to your goal.
5. Get support

It’s not a crime to feel discouraged along the way. In fact I expect it because it happens to everyone.

But don’t let a bit of discouragement turn into giving up.

And the best way to combat this is to speak with others, get support and encouragement. It doesn’t matter who you get support from, it’s just that you have someone to spur you on, when you feel down.


6. Focus on Process Not Results

Although you will feel tempted to keep thinking about the goal, the best thing to do is take your mind off the weight and instead focus on making the right decisions.

If you do the right things, the weight will take care of itself.


If you feel intimidated about losing weight, you have good company. EVERYONE feels doubts to begin with.

But what I want for you, is to NOT let it stop you. Because I know with the right approach you can see the doubts for what they are, false limitations preventing you from achieving your goal.
Now let’s hear from you…

1. How do you feel about your weight loss goal?

Have you felt intimidated in the past? (and if you overcame it tell us how)

2. Have you put needless pressure on yourself?

How can you lessen the pressure now?

Leave a comment below! I’d love to hear from you and I respond to every comment.

Posted in Blog
43 comments on “Will I Ever Be Able to Lose Weight?
  1. cramey says:

    I am so overwhelmed and discouraged right now! I am trying to stay focused on making the right decisions including eating lots of whole foods and moving my body, but when the scales doesn’t say what I hope it will say I just feel like going back to bed. I have to focus on one day at a time and also break down the goal, like you mentioned. Thank you for reminding us it is doable!

    • Hi Cramey,

      You’ve captured the challenges of losing weight! Because the scales don’t do what we want them to do day to day (But they do over the long-term) so we have to keep positive and motivated.

      Glad you feel it’s doable … because it is!

  2. Lauren says:

    I am learning to lessen the pressure by seeing this as a long term eating process with the goal that each year as I become more used to the changes in my eating habits and thinking, it may just get easier. Each month brings its challenges and after a lifetime of eating one way and being overweight, I KNOW slow changes are the ONLY way to achieve the changes for the long term. Those thoughts have helped lessen the pressure when I put on a few pounds due to temptations or emotional comfort eating. I feel much more confident as each month that passes that I will succeed with my weight loss goal because I have forever to achieve it….eating with control is my goal. I do believe the weight loss will follow alongside.

    • Hi Lauren,

      You’re very modest considering what you’ve achieved! (Lauren has basically got to her goal and maintained her weight for 3 years)

      Yes, you’re very good to keep focused on the long-term and it’s good to see how confident you are (which you are very entitled to)

      The other thing to say is that even though it’s a long-term thing, when you started losing weight, you saw benefits very quickly.

      I say that because I don’t want others to believe that just because we are focused on the long-term it doesn’t mean you have to wait for ages to start seeing the progress.

  3. Parween says:

    I have been neglecting myself I haven’t been moving (doing Exercise), also I haven’t been focusing on myself, that is why I go back to square one.
    Bless Dr K this newsletter has inspired me to break down my goals also have support. My boys are going to help me and I’m going for a walk.
    Thank you Dr K

  4. cheryl says:

    Hi Dr. K,
    I’ve lost weight dozens of times, the only way that worked for me was slim fast or similar. I could keep it up for months and lost dozens of pounds and then felt great, and started to slip up. The weight would slowly (or later on in life more quickly) creep back.
    I’ve tried making small changes but the one thing I can’t seem to change is emotional eating (binging) or drinking. I actually eat healthy except for portion size and or binging. My daughter developed anorexia 2 years ago and went to a privat clinic for 4 months….I think something like that would help me but can’t take off time from my profession. What can I do?

    • Hi Cheryl,

      The issue with a clinic retreat is that you’re not really getting experience dealing with real-life situations.

      So you might end up losing weight, but as soon as you get back to real life, will you be able to handle the situations that lead to emotional eating?

      This is essentially what has happened in the past with the diets you’ve tried. They work but then unravel as life gets in the way.

      I think weekly sessions while working is your best bet.

    • Angela says:

      I have just read some of your articles Dr K and your response to a Lady called Cheryl who is emotionally eating re:a retreat not being helpful as it’s away from “normal” life, Instead recommending weekly sessions. I whole heartedly agree. I gained 4 stone after numerous injuries and years of dieting/emotional eating. I recently had weekly sessions and for the first time fully understand why I reach for the food to feel better.I am not losing drastic weight but feel empowered and in control.I feel healthy and attractive and know that the weight will go. No longer have the inappropriate feelings of pleasure, guilt, shame and failure I previously had. So Cheryl…I agree with Dr K, give it a try.

  5. Maria says:

    Dear Dr K, dear colleagues, dear Cramey,

    I know how you feel but you got it right in saying ‘one day at a time’. Only look back to understand why and be gentle on yourself. No guilt, no chastising. The scales are just there to give you a little benchmark ( i pop on and off morning and night and it has completely made me relaxed and unfocused on the weight). Dr K knows I really wanted to stick to my once a week which put such pressure on me.

    I was thinking this weekend that I have ‘only’ lost three kilos and I am in my week 12. But here is the thing, I have stopped what felt like an inexorable and constant gaining. And I do not feel I am on a diet at all. Rather a life journey that is not unpleasant as I still allow myself everything. Perhaps not as much and as frequently as before. I am doing everything I still want to do, except that I am totally conscious and understanding now. And I know it is choices of lifestyle NOT of whether to ‘diet’ today or not. But rather how seriously you want to keep top of mind all the tips and tricks. (I could be a little stricter but hey, I am getting there, even if rather slowly. I LOVED THE EATING OUT – so very helpful. i now focus on the decor and people and really trying not to finish my plate because it’s there and I need to get value so to speak !

    It is extraordinary that this should be your topic this week. I feel great about the approach and I just know that I have all my life to just keep cutting back a bit here and there, the portion sizes, the danger foods, the magic margin and all that …

    Truth is I lose a bit when I feel good about life and in control of my environment, at home and out.

    And I put a bit back on when I am tired and overwhelmed by ‘stuff’ generally.

    I guess the secret is not to be in a rush …

    BUT my overall trend is going downwards, and I do know that I will get there .. like the snail and the hare.

    • Hi Maria,

      That’s fantastic. Thanks for sharing.

      You’re right. The SHIFT in mindset is more valuable than weight change initially, and when it happens it leads to weight loss that is more long-term.

      Well done.

  6. Catherine says:

    I have a lot of weight to lose and I waver between hope that “this time” I’ll succeed, and negative thoughts of failure. My medication makes weight loss harder.

    • Hi Catherine,

      I think it’s very common to waver between the two states of optimism and pessimism.

      Just keep reading, keep commenting and keep going.

      Small, persistent steps will overcome even the most unhelpful medication.

  7. Jose says:

    I feel like I am not eating anything and I still don’t lose a gram. Is there a good app to register on what you eat…writing it down in a booklet doesn’t really work for me

    • Hi Jose,

      Let’s open it up to others to give some suggestions.

      Just make sure the app doesn’t show calorie counts, because I think that is unhelpful.

      (Some clients use MyFitnessPal and change the settings to not show calories. Others use the notepad on their phone)

      Any other suggestions?

  8. Vicky says:

    Goals are hard if the process is slow and it is slow…which also make it hard to stay motivated…I want to persevere but positive feedback is crucial…do my clothes feel better…do I have energy…do I have something delicious to look forward to…please say yes!

  9. Dawn Jagdev says:

    I’m trying to get away from deadlines but I feel if I don’t have one, it will take too long for me to lose weight. I’ve lost about 12lbs in about 12 weeks, which is quite good. I suppose it doesnt really matter how long it takes, as long as the weight stays off, which it has.

  10. Julie says:

    I was very pessimistic about losing weight and was actually claiming that I was happy being overweight and didn’t want to change. I wanted to change, all right; what I didn’t want to do was diet again. I actually weighed less when I was in my third trimester with my daughter than when she was five years old!
    But I obviously was lying to myself and everyone else about not minding my size because even as I was making these outrageous statements, I was surfing the web for yet another quick weight loss fix. Happily I didn’t find one–instead I stumbled upon Dr. K’s website and the mad cycles of yoyo dieting came to an abrupt halt.
    There were so many factors working against my ever reaching my goal weight (so I thought): my exhausted metabalism, my age (48), the fact that everytime I had lost weight in the past I had gained more back afterwards and was then more than 50 lbs overweight.
    Well, I turned 50 in January and reached my goal weight over a year ago. I made a lifestyle change with Dr.K’s methods.
    Just remember: NO DIET means NO DIET FATIGUE. I can claim the following: I eat what I want, however, not as much as I might want and not everytime I want it. The secret is in learning to listen to what your stomach is really tellong you; not your emotions or energy level.

    • Hi Julie,

      Well done!

      Yes I worry that people who say they’re happy overweight are just feeling crushed by diets and drained of hope. They need to be shown that there is another way!

      I’m so pleased that you overcame what could have been excuses not to get started, and took action, getting your just reward. It’s a fantastic story.

      And thanks for sharing it with us

  11. Lynne says:

    Hi, yes I do get totally discouraged. I have been using this approach for a long time. I have lost and maintained that loss using particularly balanced indulgence. However through my father’s illness last year and his death six months ago I have gained almost a stone. In my head I know that I have gradually allowed my habits to change back to my old ways and am really struggling to get back to myself again. I know the first thing I need to do is get my food diary going again and be realistic about how much I can lose. Thank you for your encouraging approach. I know it works.

    • Hi Lynne,

      Sorry to hear about your father.

      Even if you have gained some weight, you have a wonderful advantage. You’ve done it before and you know how this approach works.

      So I’m positive you can get things back on track.

      Sometimes when people gain back a bit of weight, they feel in a hurry to reverse it, which is kind of like a deadline. Remember you can’t rush losing weight!

      So just take it easy. Start slow. Just write down one meal on your food diary tomorrow. And then another. And then slowly ease back into the routine, without any expectations. Just let it happen.

      You’ll be fine!

  12. Julie says:

    When I think of how much my doctor says I have to lose I think its impossible & head for the nearest bag of potato chips and candy. Dr. K your idea of breaking it down to 10 pound breaks is brilliant. I’m 20% there. And I feel a whole lot different. I feel hopeful. Its still hard not to put a date on weight lose but I try to remember that as long as I am not going up in weight & I am seeing a downward motion on the scale to be happy with that. In time I’ll get to where I want to be, whenever that is. Thanks Dr. K.

  13. Helen says:

    Thank you as you say its a lifestyle choice.
    I’m choosing to be the best i can be.
    Nothing to start and nothing to finish.
    Here’s to us in the process.

  14. Tina Conner says:

    Yes. Skinny is not going to happen, but I can strive for healthy!

    • Hi Tina,

      I guess it’s what you define “skinny” as. When I’ve asked clients and readers before, they tend to associate skinny with unhealthy, fashion model type bodies.

      So yes, your aim should be to be healthy and most people would agree that even losing 10 pounds makes a difference to their life.

      (Research evidence shows that even losing 5% of your body weight can make a difference to your health)

      And if you can lose weight without feeling deprived (which is the whole point of this approach) then it’s all good.

  15. Susan says:

    I also think you have to adopt the idea that it is a lifestyle. And what works for one person (e.g., leaving food on your plate), might not work for another. If limiting carbs, or sugar, or meat works for you and you don’t feel deprived, I say go for it. I shifted to eating mostly plants, but that might not work for someone else. Find your hot button and push it! 😉

  16. Anne says:

    I love this. And even though I am basically at my goal size, I still love reading your newsletters. They reiterate what I told myself, and everyone that asks; baby steps, small goals, no deadline. I want to clarify something as well. I said goal size, because when I started I did have a goal weight. 135, based on my height of 5’5″. But as I was on my journey, I exercised as well. So as well as some loose skin, I have a lot of muscle. I weigh 150ish, but I wear a size small, size 2 or 4 in bottoms. I had to adjust my thinking. I may weigh more than I thought I would, but I am strong and smaller than I ever thought possible. And I did it using your methods.

  17. Janet says:

    I used to get totally overwhelmed by how much weight I had to lose. I was at least 9 stone (126 pounds) overweight and the scale of what I needed to achieve used to seem impossible.

    Once I found this non-diet approach and began to make progress I started thinking in 1 stone (14 pound) steps as goals. To start with that was OK as I was losing weight more quickly. As time has gone on and my weight loss has been slower I’ve changed to thinking of my goals in 7 pound (1/2 stone) steps as that feels more motivating and achievable.

  18. Sue says:

    I do enjoy your newsletters and find them very inspiring. I never had a problem with my weight until I hit my 40s, and it started to gradually go up. I’m now 54 years old and about a stone and a half heavier than I want to be.

    I eat healthily and walk 5 miles a day. However, my weight just will NOT shift! I’m 5’5 and 11.5 stones. I’m bursting out of my UK size 14 skirts and trousers!

    It’s pretty demotivating to do all the “right” things, and yet still see the scale going gradually upwards.

    • Hi Sue,

      I think you hit the nail on the head when you put said the “right” things.

      The “right” things are what everyone else says you should do, and clearly it’s not enough. You’re not the only one who has experienced this frustration. It’s an epidemic!

      Of course it’s great that you eat healthily and walk 5 miles a day. And I’m sure that’s really helping your overall health. But it’s not enough for losing weight.

      As I’ve mentioned elsewhere in my blog posts, articles and books, the key for weight loss for women over 40, is in reducing the amount of calories you eat.

      It’s possible to eat “healthily” and still consume extra calories either through eating too much of healthy but fattening foods, or eating healthily for the majority of the time, but undoing it all with what happens in the remaining time.

      When I see clients at my clinic with similar stories to yours, the answers are in the food diary.

      Because although you might have the impression that you’re eating healthily, the key is to see the details in the food diary. It usually shows where someone is going wrong. And then we can start the process of making small changes to their eating to start losing weight.

      But one thing I will say, despite how frustrating it is, there is an answer. And you can definitely take control of your eating and reverse the weight gain you’ve had.

  19. Chrissy says:

    Hi Dr K

    I have recently done a dechox for the BHF haaving no chocolate for the whole of March. Surprisingly now I can eat chocolate again I don’t want it. I also cut out snacks in between at the same time and just had fruit.
    It has proven to me that we can change our habits and doing it for a good cause and getting the support of others really helped.
    I hate the word diet I prefer to call it a whole new life changing way of eating.


    • Hi Chrissy,

      Well done on your dechox (for those who don’t know it’s giving up chocolate for March, for the British Heart Foundation – I had to look it up)

      One piece of advice I’d give to you, is don’t think of this giving up chocolate as an all or nothing thing.

      Others in this situation might feel that if they slip up now (i.e have a piece of chocolate), they’ve failed and then get upset with themselves. And the one piece turns into a regret-fueled chocolate avalanche.

      Don’t do that. Blips happen. And it doesn’t cancel out the positive changes you’ve made. it may just mean you need to tweak your approach.

      Remember, giving up chocolate for a month is one strategy. Cutting out snacks is another. But the ideal long-term weight loss plan involves LOTS more strategies than that. And blending them into your life so that they last.

  20. Dorothy Tole says:

    Hi Dr. K,

    The process of losing weight has taken a toil on my life and my family’s as well more-so in my current pre-menopause stage. I will be turning 50 next year. Thank you for your guidance and I am re-looking at the strategy of losing a fewer pounds at a time. I am also practicing patience even though it is hard.

    • Hi Dorothy,

      Patience is good! And yes, breaking it down makes it much easier and less stressful.

      Also, as we discussed last week, it’s often useful to think “What are my alternatives?”.

      When you think through the alternatives (which include doing nothing and having your weight go up or trying to find another diet or something else that might work), then patience and persistence feels a lot easier.

  21. Sarah Haigh says:

    I was having a conversation with my mum this week and she asked how much I weigh, when I told her she said “oh dear you know you’ll never loose it now your 50 don’t you??” Great support eh?? Anyway you say not to cut out things which you can’t live without for the rest of your life but the problem is that these are all the sugary fatty things that are making me gain weight and I know from experience that unless I go cold turkey I will not shift the weight.

    • Hi Sarah,

      Frankly your mother is wrong!

      I understand your thoughts on cutting things down vs going cold turkey.

      I guess the first thing to ask yourself is, how has going cold turkey worked so far? It is (occasionally) tolerable for the short-term, but if you aren’t allowed any of the things you love to eat, it’s unlikely to be sustainable.

      On the other hand, it’s difficult to make sweeping statements about ALL the things you love. This is where it gets complicated because the answers about what to do will vary depending on the food, and the answers are specific to you.

      You might be able to survive quite nicely by cutting out ice cream completely, and having a little bit of chocolate. Whereas that might be a disaster for someone else.

      The point is there is a right combination that will work for you, where you won’t feel deprived, but it is a matter of figuring it out. It takes a bit of trial and error.

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