Q&A: Can’t Lose


The Question:

Do you know if there are people who will never lose weight no matter what they do and how much they starve themselves? I ask this because people do talk about this and I do think I’m one of them. I’m not yo-yo dieting because I just don’t lose the weight in the first place, and I’ve been struggling with this for more years than I care to say. I’m very careful about what I eat, and I only eat healthy food, but nothing ever changes.

My Answer:

Let’s begin with the idea of a fuzzy concept. Are you familiar with this? I discovered the book, Fuzzy Thinking some years ago and find it useful and applicable to so many things.

The idea is that any ‘fact’ is almost never absolutely true or false; rather a matter of degree. So often arguments, discussions and various conflicting points of view are fuelled because this fundamental point is missed. It’s black! No, it’s white! No, it’s black! Well, it’s actually quite complex shades of grey.

As one example, a couple of days ago I watched a video by Dr Robert Lustig on his favourite subject of sugar. I like a lot of what he has to say, and appreciate the research he’s done, but he was entirely black-and-white absolute about one ‘fact’ in particular with regard to overeating:

“When you fix the biochemistry, you fix the behaviour. Everyone says the behaviour is the problem. No, it isn’t; it’s the underlying biochemistry.”

This is exactly the kind of comment that could benefit from some fuzzy thinking, by recognising a matter of degree. So yes, overeating sugar creates a biochemistry that contributes to continuing the behaviour of overeating sugar.

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  1. Amanda

    I’ve been struggling of late. so have been listening to “why we get fat” as described here. I now feel I have a new direction. Thank you.

  2. Amanda

    It been one year since I read eating less. I banished a good portion of my timber, and went from being sedentary to running 5ks.

    I have finished a 6 month plateau. I was stuck. Totally. And then I read “why we get fat” as recommended. And I’ve realised that carbs are not my friend. Eating less changed my behaviour. Taught me that good decisions equals a high self esteem. But the plateau was hard going.

    Then I read “why we get fat” and now “click”. Pasta, bread, rice and baked goods are just not a good choice for me. And now plateau busted. I just didn’t now when I was making good choices, that they were bad choices.

    Carbs are NOT my friend. Thanks Gillian. Thanks so much.

  3. Kathrin

    Hi, I don’t have weight issues, but I’m totally food addicted. ‘Eating Less’ helped me a lot. What’s bothering me a lot is that I think about food a lot.
    I changed my diet recently from a raw vegan plant based high fat to 80/10/10, which consists only of fruits, veggies and maybe a few nuts or half an avocado. The digestive issues from the ketogenic diet vanished almost completely, also the Candida I had for decades.
    So now I’m not sure any more about the whole sugar-is-the-worst thing. For me it’s fat.
    Thanks for all your help, Gillian!

    • It depends a lot on the kind of fats you were eating while on the raw-vegan-plant-based-high-fat diet. Both of the diets you describe sound to me like they would be tough to pull off in the healthiest way.
      Very pleased to hear that you’ve found my book helpful, and it’s brilliant you’ve sorted the Candida.

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