Why You Shouldn’t Make Weight Loss Your Primary Goal

Please to welcome our friend, COACH CALORIE.  Im a huge fan of Tony and his fantastic staff of writers…


Are you trying to lose weight?

There’s nothing wrong with that. Weight loss is a goal for millions of people every year.

However, what most people tend to forget is that weight loss is a side effect of living a healthy lifestyle. If you can stop focusing on the day to day struggles of losing weight, and instead focus on changing your body from the inside out, you’re going to be much more successful in the long term.

Every Good Decision You Make is Changing You

You might not be able to see it yet on the outside, but every time you turn down processed food, drink a glass of water, go for a walk, or do any other healthy activity, you are changing your body on the inside. That is where weight loss starts – on the inside. This isn’t liposuction where you suck the fat off your body without changing what’s going on inside of it. True change happens internally – mentally and physically.

You might not be able to see the fruits of your labor yet, but every time you exercise you’re improving your hormonal profile. You’re improving your insulin sensitivity. You’re priming your body and creating a favorable metabolic environment for fat loss. You’re reducing stress, and you’re improving hundreds of other health markers like cholesterol and triglycerides.

Every time you choose whole foods over processed foods you’re reducing your risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. You’re making your joints, bones, and ligaments stronger. You’re giving yourself more energy, and you’re setting good examples for the people around you.

Weight Loss? It Comes When it Comes

So you’ve been eating healthy and exercising for a month and you haven’t lost a pound? So what. The weight will come off when it’s ready, but not a moment before then. However, it will come off. It always does when you’re living a healthy lifestyle. Your body is a reflection of what you put into it and how you use it. Eat processed foods and be sedentary, and that’s what your body is going to reflect. Eat whole foods and be active, and your body will become its function.

Put your weight, fat, and every other external marker of good health out of mind for a while.

It’s hard.

I know it is.

Focus your efforts on making good decisions. Get active on a daily basis, even if that means just going for a walk. Do more than what you’ve done in the past. Make a single better nutrition choice every day. Do better. Make progress. Don’t try to be perfect. Every step in the right direction you make, your body will react and make a positive change both on the inside and out.

Before you know it, someone is going to make a comment about how you look healthier, and looking healthy is 100 times more preferable to looking skinny.

I say again, forget about trying to lose weight.

Make a goal of getting healthy. With good health comes fat loss. Feed your body the fuel it needs and get active, and it will start to transform from the inside out.

I promise you this.


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  1. says

    I think the toughest part is being patient. As unrealistic as it is, what I’m sure most of us wants is to see the impact of a workout immediately. Obviously that’s not what happens. I like your suggestion of forgetting about losing weight and focusing more on the daily decisions that we can make that will probably make us feel better right then and there :)

    • says

      Patience is hard at the beginning, especially when your motivation is sky high. You want results, and you want them fast. I think it’s very important that we stop viewing weight loss as a day to day activity and start focusing on the bigger picture.

      • MizFit says

        it is all about the consistency here.
        no one day for me matters MORE than any other. it is how they all coalesce to create the bigger picture of my life.

    • says

      Thanks Erica. It truly is a side effect, just as the opposite is also true – weight gain is a side effect of living an unhealthy lifestyle. So it makes sense to focus on the problem and not the symptom.

  2. says

    Weight is a symptom… and a measure of what else MIGHT be going on in your health. It’s highly individual.

    While I consider myself a rationalist, and therefore use direct measures as an indicator for my goals, I also know that ultimately the real goal is to feel good, and there’s nothing quantitative about that.

    • says

      Don’t force it is right. Entering into a battle with the scale puts you at the disadvantage. It is great a mental “warfare” – always making you second guess your decisions.

  3. cherylann says

    I have been saying this since I was 16 and decided to change eating/exercising “habits”- I was 16 in 1968. WHAT year is this?

  4. says

    Excellent post, living a healthy lifestyle does more than manage weight for sure. People are too dependent on the scale and don’t consider that while they are building muscle and losing bodyfat the scale might not change that much, if at all. The bigger question is how are your clothes fitting and how do you feel overall, what are your measurements and how have they changed. This is what I like to talk to people about when we discuss their progress.

    • says

      True, weight is close to meaningless. Fat loss is what we’re really after, and a scale won’t show you that. Body fat calipers and a tape measure will do more for your sanity than the scale ever will.

  5. says

    “Every Good Decision You Make is Changing You” And really, what more needs to be said than that…?

    Awareness is the master, applying what we learn from the awareness we create is the work…

  6. says

    Such a great message. This is exactly what I talk about with my clients all the time. Stop focusing on that number. I’ve been working with my husband on this too, which is really hard. He’s lost 20 pounds in the past 7 months and wants to lose 5 more, but he’s gained so much muscle! I can’t get him to look past that number on the scale…

    • says

      Hi Sarena, have you considered taking body fat measurements with him? I think that letting him see his lean body mass and fat mass will help him change his perspective on weight. Sometimes we need to see it in front of us to believe it.

  7. says

    I fully understand your point, but I’m not sure I agree. I think when getting started the whole live healthier concept on its own can feel very intangible and so the weight itselfprovides a concrete mmeasurement stick to motivate the initial steps that will lead to better health. I think it would be awesome if just health alone were enough and it is for some, so that’s just my two cents on why weight loss as a goal isn’t all bad.

    • says

      Hi Amanda, I understand what you are saying, and I agree – to an extent. The problem is that many people don’t see the external results they were expecting fast enough and end up quitting before they ever gave their program an honest chance.

      It’s these people that need to understand that getting fit is more than just weight loss. The ultimate goal is to keep these people consistent with their program. Adherence is the goal, but unfortunately, external results are not always immediately apparent.

      Teach them that they are still making progress to their health, and that can be enough to keep them motivated until they do see results. From there, the motivation builds on itself.

  8. MizFit says

    YOU KNOW I LOVE you express you disagree—and hope TONY comes by to respond.
    For me I wonder if OTHER INDICATORS are enough?
    I know for me the addition of visible muscle was motivating as well as when I started I could NOT FINISH a step aerobics class and after about 8 weeks I FINALLY could…

  9. says

    Yes! Weight is not your only indicator of living a healthy life. Weight loss controlled so many of my thoughts in my 20s and it was SO UNHEALTHY. Instead of focusing on how I felt and what life experiences I could take in, I was obsessed with what the scale said. Looking back I realize how tiring that is.

    There is a bigger picture to healthy living. It can be REALLY hard to break through and get there, but once you do, it is so worth it!

    • says

      Glad you found your way Michelle :)

      It can be very liberating to not be in a constant struggle with your weight. Just live, put good stuff into your body, and get active.

  10. says

    Years of trying to lose weight at any cost and I could never do it until I gave up and started caring about my health and the bigger picture instead…then it was literally effortless to come off. But you know that 😉

  11. Leslie says

    I love this post SO MUCH, and I especially love that Tony has come by to comment! Thanks so much for this. :)

  12. says

    Weight loss was my primary goal because I was morbidly obese. I judged my progress on the number on the scale and the clothing size I wore.

    After I lost 100 pounds, it wasn’t really about weight anymore. My goal was to maintain my weight loss but also to be healthier and more fit!

  13. says

    This is exactly what I needed to read today. I am SO FRUSTRATED with my lack of progress in post-baby weight loss and feel like my body has become a stranger. Instead of focusing on the scale (and feeling defeated when it doesn’t say what I think it should), maybe I should spend my time becoming reacquainted with my new post-baby body and finding new ways to strengthen it, nourish it, and love it.

  14. MizFit says

    YES YES YES. Focus on your power. Your strength. The fact you take up space in this world with your amazing CHILD AND LIFE.
    THe strangerbod will become your friendbod again…and dare I say you will love it more for what it has given you.

      • MizFit says

        and my experiences training postpartum women has run the gamut.
        some tossed the old jeans in favor of new different styles (note I did not say sizing. often the same size) and others became fast friends with the old…

  15. says

    Thank you thank you thank you. I needed to read this today. I’m eating cleaner than I have ever before and not losing one ell bee right now and it’s so so so frustrating. However, my body fat is going down, my muscle is going up, and my training is improving (pace dropping for the same heart rate), so it’s less frustrating than it could be if I was only using the scale as a metric, so there is that!

    • MizFit says

      Scale SCHMALE.
      I really do just admire you, your tenacity, focus and BADASSNESS.

  16. Yan says

    The actual first point of this weight-loss factor prepare for that reason commences with detoxification that your original days are generally allotted. On this cycle a lot of all-natural & normal meals just like grape, essential olive oil & the like are generally recommended.

  17. says

    LOVE!!!!!!!!!! This is the hardest lesson IMHO. Weight loss AND maintenance – there are so many steps & side steps along the way…. it takes time & adding in the fact that yes, you are making your body & life healthier by taking these steps is so helpful. I know people like to see the number change but you can also feel the clothes change & get looser or that you can get up the stairs easier or that you can do more & feel better…. it is hard for people but as many said already – and Carla & I & so many others have said about consistency & patience will get you there – wherever there is for you…

    • says

      Well said Jody. It’s very likely people are going to hit a sticking point with their weight somewhere along their weight loss journey. The better you prepare yourself mentally, the more likely you will be to push yourself through that phase and come out happy on the other side.

  18. says

    Love this post! When your main goal is to lose weight, you can easily get discouraged when immediate changes in your appearance don’t happen. With a goal to become healthier, you feel more empowered with every single good thing you do. Hopefully with all of the information about processed foods coming out, the idea about living an overall healthy and fit lifestyle will gain traction rather than “diets”.

    • says

      Hi Kelly, I hope that diets will come to an end, but I’m not holding my breath! Instead, I see marketers trying to blur the lines between processed foods and health food. Knowledge is power.

  19. says

    I find it helps when we focus on our daily call-to-actions: what we can 100% control each day that ultimately gets us the body we want.

    Setting daily intentions and rewarding ourselves for completing them (rewarding ourselves with something other than unhealthy food or skipped training sessions) gives us a huge sense of accomplishment while we are forced to wait for the mirror to finally reflect all of our hard work.

    We live in a world of instant gratification – we want what we want and we want it now! So, let’s set short-term goals – things we can literally check off the list so that we can feel a sense of daily satisfaction plus the confidence to keep moving forward.

    Thanks for the great post:-)

  20. says

    You always have such wise words!!!
    weight loss has never been an main issue for us – but like being patient with weight loss and making changes in the right direction for it – we use those some ideas towards our health issues :)
    Make a goal of getting healthy — something we strive to do everyday!

  21. says

    THIS is why I decided to stay off the scale this month. It HAS to be about something other than the numbers!

    Great post Miz :)

  22. says

    Great post and this is hugely challenging for me. I’ve often confessed that my only motivation for being healthier is about losing weight – it’s NOT about caring for myself better or being healthier.

    I would love weight loss to be a by-product of making healthier choices in my life and treating myself and my body better than I do now!


  23. says

    And i am the poster child who proves she is right. A few years ago, when i decided to focus on adding healthy habits, the weight came off, and it has stayed off.

  24. Myra says

    I needed this so much. I lost nearly 70 pounds and stopped losing. It wasn’t that I was done. I couldn’t lose another pound. I started strength training, lost 8% body fat in 8 weeks. I worked out often. But I lost nothing.
    I thinl that this thinking will unblock my heart, my mind, and finally my body.

  25. Leah K says

    Holy cow did I need to hear this! I feel like you were reading my mind. I got a little careless during holiday time and have been struggling to lose that annoying five pounds. This was just reassurance for me and I feel alot better. I know I make the best effort to eat 85% healthy and I’m going to keep putting one foot in front of the other!

  26. says

    Beautifully written. One of the most challenging things about weight loss is putting in so much effort and not seeing results in return. But that’s only temporary. Like you said, the weight WILL come off. You WILL gradually look different and eventually reach your goal.

    Some of the most successful people I’ve seen (I’m a fitness professional) are the ones who fall in love with an activity and simply can’t stay away from it. For me that’s rock climbing and yoga. I have friends who are into martial arts, and others who love to compete in races. Combine joy with a weight-bearing past time and you’ve got it made.


  27. says

    Great post! Whenever I try to focus on losing weight and obsess over working out everyday and how I look etc. I get stressed out and I feel like that is worse for me than not worrying about it. I’ve recently started to change my eating habits and lifestyle and I’ve started to see a difference without even trying!

  28. says

    I absolutely LOVE this quote: “Weight loss is a side effect of living a healthy lifestyle.” So, so true. Although I am incredibly fortunate to have never struggled with my weight, I have been eating a mostly paleo diet for the last 2 months, along with all my training. While the scale hasn’t changed, I dropped 1.2% body fat and an inch around my waist. I definitely agree that focusing on the scale is not the only place we see positive changes. I really enjoyed this post and perspective!


  1. […] then, this morning, as I moseyed on over to my Google Reader, I saw this blog post title: “Why You Shouldn’t Make Weight Loss Your Primary Goal.” The ever inspiring MizFit had a guest blogger today talking about how the real goal should […]