How to Stop Obsessing Over Weight Loss, and Actually Lose Weight. Toss Your Weight Loss Goal!

I talk about goals a lot with my health coaching clients. Surprisingly, I don’t focus on the number on the scale during our sessions. Yes, even when their goal is to lose weight.

Read This: 3 Steps to Ditch Diets and Eat Better for Life

Why? Because weight loss should not be placed on a pedestal as your one and only goal. I believe that weight loss is a side effect of consistent healthy habits.

The Problem With Numbers

Have you ever stepped on the scale and experienced an immediate mood change?

We place a lot of stock in the scale, and quickly discredit any good feelings about our bodies when we see even a minuscule rise in weight. When you make a certain number your goal, that becomes the baseline measure of success. In reality, weight is only one indicator of our health.

Let’s say you average 5 hours of sleep, have an insanely stressful job, and live off fast food, but manage to lose some weight. This doesn’t indicate an improvement of you health.

This isn’t to say you should ignore your weight completely.

It’s OK to weigh yourself, and even have a range in mind where you feel your best, but take this number with a grain of salt. If you like to keep tabs on your weight, keep a weekly average to avoid getting caught up in daily fluctuations. Use this to gauge larger shifts.

It’s nice to see an increase when you’re building muscle, or a decrease when you finally ditch your daily soda habit. But, remember this; your weight does not define you. You know this, but I’ll say it again;

Your. Weight. Does. Not Define. You.

Find Your Why

Weight loss is the most common goal for people seeking health coaching and personal training. However, it’s usually not their actual goal.

When a client says their biggest goal is to lose 20 pounds, my next question is, “why?”. We uncover a variety of deeper reasons. From, “So I can keep up with my kids”, to, “Because I’ll feel comfortable in my clothes”. All of which are deeply intrinsic goals, all of which have no set number to be realized.

It’s not the 25 pound weight loss that will change your life. It’s the addition of exercise that you enjoy, the reduced daily sugar intake, the increased restorative sleep, or the mindful eating practices you adopt that will improve your everyday.

Read This: How to Overcome Common Healthy Living Struggles: Tips From a Health Coach

What to Focus on Instead

So this begs the question, what do you focus on, if not weight loss. Let’s say your big picture goal is completing (and enjoying!) a tough hike with your friends.

Weighing 125 instead of 155 doesn’t instantly insure it’ll be a breeze. If you white knuckle your way through an uninspired and skimpy diet, cut back on sleep to do an early workout, all for the sake of hitting a specific number on the scale, you may lose some weight. But, your body isn’t strong and prepared for the adventure ahead.

On the other hand, cut back on processed foods, incorporate strength training instead of just cardio, and get enough sleep, you’ll be properly prepared and will likely shed weight in the process.

Focus on what small changes you can make towards better health, as opposed to solely how you can lose weight. This is a holistic, practical, and mentally healthier way to reach your goals.

Read This: 3 Practical Ways to Make Healthy Choices (and still enjoy your life!)

Like I said earlier, weight loss (if you have it to lose) is an indicator that your overall health is improving. It is a side effect of consistently making healthier choices. Try channeling your energy into making one small healthy change at a time. Like, going to bed earlier, fitting in a morning workout, choosing baked over fried, cooking instead of going out, etc.

Read This: 8 Genius Ways to Make Healthy Choices More Convenient

Many people get frustrated when they try to lose weight, because it’s the last thing to happen. As soon as you start exercising, eating healthier, or getting more sleep, positive changes are happening within.

You’ll notice more energy and confidence in yourself before you see it translated on the scale. Yet, that’s when people stop. When they don’t see the numbers change after a week or two of healthier habits.

Read This: How Long Does it Really Take to See Fitness Results?

I have a client who’s goal is to get back into an enjoyable exercise routine like she had years ago. She was frustrated one week and said, “I just feel sometimes that I’m making all these changes and I haven’t seen much weight loss so I think, ‘what’s the point?'”.

I understand. I asked if she could think of any positives over the past few weeks we had been working together. “Yeah, I have more energy in the morning, I feel better about myself, and I know this is better for me.” Just like that, she rattled off 3 reasons it was worth it. None of them having to do directly with weight loss.

Are you tired of letting the scale determine your success? Working with a professional health coach will help you set meaningful and realistic goals, and help you get there by holding you accountable. I would love to talk with you about where you’re struggling and come up with an action plan to finally get the results you want! Click here to see how you can work with me, and here to start the conversation.


  1. Kate H

    Great thoughts Sam. It’s hard not to get bogged down by the numbers but you’re right, it’s about so much more than that.

    This post is another sign I’ve got to get back on track.

    1. It’s hard to get untangled from that mentality with all the marketing towards it, but the more you remind yourself the easier it gets! You’ve got this, and reach out if you get stuck 🙂

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