1.6 NOTES on MOTIVATION – summary


  • It’s best to solve any problem by dealing with causes rather than the effects. Excess weight is just one of many effects of overeating. A preoccupation with weight obscures and invalidates those other effects – as well as the cause, which is overeating.
  • Weight loss takes longer to achieve. In the present time, you can eat in healthier ways, and other benefits – such as a sense of control, feeling more alert or less guilty – provide more effective motivation because they give you much faster feedback.
  • The cause and effect relationship between eating and weight is vague; between eating and other benefits – more energy, improved digestion or personal integrity – is usually much more specific.
  • Weight loss is temporary motivation because it’s only relevant while you have weight to lose. Once the weight is lost (or even just some of it!) your reasons to eat less are lost as well.
  • Weight loss as an exclusive or primary goal supports the fantasy that you can only be and feel worthy, happy, loved, successful, okay, healthy, etc, etc, if you are slimmer.
  • Many people assume their problems with food will disappear with their excess weight, but if this happened, there would be no yo-yo dieting. This doesn’t mean you’ll always have problems with overeating. That can be resolved, but not through weight loss itself, which is a side effect, rather than the way you develop control.
  • Too much focus on weight is often behind the fear of failure. This fear could obscure your motivation to eat less: if you’re sure you’ll fail anyway, it makes sense to make less effort.


  • Pay particular attention to – and take note of – any benefits you see from eating less, other than weight loss. When you focus on a beneficial experience for 10 to 20 seconds, you bring it into long-term memory.
  • Whenever your attention is drawn to the size and shape of your body – either because you’ve lost weight or because you haven’t – correct the balance of your motivation by deliberately remembering these other benefits.
  • Get into the habit of asking yourself, “How will I feel after I’ve finished eating this?” Look for the more immediate and specific answers, rather than only weight-related issues.
  • Don’t get too drawn in to the excitement of lost weight, especially if you are very attached to it. Play it down for yourself as much as you can, and it’s much more likely to last.
  • Continue to educate yourself about healthy eating. This is not innate knowledge. We need to learn what is healthy because we are surrounded by a food-addicted culture. Many people believe they already eat a healthy diet after having made a few good changes; it might be time to look again.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight.
When you motivate yourself in other ways,
you are more likely to achieve it and maintain it.

Non-Weight Benefits from Eating Less

feeling in control   –   happier   –   integrity   –   energy
improved sleep – self respect – healthier food
feel empowered   –   freedom   –   wake up more alert
save money   –   bright eyes, no dark circles or bags
more time  –  more relaxed around food  –  fertility
inner strength   –   enjoy food more   –   more positive
more calm/less anxious   – less depressed –   better skin
peace of mind   –  improved relationships  – confidence
improved mood – not so full or bloated after meals
pride, sense of accomplishment   –   less/no PMS
more resilient   –   slower ageing   – less/no joint pain
no headaches   –   no heartburn   –   less hunger
improved digestion – higher libido  – greater intimacy
 clear thinking/no brain fog –  warm hands
more present to life  –  reduced need for medication
less risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease
better memory – fewer wrinkles – enjoy social events more 
less/no shame or guilt – more productive
less obsessed with food – greater trust in self
improved experience through menopause
improvement in/recovery from autoimmune disease