Lose Weight Without Dieting—Rule #1: Attitude is Everything post image

Lose Weight Without Dieting—Rule #1: Attitude is Everything

For the better part of my adult life, I was a Monday through Thursday calorie-counter. Once Friday hit, I’d loosen my belt juuuust a little…and then a little more, and then…by Sunday night, I’d find myself sitting on my couch in baggy sweats staring at the bottom of yet another empty pint of ice cream declaring, “I’m going to be good on Monday!” For me, this cycle was normal. In fact, at the time I assumed that everyone ate their body weight in junk food on Sunday night!

When I diagnosed myself as an emotional eater last year, a sense of self-awareness came over me. I have always prided myself as being an optimistic, resilient person, but I realized that when it came to food, I was quite resentful and angry. Why can’t I just eat a freakin’ cupcake and not have to think about it?! How can she polish off a burger and fries and stay so skinny? (Sound familiar?) Simply put, I was pissed off that making consistently healthy choices always seemed like such a chore.

But then, I decided to take a non-combative approach and accept the process of trying to figure out how to eat healthily and mindfully without being super-restrictive, and it slowly started getting easier. I figured, I’m always going to be thinking about food in some fashion, so why not use that energy in a positive, constructive way? For instance, instead of thinking, “Ugh, I do NOT want a salad for lunch today,” I’d tell myself, “Hmm…OK…so I need to get some vegetables in at lunch—how can I make my salad more appealing?” And then I’d add walnuts, apple slices, hummus, feta cheese and other toppings I enjoy. But by golly, if dinnertime rolls around and you are still thinking about the quesadillas you really wanted to eat at lunch—have them! (Just pretty please don’t forget to incorporate veggies to the meal.)

I also think it’s important to note that I stopped resigning myself to the idea that I wasn’t meant to be anything different than what I currently was. I somehow identified with a girl who just couldn’t pass on fries, or say no to a second (or third!) glass of wine—or didn’t end every meal with something sweet. And I certainly couldn’t identify with the girl who—gasp—ate healthy on the weekend! But that wasn’t really me. At least, it wasn’t who I wanted to be.

So think about it: Who do you want to be? And how will you get there? Does your attitude need a little tweaking?


Ellen Collis is a published magazine writer and Health Coach in NYC, who is currently enrolled at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. Email her at ellen.collis@gmail.com for a free health consultation to discuss how she can assist you with your nutrition and lifestyle goals. She would love nothing more than to help you have more energy, feel fabulous in your own skin and live a healthy life that doesn’t require giving up your favorite foods.

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Thanks for listening.I was so sucfssecul several years ago and I finally reached my goal weight and stayed there (more or less) for a few years.I feel as if I keep trying to recreate that success but, it’s not happening. And I think that is part of my frustration.I was a completely different person then. I think through so many life experiences I finally hit rock bottom . I decided to give up flour and sugar; keep my calories to 1000 1200 calories a day; and I went to curves religiously. It worked and although I’m sure I struggled at times it was as if everything I had tried over the years finally clicked.Trying to recreate that plan seems to rigid and I haven’t attempted to completely give up flour and sugar again. Any thoughts, advice would be warmly appreciated.

Reply December 14, 2015, 9:48 am


Hi Ellen, the paragraphs you wrote above really inspired me. I have had a lot of problems with gaining weight then being underweight, gaining it back. Now I am just trying to loose 5 more pounds so my pants will fit better, hey it is getting cold out! But I am having a heck of a time with emotional eating. Like you said earlier, I do perfect during the week and go crazy on weekends. If I have one caramel mint, I eat the entire bag of them. SOunds horrible, but it always happens to me, I’ve tried not buying mints but eventually I am faced with them and it happens then. Mainly this happens alone, or no one really knowing as I act like I am perfect 100 percent of the time. These binges or even candy/gum binges are a huge problem with my last few pounds…i think. I also use TONS of artificial sweetener which I know is bad, and I am cutting down before it gets wiped out completely. Trying to weed myself. But i wanted to see if there is any other advice you may have, as all of these blog posts on this site have really been spot on. Thanks!!

Reply October 16, 2012, 3:52 pm


Hi McKenzie! Thank you so much for writing; I’m glad my posts have inspired you enough to reach out. A lot of times emotional eating requires looking at the big picture of your overall lifestyle. Shoot me a quick email and maybe we can set up a time to chat! (In the meantime, try not to focus on “being perfect” around others and just take each eating opportunity as it comes. Take it step by step, meal by meal. If you give into a sweet craving, try to slow down and intervene on your actions. I know it’s hard, but you can do it!)

Reply October 16, 2012, 9:31 pm

Jen Yoo

That extra glass of wine! Gets me every time!!

Reply June 25, 2012, 12:36 pm


I can completely relate with the Monday-Thursday calorie counting and weekend free-for-all! It is like I become a different person. Then, I kick myself when I start each week with a nasty, bloated feeling and it takes me 2 days to feel semi-normal again. I am not an emotional eater, but I am certainly not a mindful one (yet!). I like the thoughtful, distraction ideas ( a cup of tea, a phone call) for at home binging, and now I just have to find a way to control myself when out with friends for weekend dinner/drinks!

Reply June 22, 2012, 9:55 am


I just ate a butt-load of carbs. Nibbled on chocolate cake and bread after work. I eat super healthy, but this mini binges ruin everything for me. And Im an emotional eater too. This binge was triggered because I dropped one pound this week and I was so happy I ate my niece’s birthday cake. What can you do to stop eating emotionally? I eat when I’m sad, happy when I drop or gain weight…

Reply June 21, 2012, 8:14 pm


Hi Linda! Thanks for the comment. I can totally relate to mini binges. Your recent one might have happened because when we lose weight and feel good about ourselves, self-sabotaging actions tend to kick in for one reason or another. Sometimes eating is a way to celebrate and sometimes I think psychologically we think we can keep the weight off, even if we are “cheating” and indulging more than usual. (We forget what it took to get us to that point in the first place!) That’s why I really try to take it meal by meal and stay focused on eating as healthily as I can, while still eating foods that satisfy me and make me happy. :) When I focus on the number on the scale, for whatever reason, I tend to get off track. Perhaps it’s because the diet mentality isn’t conducive to long-term weight loss!

One thing that’s important for an emotional eater is to set yourself up to succeed. Often, we set ourselves up for failure by buying our “trigger” snacks and keeping them in the house. Buying your favorite junk foods and then crossing your fingers that you will have strong enough willpower not to eat them is just putting yourself through torture! I kicked my daily ice cream habit by starting small. I’d buy one pint of ice cream a week, and I wouldn’t let myself buy another until the next week, even if I ate the entire pint in one night. The times when I desperately wanted the ice cream, but couldn’t have it because it was all gone, was a great lesson for me. Usually, I felt really panicky at first, but after ten or fifteen minutes, I got used to the idea that I couldn’t have my treat.

Just sitting with my emotions and allowing myself to feel sad and frustrated (and pissed off!) allowed me to get past it. It showed me that I COULD survive and beat impulsive overeating habits that were caused by my emotions. When you eat to avoid experiencing an emotion, you aren’t allowing yourself to be present and work through that emotion. So the next time you’re sad and have the urge to impulsively indulge, ask yourself: WHY you are doing it; if eating a piece of cake (that you will polish off in two minutes!) is really going to make you feel better and is there anything else you can do-make a cup of tea, call a friend-that could help get you past this initial feeling of wanting to eat something?

Well, I hope this has helped some. Feel free to email me if you want to talk further!

Reply June 22, 2012, 6:57 am

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