Why Trying To “Get Skinny” Can Keep You Fat

CoachMel Weight Loss Tips 18 Comments

It seems like every other person wants to lose weight these days, but focussing too much on getting “skinny” can actually detract from your ability to lose weight.

Perhaps you’ve been there β€” it seems like no matter how hard you try, the weight just won’t budge, even though you feel like you’re doing everything “right”.

Believe it or not, there are some very good reasons why trying to get skinny can actually hamper your weight loss success.

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3 Reasons “Getting Skinny” Is The Wrong Motive

1. Being Skinny Isn’t Specific Enough

Your subconscious mind works in strange ways.

When you set goals, you have a much better chance of succeeding, when those goals are very specific.

For example, stating your goal as, “I want to lose weight,” is not nearly as motivating or likely to be as successful as, “I want to weigh 120 pounds by September 1.”

Goals should always be specific, measurable, and timely.

Otherwise your focus will not be as clear as it could be, and without that clear focus, you will not be anywhere near as successful as you could be.

2. Being Skinny Isn’t An End Goal

Most people find it tough to be motivated to become skinny, because “skinny” isn’t really what they’re after.

Why do you want to be skinny? Usually it’s because you want to be healthier, or you want to be more attractive, or you want to feel fitter.

So, rather than focussing on being skinny, you need to focus on what you want to get from being skinny.

The truth is that your life as it is now, would be pretty much the same whether you were skinny, or not.

Becoming skinny often serves as a distraction, and an excuse, for not taking steps towards getting what you want from life right now.

3. Being Skinny Doesn’t Equal Healthy

If you look at the build of a supermodel, they may be skinny, but are they really healthy? Are they happy?

Clearly, being skinny in and of itself, is not necessarily the path to good health and happiness.

But, by changing your focus to being healthy and happy, you can actually improve our chances of losing weight.

Don’t forget, too, that reducing your caloric intake too severely can cause your body to go into “starvation mode” and rapidly decrease your metabolism as a result.

This prevents you from burning calories at a sufficient rate, and can lead to a vicious cycle of constantly cutting calories, potentially leading to many serious health problems.

So, what should you do to lose weight?

All in all, the key is to focus on what really matters to you, then pursue that.

Try to think about the positive benefits of losing weight, for example, how you will be able to play with your children easily, or how your sleep quality will improve, when you can get more comfortable in bed each night.

Then, focus on eating three small meals each day, with healthy snacks, as appropriate, to keep your blood sugar levels relatively stable.

And, don’t forget about taking regular exercise each week.

When you reach the goals, you might be pleasantly surprised to find that skinniness (or leanness) is a byproduct of health and happiness, not the end result.

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Comments 18

  1. cathy in NZ

    in 2004 – I did have to lose weight but what forced me into the situation wasn’t exactly weight loss

    rather it was because I wanted to be able to run after a fast departing bus without getting breathless…

    this was after my breathing/recent diagnosis of Asthma had more or less righted itself i.e. from only being able to breath like a baby and now at able to breath more like a teenager (without the body of course!)

    I decided that getting fitter was the key…

    In the process I lost weight and I was happier…I could sprint after the bus without collapsing and so forth!!

    A lot of changes to my lifestyle then took place – some great, some not so good. Last year was a huge turning point when life almost went back to the old days…not weight wise exactly but not great

    So in November I made a personal pledge to get my fitness back in order – along the way, a regular medical check-up showed that weight had crept on a bit so I set a higher fitness goal…

    a few weeks ago I was again at the doctor (reg thing) and I have lost 3kg!!

    I’m probably luckier than some people because I live alone and I can decide daily what I am eating/doing without having to take another into consideration…so if I choose not to eat a certain way, I can, I will etc…

    So I never see the whole caboodle as a ‘get skinnier process’ but rather as ‘enough fitness to run/sprint after a departing bus…

    It has worked, the other week the train was threatening to leave me behind…I sprinted down to the carriage, got on and I was recovered by the next stop.

    Last w/end I had to walk fast up a reasonably short but steepish hill and I was absolutely fine at the top – not even breathing hard πŸ™‚


    1. Melanie

      lol Cathy, I am glad that you are able to keep up with those fast departing buses and trains! What a good goal to have set for yourself… and look at how beneficial it has been for you πŸ™‚

      1. Miss Tearious Smile :D

        Melanie, I’m very scared for my brother weight wise. he’s over 50lbs what he should be and he’s only 12. not only that, he’s completely unmotivated. i actually followed some of your other advice and now i lost 13lbs. i want to do the same for my little brother. is there any other way i can help him? πŸ™

        1. Melanie

          I am so glad to hear that you have been able to lose weight yourself. Was it something in particular that I had written about? πŸ™‚

          Your question is a hard one to answer. Unfortunately, your brother needs to come to that decision for himself that weight loss is necessary. But, you can certainly help him along the way. It’s wonderful that he has someone like you who can be such a good role model.

          Here is an article I’ve written on this in the past. It is about how to get your guy to eat healthy, but I think you can modify the info to suit your brother.Also, here is a short article about being a healthy role model.

          Is your brother interested in sports? Perhaps you could encourage him to take up a team sport? Or would he exercise with you?

          Please keep in touch, and let me know if there is anything else I can help you with.

          1. Miss Tearious Smile :D

            Hey it’s me again. Thank you so much for your advice. We finally managed to get him to accept that he is overweight. Yes he does do sports but not only that we managed to get him to eat healthier. it wasn’t an easy task, but it was managed somehow.

            Thank you so much; he’s started to lose weight. I’ve reached my goal and now finally my mom (with diabetes) and dad (high blood pressure) are starting to exercise as well. thank you for all the work you’ve done! πŸ˜€ If there was some other way of thanking you…I truly would. πŸ˜€ keep helping others like you helped my family.

            See ya! πŸ™‚

  2. Taleen

    “When you reach the goals, you might be pleasantly surprised to find that skinniness (or leanness) is a byproduct of health and happiness, not the end result.”

    Love your concluding sentence. Thank you again for a very real, honest article.

  3. Jackie-O

    This is an amazing article. I tried so hard to be skinny and I sure was. I was barely eating, feeling like crap, and not living a productive life. I appeared thin, but I did not have a good attitude, for I was malnourished, and overall cranky. Now, I focus on getting proper nutrients while eating a normal amount of calories and I feel so much more balanced. I also have the energy to exercise and am starting to appear healthy and glowing. When you eat your meals spread out evenly throughout the day and consume meals that satisfy you, you feel more balanced and life is much more smooth. πŸ™‚

    1. Melanie

      Hi Jackie-O,
      I’m so glad to read your comment… I love how you said you now feel healthy and glowing! Wonderful!! Do you follow a particular diet, or just “healthy eating?”

  4. Melanie

    Miss Tearious Smile,
    Your comment made me so happy… what a wonderful story. You are an inspiration. How are things going with you all these days? I know it won’t always be easy, but it’s amazing that you are all working on this together πŸ™‚

    I wish you all the very best. Please do stay in touch and update me on your families progress.

    1. Miss Tearious Smile :D

      haha. im glad your happy. Well i may not be able to lose anymore weight but i still exercise and look up your facts for healthier foods and exercise. My little brother is actually starting to get little ( πŸ˜‰ ) and my parents are having a little issue with losing weight, but im sure its because they’re not 16 and 12.

      They are impressed with your knowledge, especially the 7 Steps exercise one. πŸ˜€ thank you very much for wondering. we are doing the best we can. Our goal is to look fabulous by July (I’m already there…no bragging or anything like that. πŸ˜‰ but who’s complaining?)

      I’ll let ya know how we are by the middle of June if we need anymore advice. Though im sure thats a no doubter. lol. Thank you again.

  5. Maddy

    i focus on getting fit, i focus on eating right exercising regularly and eating small snacks throughout the day , the weight still won’t budge matter of fact i sometimes get on the scales and i gain a kilo … I’ve gained 3 kilos since october last year and now i want to lose them again but i just can’t no matter how hard i try WHY!!!!!!!! :(:(:(:(:(:(

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