21 micro habits that make weight loss stick: #1: Get a good reason. 

Get a good reason to lose weight, if that’s what you’ve chosen, and remind yourself of it A LOT.

Because as food psychology coach Laura Lloyd explains, you’ll need to anchor yourself to your ‘bigger’ motive when the sh*t hits the fan and you have a bad day.

Plus, she explains why you need these habits way more than any ‘diet’.

Tempted to ‘do a diet’? Sounds exciting? Motivating?

Most people embark upon diets without really doing the ground work.

It just feels energising, for the first couple of weeks, to take action.

But the road to weight loss is a long one of learning to be less impulsive, through trial and error and investigation of your thought patterns. And that starts NOW.

Think hard before you embark on weight loss, whether through dieting or lifestyle. Question your motives. 

Get a good reason to lose weight, if that’s what you’ve chosen, and remind yourself of it A LOT. 

Reminders on your phone, post-its, a cue card in your wallet – repeat repeat repeat your Why. 

Because weight loss – real, sustainable weight loss – isn’t an overnight sensation, and so trust me, you will encounter many many moments when it just doesn’t seem as important as whatever compelling justification your brain’s invented for you to eat something unplanned and outrageous. 

So what is a ‘good’ reason to want to lose weight? 

  1. A good reason is one that comes from you. 

From what YOU really feel is right for the person you want to be. A reason that has your belief in yourself shining through – or at least your belief that you can somehow figure this out. 

  1. A good reason has your future freedom from urges and obsessions vividly imagined. 

So that you can get on with putting your energy into the projects that matter to you and stop arguing with yourself about food you know you’d probably better not eat. 


For me, it wasn’t so much the weight, as the desire to stop overeating. 

Sure, losing 20lb was really eye-opening – but I think I had a hunch I was overeating on the daily, I was just turning a blind eye to it.

But what really changed my life?

The relief! To eat normally, to be able to casually leave food alone when I wasn’t hungry. 

To have authority over my urges, and not be a slave to cravings. 

To leave food alone, and not think about my relationship with my body every minute of the livelong day. 

Something like that, I’d say, is a good reason. I remind myself of these priorities daily. 

What’s a ‘not-good’ reason to want to lose weight?

Sense of obligation. I have to. I really need to. I should. I’ve just gotta do it.

Look – nobody HAS TO lose weight. 

Nobody needs to. In my book. 

Nobody is morally obliged to. 

Society is unspeakably mean and prejudiced and fattist, and we can’t help internalising some of those values. 

You’re already beautiful, good enough, whole and complete, as you are. 

Please, please don’t try to lose weight because you believe the awful cultural narrative that you’re not good enough until you do, or because you just hate being the way you are. 

Let me ask you this: Does the future you, that you dream of becoming, hate her or himself? 

No. Then don’t do it.

Don’t try to punish yourself into changing. 

If you’ve ever been around kids, or been punished as a kid, you’ll know it’s not effective. Skinner and his team of behavioural psychology researchers proved it.

It just makes you hate your oppressor. In this case, hate yourself even more.

Is that the result you want?

Is that the price you want to pay for getting thinner?

Make an agreement with yourself that you aren’t going to do anything – ANYTHING – to try to lose weight, that you don’t want to do for the rest of your life. Including hating on yourself. 

When we do things to please other people, we are trying to control the wrong things: Outcomes. Others’ opinions.

In reality, these are beyond our sphere of influence. 

We think, I’d feel differently about myself, if other people had a different opinion of me. 

But – you’ll hear me say this a LOT – actually, we don’t know other people’s opinions.

We are just imagining what they think of us. ‘Mind-reading’ – a classic Cognitive Behavioural Therapy thought error.

Except the only thing we’re reading, is our own mind, mistakenly taking our own thoughts as truth. 

So the only thing we really need to change to feel better, is what we imagine others’ opinions of us to be. 

Which is why these are only partially helpful reasons – if they are helpful at all.

Other people thinking more highly of us, and us feeling better about ourselves, is not a result that we can control by losing weight.

It’s a result that’s already available to us through choosing better thinking. 

I want you to think about this: In order for that to be a consistent motive for weight loss, we’d have to keep imagining that they won’t love us, or find us attractive, or respect us, or promote us, or whatever – until we’re thin.

Yow! That thought is gonna hurt. 

And when you’ve lost weight, will you suddenly believe everyone thinks highly of you?

Only if you change your thinking. Otherwise, you’ll keep hurting and feeling insecure and paranoid. 

When you’ve lost weight, the part where everyone congratulates you only lasts a couple of weeks. 

Then, you’ll have the rest of your life left, where you have to tell yourSELF how brilliant you are, how proud you are of you, and if you don’t start off pleasing yourself, you won’t have the skills to do that. 

You’ll be thinner, but still looking for validation from others and feeling not-enough. 

If you have a plan to lose weight this year, I want you to really think about what you think it’ll bring you.

It’s not just something to do to follow the crowd or ‘detox’, whatever that means (pooing and drinking water do the same job, IMO). 

I promise you, if you look behind your logic, you’ll have deeper reasons.


Exercise: Try the ‘5 why’ trick.

Ask yourself why you want to lose weight. Write down the answer.

Because I want to look sexier. 

And again, why? 

To be more attractive to my husband. 


Because I miss our connection.


Because I’m a bit preoccupied and don’t pay him much attention. 


Because I’m thinking all the time about my weight and trying to figure it out.


Because I want to become the kind of eater who doesn’t think about it, and has freed up her headspace for the people who matter to her, and for bigger projects. 


Get your journal. That’s something else you’ll hear me say a lot.


Write down all the things you imagine will be better if you lose weight.

And your life can be better, and your weight can be better, but not by magic.

When we work together, that self regard is what we’re going to start creating from the get-go. 

Make this, and every decision in your life from this point forwards, from desire. Not from fear. 

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Just a little side note from me:

Self-judgment is never even slightly helpful, people, if you want to lose weight.

It will stop you in your tracks. Self-judgment creates inaction.

I mean, we think it’s failure that’ll stymie success. That’s not true.

As Brooke Castillo says, failure is not the opposite of success. Inaction is the opposite of success.

Essentially, feeling like a human car crash because you have a lot of thoughts that aren’t helping you, and a lot of habitual behaviours bothering you, just makes it painful to look at what you’re doing, and analyse it.

Which is why we put off leaning in and looking at what we’re really doing when we’re messing up.

But when we do look at it with curiosity, it’s SUCH a relief!

It’s your ability to go into ‘data analysis’ and 'I'm learning new skills' mode that takes the drama out of your weight loss journey:

Scale gone up? Just data – which habit or skill do I need to learn next?

Mum make a snide remark about how you’re ‘getting too thin’? Just data – how can you let other people’s opinions wash off you like water off a duck’s back?

Notice that you ‘can’t’ sit down to work without a road snack to get from the kitchen to your desk? Just data – what am I thinking and feeling about my work?

Go all-out on chocolate one day, and body feels sick and jittery afterwards? Just data – what was I thinking and feeling that day? Does this information from my body change how I think about ‘how much I love’ chocolate?

Self-doubt creates overwhelm. Overwhelm stops you starting. And, once again – that inaction is the opposite of success – not failure.

Failure is very informative. Failure means you’re trying things. It increases your probability of hitting on a solution.

Laura Lloyd

Food Psychology Coach, The School of Food Psychology

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