5 Guidelines on How to Reflect Effectively

Luuze’s philosophy is that you can lose weight using 3 steps:

  1. Track your progress (accurately)
  2. Get honest feedback about that progress
  3. Reflect on that feedback and make adjustments. 

This post discusses the third step: reflection. It can often be the most difficult step!

An Example of Great Reflection – Darla’s Journey

If you haven’t yet read Darla’s success story, I highly recommend you do: it’s a great example of how a person can struggle with weight loss to start, but if they can reflect on the challenges and successes, they can succeed. Darla’s trend weight gave her feedback on whether or not the things she was doing actually created weight loss for her. Her reflections allowed her to focus on the right things to actually lose weight and become successful.

darla's before and after
Darla, before and after Luuze.
Darla's chart - reflection to eventually succeed
Through reflection, Darla figured out the triggers that actually created successful weight loss for herself.

The Power of Reflection

Reflection is where the magic actually happens and where your damaged feedback loop (which is the root cause of weight gain) actually gets repaired.

When done right, this step leads you to permanent weight loss. Eureka moments can occur that totally change your outlook on how weight loss actually works for your unique self. These insights then can lead you to long-term success, because your skill of weight loss has now permanently improved.

When done wrong, feelings of frustration, stress, and even impacts on one’s mental health can occur. Too often people take the wrong conclusions from the feedback provided to them on their weight loss journey, causing undue grief or feelings of hopelessness.

This is why it’s important to do reflection right.

Although how a person reflects effectively is unique for each person, here are a few guidelines to consider to ensure that reflection moves you towards progress.

  1. Create a process for reflection
  2. Seek honest truth, but balance it with forgiveness
  3. Remember to reflect on the successes too
  4. Determine the next action that comes out from your reflection – the most important step!
  5. Reflect on your reflection process

Guideline #1: Create a Process for Reflection

Much like the other steps, reflection is most effective when done on a regular basis. Things get done on a regular basis when there is a consistent process to it. Consider setting a specific time aside to reflect on the day, whether it be immediately following your weigh-in, or just before you go to bed.

Some people have told me that they reflect by taking pictures of what they have eaten during the day and then looking at the photos in the evening. Others have told me that they write a brief diary at the end of the day.

For some people, the process doesn’t have to be difficult or detailed: Even just a brief sentence written in the notes section of every weigh-in in Luuze can be sufficient, or even just a mental reflection every day. For others, deeper reflection may be more beneficial. What’s important is that the process works for you, and allows you to gain insight and take action on a regular basis.

Guideline #2: Seek Honest Truth, Balanced with Forgiveness

The process of reflection can be scary. Sometimes, people hesitate to self-reflect because it can expose their weaknesses, mistakes, or failures. When these things are exposed, we can feel terrible and potentially beat ourselves up. Negative feelings like these generally don’t support us on our weight loss journey.

If we get these negative feelings, we may think that the truth is that we don’t have it in us, weight loss is impossible, or we’re failures. These are lies.

At the same time, the honest truth is that many people DO suck at weight loss… right now. That’s fine! Many people don’t actually understand their bodies and how it works, for various reasons. They are on the far left side of the weight control spectrum. That’s why we’re working on repairing the feedback loop!

The risk of reflection is that if a person is lacking confidence, it can bring about self-pity, or sadness. It can also reinforce ignorance as people’s egos attempt to protect themselves from their mistakes. They come to potentially incorrect inconclusions, either blaming themselves when they should be reflecting on the environmental factors that cause weight loss, or do the opposite and blame external factors when they should actually be focusing on themselves.

But the advantage of reflection when done right is that it can expose issues, internal or external. This exposure allows us to improve things for the next time around.

This is why it’s also important to balance the exposure of these setbacks with self-forgiveness. Setbacks are a natural part of every journey. In fact, setbacks are what make the story.

And because weight loss is a skill, the only way to actually improve is to actually make mistakes! Exposing why these setbacks happened is the very first step into discovering the problem, which in turn allows us to discover a solution.

I like to switch the perspective: the more setbacks you make, the more opportunities there are to repair your feedback loop and the more lessons you get to learn! Setbacks, as long as you learn from them, will actually accelerate the improvement of your weight loss skillset.

I would rather take three years to lose the weight I need to but learn all of the skills and techniques necessary to maintain my weight for the rest of my life, rather than lose all the weight I needed to in 6 months but have no idea how to maintain that new weight. It’s why many people who go on fad diets just regain the weight: they haven’t actually learned anything.

Guideline #3: Remember to Reflect on the Successes Too

Too often, people only reflect during periods when they encounter setbacks. Equally important is to reflect on the points where you are succeeding on your weight loss journey. This is why Luuze offers questions for reflection when you are doing well – these reflections may actually be even more important!

When you actually reflect on the things that have caused you success on your weight loss journey, you can reinforce these habits, which will lead you to further success. These reinforced habits then become a new lifestyle, which will create permanent weight loss.

If something is working, then figure out what it is and keep doing it!

Guideline #4: Determine the Next Action

Reflection is just one part of the equation. Actually acting on the conclusions of your reflections is the key step. Just like if a swimmer realizes that their stroke is incorrect, it isn’t just going to get fixed just by understanding it. The swimmer has to take actual action in adjusting their stroke. They may need to experiment with doing things in a way that they aren’t used to, or they may need to get further feedback on what they need to do next.

In the process of taking this actual action, they may actually end up swimming slower at first. This is the same with weight loss: the next action may actually end up creating what may feel like another setback. However, eventually, with enough experimentation and reflection, an improvement can occur.

Sometimes the act of reflection makes us feel like we’ve accomplished something, but it’s important to actually act on the reflections. If you find yourself struggling with this point, think smaller. Even the smallest action or adjustment can make all the difference! Here is a list of 17 ideas.

Guideline #5: Reflect on Your Reflection Process

When you reflect on your weight loss journey, how do you feel? Does the process motivate you to act? Or does it cause you to want to just give up and quit? If you act after you reflect, great. If you always get negative feelings or get feelings of self-sabotage, it’s important to reflect on why.

For many people, there are often a lot of emotions attached to the process of weight loss (and gain). The process can bring about anxiety and negative emotion. If the reflection process brings about feelings of self-hatred or anger every single time you do it, then it’s not a good process! Many people give up on weight loss because they think they have to be perfect. The truth is that almost every weight loss journey has plateaus and periods where weight gain occurs.

Because the process of effective reflection is critical in weight loss success, it may be worth reflecting on how to improve this process before focusing on weight loss. Once you find a process that is more positive and leads to effective action, that is when it may be worth continuing the journey.

Bonus Guideline: Reflect the Same Way You Solve Problems

Related to guideline #5, the process of reflection is really a process that helps you solve problems. If you looking to improve your ability to reflect, think to yourself: how do you usually solve problems? Do you solve them by writing things down, or by experimenting with new methods? Some people reflect alone, while others talk out their problems with a friend.

Think about the challenges you have overcome and the problems you have solved in the past. What external resources or internal skills did you use to solve them? Doing the same thing for weight loss can support weight loss success.

Reflection Supports Permanent Weight Loss

picture of a reflection of a tree

Losing weight and losing weight permanently are two very different things.

You can lose weight by eating fewer calories than you use. We all have done this at least one day in our lives, I’m sure. But to be able to do this day in and day out on a regular basis is the only thing that causes permanent weight loss. Doing this requires an understanding of WHY we eat more calories than we use. This is a question that can be difficult to answer, but once answered, can enable the control of our weight.

This is what reflection does. It allows us to dig deeper into the root cause of our challenges, which then allows us to address them, solving the problems for good. If you can develop an excellent reflection and adjustment process, then you’ll be will on your way to successful, permanent weight loss.

7 Reasons For That Pesky, Unexplainable Weight Gain

unexplainable weight gain

Unexplainable weight gain can be one of the most frustrating things that can happen on a weight loss journey. It’s also one of the biggest reasons why people give up on losing weight.

I’ll summarize some of the most common reasons below. These reasons may help you properly reflect on your own unique challenges around unexplained weight gain.

Remember, an unexplainable weight gain is NOT a sign that your body is destined to never lose weight. Taken from a different perspective, these gains can actually be a good thing. They are an opportunity to further develop your skill of weight loss and better understand your body. Improving this skill will help your self-awareness, which then enables you to fix your damaged feedback loop.

Reason #1: Increased Physical Activity

unexplainable weight gain - exercise

Did you know that increased exercise makes you retain an immense amount of water weight? This water weight can be upwards of 3-4 pounds. It can continue to increase for 3-4 weeks while your body gets used increased physical activity! Here are some references (123).

This water weight increase is actually very good for you! It’s because you’re storing more glycogen, which is powerful energy for your muscles. You WANT this type of weight gain, as it gives you more energy and makes you stronger, unlike fat.

There’s a sad but very common scenario that happens often. A person gets inspired to lose and starts to exercise. Unfortunately due to this glycogen water retention, they observe no progress on the scale. They then quit, even though in 3-4 weeks the glycogen weight increase would have stabilized. They would have started to see all of their good habits show on the scale.

If you have unexplainable weight gain but you’ve increased your physical activity recently, it’s almost a certainty a portion of that weight gain is due to glycogen. If you are genuinely still eating at a caloric deficit, your weight will likely continue back on its downward trend.

There is another reason that increased physical activity can cause weight gain, however: people often get hungrier and eat more when exercising. This can often be completely subliminal. I can easily gain weight if I don’t keep an eye on my weight when I begin a new exercise routine.

Here’s a more detailed article about how it is totally normal to gain weight when starting exercise.

I’d recommend shifting your goal date out a month if you start exercising and see this happening. Doing so will reduce the odds of discouragement. Sticking with the process is more important than achieving a number on a certain date.

Reason #2: Subtle Dietary Adjustments

unexplainable weight gain - diet

There’s something about pasta that triggers my body. I gain 2+ pounds on the scale the next day when I eat it. Although this does not happen to everybody, refined carbohydrates are notorious for making people retain an immense amount of water.

There often seems to be trigger foods that certain people have that cause their bodies to react. The better we can understand what these trigger foods are, the better we can recognize what’s going to happen to our weight when we eat these foods.

Another example: I had a friend that whenever she hit a plateau on her weight loss journey, would try to double down on caloric reduction, drinking diet sodas instead of caloric juices. What she didn’t understand was that diet sodas caused her to bloat immensely. She would gain (temporary water) weight even though she was actually on a caloric deficit and get incredibly frustrated. When she discovered this connection, it was like a Eureka Moment for her. She stopped drinking diet soda, which helped stabilize her weight fluctuations and reduced her frustrations around weight loss significantly.

The opposite can also be true: if you change your diet, your water retention may shift downwards! You might think that this new diet is the most amazing thing on earth. Eventually, the water weight will stabilize and you may wonder why you are no longer losing weight at same rate.

If you are gaining weight for an unexplainable reason, reflect on if you have done anything different with your diet. Even small changes can cause variations in water weight that impact your weight.

Reason #3: Your Scale Is Off

unexplained weight gain - scale

The scale lies, but sometimes the scale REALLY lies. If the scale is broken or off-calibration, the numbers may be completely different than a week ago.

If you buy a new scale, be aware that the numbers may not exactly match the previous scale. Additionally, if you regularly move your scale around or it’s an old one that doesn’t calibrate itself well, the number could be off.

If there has been a recent unexplainable weight gain, reflect on if you have moved the scale to a different location, or if you may have damaged the scale somehow. If you use another scale and the numbers are significantly different, one of the scales is off. It may be worth adjusting your start weight on your goal to match the difference between the two scales.

It can feel discouraging if you realize you’re actually a higher weight than you thought you were due to scale mis-calibration. Remember that the trend is so much more important than the actual number on the scale. You haven’t actually changed and as long as your trend keeps going in the right direction you will succeed.

Reason #4: You’re Being Inconsistent With Your Weigh-Ins

Similar to the reason above, if you weigh yourself with different scales regularly or in different places, or at different times, or with different clothes, the numbers will flucutate like crazy. Try to weigh yourself at the same place at the same time with the same scale, optimally right in the morning after you go to the bathroom.

Reason #5: Physiological/Hormonal Changes

Particularly for women, the onset of a period can cause immense water retention or bloat. If this happens at the same time every month, then it is important to recognize that once the hormones change back to your normal state, the water weight will go off. Hormonal changes in men can also cause water retention, and things like stress can also cause hormonal changes.

If there has been a recent unexplainable weight gain, reflect on if there have been changes in your life that may have caused hormonal changes. Stress, dietary changes, or health issues can cause hormonal changes. Although rare, health issues like cancer can cause hormonal shifts which then can cause rapid weight gain or weight loss. Speak with a doctor if all of these other issues don’t seem to apply to your situation and you are experiencing rapid weight gain or weight loss.

Reason #6: You’re Not Sh*tting

I bring this up because it can actually be a big reason why the scale doesn’t move, but people often are unaware of this. The amount of stool we have in our bodies can get up to 3-5 pounds. If you haven’t pooped in a while, this may be the reason the number on the scale is higher than expected. Once you poop, you’ll lose the weight.

Reason #7: You’re Actually Eating Too Much

There is also a very common reason why this could be happening: fat gain due to eating more calories than you are using. If this obviously the case in your situation, then good—the obvious next step is to get back into a caloric deficit. I say this is good because knowing why you are gaining weight is immensely valuable. Knowing allows you to reflect and then search for a solution.

Many of us who try to lose weight may be denying that we are doing this. It’s very possible that we are right: the 6 reasons above are some of the reasons where the number on the scale can go up even though we are in a caloric deficit.

Unfortunately it’s also extremely easy to lie to ourselves. I was regularly guilty of doing this in the past.

There’s a British reality television show called Secret Eaters (episodes are on YouTube if you are interested in watching). The show tracks people who are looking to lose weight with cameras following them around. At the end of the week, people are shown a list of all the food and drink that they have consumed. Without fail, the people are shocked, refuse to believe the calorie counts, and deny that they’ve eaten that much. They are then shown the video footage where they have eaten 1000 calories of snacks between meals, or drank a few glasses of wine each night, proving to them that they are consuming many more calories than they have estimated.

We chuckle at the characters at the show, laughing at how delusional they could be. However, many of us are delusional too when it comes to how much we actually eat! Humans will mindlessly eat if food is around. If you have a snack drawer at work or pantry somewhere you can test this for yourself. Lock the drawer or door and see how often you walk to the pantry or try to open the drawer. I did this at work one week to test myself and I found myself unconsciously trying to open my snack drawer regularly!

This should actually be expected. Eating less than your body needs to maintain its weight is not natural at all! Think about it from an evolutionary standpoint. Humans who would naturally eat less than they need to on a regular basis would have greater odds of dying out, replaced by those that naturally consume enough calories to actually survive. To lose weight, being actively conscious of our eating habits is often required.

Does this mean that trying to lose weight is a pointless uphill battle? Absolutely not. It just means that a conscientiousness about eating is beneficial. One thing that I recommend for people that struggle to understand why they gain weight even though they feel like they are doing everything right is to take pictures of everything they eat throughout the day, no matter how small. Doing this can increase the conscientiousness of eating, which can reduce this risk of unconscious eating.

What’s The Reason For Unexplainable Weight Gain? Reflect!

unexplained weight loss - why?

I list many reasons above that explain unexplainable weight gain, but everybody’s weight loss journey is different and it could be something else. Reflect on the past week and see if there have been any subtle differences between the last week and prior times where you were losing weight successfully. Think back on when you were doing really well on weight loss and try to replicate that.

What’s important is that you don’t let unexplainable weight gain interfere with your weight loss journey! Don’t let it discourage you. As mentioned above, it can be an opportunity to learn.

The more you understand how your body works and how your mind and body reacts to certain foods, the more you can start understanding the reasons behind every weight gain and weight loss that happens. And the more you understand, the more you fix your feedback loop and the more you shift right on the weight control spectrum. At the beginning of my weight loss journey I often didn’t fully understand why my weight went up or down. Now however, I have a solid understanding about why my weight goes up or down.

As always, your weight loss journey is unique. Although there are a lot of common truths around weight loss, everybody has different challenges and the person that actually has the most important information to discover the solution is you. Using Luuze helps you make regular reflections, asking you the right questions at the right times so you improve your skill of weight loss and repair your feedback loop, losing weight for good.

4 Steps To Restart Weight Loss After Stopping

restarting weight loss: it's not linear.

Restarting weight loss can be tough. Something can come up, we stop our weight loss journey, waiting for a better time. If it happens regularly, it can become discouraging, making us feel like we’re a failure.

The truth is that getting off track is part of the journey. It happens to everyone. And believe it or not, getting off track can be a good thing. It can mark milestones that are remembered as the best parts of our story. Often, challenges are how we get eureka moments that trigger big insights that allow us to repair our feedback loop.

The key to restarting is by understanding why we got off track and discovering the underlying reasons. We can then set up an achievable plan on how to restart. This post shares some steps on how to do this.

Step 1: Understand Why You Paused Our Journey

The first step in solving any problem is to understand why the problem occurred in the first place.

Unfortunately, sometimes we feel that the reason is that we’re a failure or that we don’t have it in us. This is a lie, and the fact that you’re reading this looking for a solution is proof. As long as you’re still looking for a solution you haven’t failed. You don’t fail, you succeed or you learn.

Why we pause a journey is related to the three factors of the Weight Control Spectrum. These are environmental reasons, physiological reasons, and mental reasons.

Environmental Reasons

Has something changed in your environment that may have caused you to gain weight? A shift in responsibilities that has forced you to adjust your routines, or new external temptations? It doesn’t even have to be a huge environmental change. Years ago, a pizza chain started this deal where you could get a $5 medium pizza, hot and ready. It was such a great deal and I loved deals. I would regularly go there for lunch, sometimes even eating the whole pizza which was probably 1500+ calories. Good deal for my wallet but a terrible deal for my health. This link is an example of a similar story.

Physiological Reasons

A change in our physiology can be a reason why we stop trying to lose weight. Back pain, a broken bone, a long-term illness, or even a short-term illness can be a reason why we stop. Sometimes, even after we recover, bad habits we built while we were out of commission may stick. I remember getting into an exercise routine but then herniating a disc in my back so badly that I couldn’t go to work for a week. It took months of recovery and then months beyond that to eventually get back into an exercise routine.

Mental Reasons

Mental reasons can be one of the biggest reasons why we stop a weight loss journey. There are many examples of this:

  • The scale isn’t budging, whether it’s because it lies or because we actually aren’t losing weight. We stop because we aren’t making progress or no longer believe.
  • Increased stress can make us eat self-medicate by eating more, and we may not even realize it.
  • Something else in our life takes up a bunch of our mental energy. We then reduce the amount of mental energy we may need to support our weight loss journey.
  • Something in our lives causes us to get sad or depressed. This can dramatically adjust the hormones in our body which in turn impacts our weight.

Basically, every reason why we stop losing weight is due to these factors, or a mixture of all three. Here’s an example: because of the pandemic, people have gained an immense amount of weight. Part of it is due to the fact that many have had to change their environment to work from home, to take care of their children, to take care of their loved ones or even themselves, and also have to deal with the stress and mental load of such a dramatic change.

If you’ve stopped your weight loss journey lately, ask yourself, what is the main reason why? That will help you with the next step.

Step 2: Reflect on the Reasons

restarting weight loss: reflection is important.

Now that you have a reason for why you’ve stopped, it’s time to reflect. The reason can be simple and temporary and if so, that’s great. The reason can be deep and permanent, and that’s okay too because an understanding of this at least gives you a starting point on what needs to be addressed. Here are some key questions for reflection:

  • Is the reason you stopped due to a temporary environmental, physiological, or mental change, or will it be long-term?
  • Have you stopped because of something new that has happened in your life, or is it something that happens to you regularly and repeatedly regardless of the changes that pop up in your life?
  • Were there any specific events, actions, or feelings that may have triggered the stop?
    • Note that this question, much like all reflective questions, needs to be done in a way that is balanced with accountability but also forgiveness. It doesn’t matter if these events, actions, or feelings were “your” fault. What matters is what is done to move forward. Paradoxically, sometimes it’s BETTER if it’s your fault because changing yourself can often be easier than changing externalities. Remember that the point of this reflection is to discover actions to move forward, not to judge ourselves or others.

These reflections can often be hard to do, but when done well, can be immensely powerful for the repair of the feedback loop. If you are struggling with this, ask yourself how you usually solve problems. I often solve problems by writing, so often my reflection is done through writing. If you’re someone who is better at solving problems by talking to people, it may be worth doing these reflections with a friend, partner, or another third party.

Step 3: Use Your Reflections to Answer Two Key Questions

Now that you have more insight into why you’ve stopped, it’s now time to address the why and find a solution. Depending on how deep the problem is, it may be as simple as a micro-change, or take more time. Even if it takes time, small micro-steps can be the pathway to an eventual solution. There are two key answers that should be answered:

  1. What will I do to get back on track?
  2. What will I do if the same issue that caused me to stop comes back in my life?

The more detail and confidence you have in your answers, the better. That being said, getting clear answers to these questions can be incredibly challenging, and can take time. This is where step 4 can come in.

Step 4: Determine the Minimum Effort Action

Reflecting on the way and answering the questions above are extremely valuable. However, one additional step that is critical is to convert these thoughts into action. Unfortunately, especially if the reasons for pausing are temporary, the reflections above can provide us with an excuse to stick with status quo. The actions may also feel so big that they cause us to hold off on acting.

The truth is that the only thing that can stop a stop is going. In my experience, the best way to get started too is to make it as simple as possible to restart. Thinking about the minimum effort action that you can make right now can often be the thing that removes any friction from getting started, allowing you to restart. Ask yourself this question:

What is the minimum low-effort action that I can take RIGHT NOW to get back on the journey, or at least, prevent myself from going backward?

Even if the action is so small that it only takes 2 minutes, 2 minutes is better than nothing. By committing to a minimum effort action that gives you no excuses, you can break through inaction and create momentum.

Two Examples: Temporary Tammy and Deeper Debbie

Here are a couple of scenarios that may help you understand how this process can be used for your own unique situation.

Temporary Tammy and the Broken Leg

Tammy was off to a great start, using Luuze to lose 5 pounds in January. This success put her ahead of schedule for her goal of losing 50 pounds this year. Unfortunately, an unforeseen accident caused her to break her leg. Not only was she unable to do any serious physical activity, but she was also unable to weigh herself to track her progress. The situation caused her to not only regain the 5 pounds she lost, but she also regained another 5. Although her cast is due to come off in a couple of weeks, Tammy is pretty dejected. It’s now April and the odds of her achieving the goals she set out at the beginning of the year are unlikely to come true. This reality makes her not want to get back on the journey. Tammy reflects on her experience.

  1. Understanding why she paused:
    • The main reason was physiological because she broke her leg. This also impacted her ability to go out and exercise (an environmental shift). The fact that she’s now feeling bad because she’s behind on her goal is also a mental shift.
  2. Reflecting on the reasons:
    • The leg break was temporary and will heal, allowing Tammy to get back to the January state where she was succeeding. She just has to be patient. The trigger for this leg break was a bit of a freak accident, so there’s no reason to dwell on that, but the fact that the accident prevented her from weighing herself was likely a cause of weight gain for her. As she reflected on how falling behind on her goal made her feel, she realized that due to the accident, the goal turned from a motivator into a demotivator.
  3. Answering the two key questions:
    1. What will I do to get back on track?
      • Recognizing that the leg break is temporary, Tammy makes a commitment that she will get right back on track when her cast is off. Because she now has 55 pounds to lose, she shifts her weight loss date target to June of next year instead of forcing herself to try to make up for lost time. This allows her goal to become a motivator again.
    2. What will I do if the same issue comes back?
      • She recognizes that being active and keeping track of her weight were important factors to her weight loss success in January. She makes a commitment and mental note to herself that if she ever encounters a future situation where she is forced to limit her physical activity or will be unable to weigh herself, she will find alternatives.
  4. Determining the Minimum Effort Action:
    • Although her cast is still on now and she’s still not really in the mood to exercise or calorie count just yet, the minimum effort action she takes is to start writing about how she will get back on track. Over the next two weeks, she ends up writing a list of physical activities to do when she is out of her cast, details out her defining motivation, and now has a plan to get right back on track when her cast is off.

Deeper Debbie and her Challenges with Perfection

Debbie has been struggling with yo-yo dieting her entire life. At one point she lost over 80 pounds, but regained it all back and then some. She restarted the journey again, losing 20 pounds. She then had a Thanksgiving dinner where a toxic family members made a mean comment about her weight, triggering her to overeat. The weigh-in the next day showed her the evidence that she over-ate, and this made her feel terrible, making her binge. Terrified of what the scale will now say, she’s stopped her journey. Debbie reflects on her experience.

  1. Understanding why she paused:
    • The reasons were partially environmental and partially mental. A toxic family member was one of the triggers. The fear of the scale and what it might say after a binge was another one.
  2. Reflecting on the reasons:
    • Debbie realizes that this particular family member has always been toxic, and she always feels terrible after interacting with them. Reflecting on what happens when she feels terrible, she realizes she stress eats and binges, which causes more stress, creating a vicious cycle. She realizes this has happened regularly and repeatedly in the past. She realizes that the challenges around the interactions with this family member are not temporary and may recur on every family event moving forward.
  3. Answering the two key questions:
    1. What will I do to get back on track?
      • Debbie reflects on her prior successes and failures around weight loss and realizes that she often succeeds when she is in a positive mindset, but turns to binge eating to cope with her stress when she is in a negative mindset. She realizes that in order to achieve her weight loss goals, the issues around binge eating need to be addressed first.
    2. What will I do if the same issue comes back?
      • Realizing that her toxic family member may retrigger her at the next family event, she adds a reminder in her phone before the next event to schedule a phone call with her best friend the day before after the event to have a vent session that will allow her to get the support she needs to deal with the issue and remain in a positive mindset. She also reflects on if there is an opportunity to address the issue of the toxic family member directly.
  4. Determining the Minimum Effort Action:
    • Although it may take time for her deeper issues around perfectionism, binge eating, and toxic family members to be fully resolved, Debbie realizes that the first step to address these issues is to understand them. She starts reading articles around perfectionism and binge eating and commits to reading 15 minutes a day about the topic.

Through this process (and maybe with the support of third-parties if needed), she can eventually shift her mindset which will lead her to permanent success in the future.

Stopping is Okay! Restart Weight Loss and Make Progress Again.

restarting weight loss: you get to choose the future.
Image from the amazing Wait But Why site by Tim Urban

Sometimes when we “fail” and stop our journey, it may seem that we can’t do it. That we don’t have it in us or that our weight is our fate. This is simply not true.

Don’t quit! The truth is that we can get back on track. We can learn from our mistakes and choose a path that leads us to success. However, unless we want to just depend on luck or fate, it is important to understand why we got off track, reflect, and create a plan to make progress again.

This process of continuous tracking, reflection, and adjustment is how I lost 100 pounds and how Luuze helps you repair your feedback loop so you can lose weight permanently.

Luuze Success Story: Marianna’s Journey from Stress to Success

Marianna is a regular poster on the Reddit r/luuzers community, and one of the first people to use Luuze. When I saw her post on the success she had using Luuze for 100 days, I asked her to share her experience. Before Luuze, she was frustrated with calorie counting, but Luuze’s alternative approach has helped her find a sustainable method for weight management.

Through her first 100 days, she was able to lose 12 pounds and 4 inches off her waist. Even more importantly, she transformed the way she thinks about the weight management process. That’s really what Luuze is all about – this transformation is what helps us repair our feedback loops to support permanent weight loss.

Her insights from using Luuze for 100 days and a bit of my commentary are below.

Do you have a success story or experiences that might help others? Let me know at andrew@luuze.com.

Marianna’s Experience

no more calorie counting - Marianna, transforming her lifestyle
Marianna, at the beginning and now during her journey.

The Initial Struggle With Calorie Counting

I’ve tried various methods of calorie counting in the past and, while I’ve had initial success, I have not been able to stick with it for longer than a few months. I never learned anything that “stuck” with calorie counting and I always felt sort of embarrassed that I had to do it. 

I initially found Luuze through an ad on Reddit and noticed a bunch of comments about how it was a rare “good ad.” I read Andrew’s story and felt like the method made sense.  As someone who has always been interested in data, I instantly realized the power of daily data and focusing on the trend. I also just liked Andrew’s philosophy. I was on a different weight management program and was hating every second of it, so I decided to try Luuze for a few weeks just to see how it felt. 

Learning with Luuze

Luuze helped me think more about the specific factors that influence my weight. So instead of just following someone else’s formula by calorie counting, I had to figure out how to get it right myself. I felt more able to eat things I enjoy and just figure out how to balance them out. Luuze also helped me get over the fear of weighing myself. I used to avoid weekly weigh-ins because I didn’t want to see the number. Now that I do it every day it feels much less scary. 

I have had my share of gains and plateaus since starting Luuze. When those happen, I try to reflect on what I’ve done differently and see if I can pinpoint one or two key differences. Then I try to take action on those items the next day. I snapped out of a plateau by reminding myself what worked for me during my first month. It’s common sense but I just went back to doing that and got back on track. It’s easy to drift away from the goal since I don’t count calories but the daily weigh-ins really keep me honest. 

Progress

no more calorie counting - Marianna's weight chart
Marianna’s chart for the first 100 days of using Luuze.

I’m eating more intuitively and I’m just so much less stressed about food. That has given me the energy to encourage others, enjoy time with my family, and exercise.

Another source of my success is being organized about meals. So while I’m not counting calories, I am being intentional about meal planning. I try to prepare as many lunches and dinners over the weekend as possible. This leaves me time and energy during the week to just live. It allows me to make plans when I’m in the right head space and benefit from those plans when things get busy or stressful. 

In 100 days with Luuze I’ve lost about 12 lbs and 4 inches around my waist. I’ve also increased my daily exercise from about 25 minutes per day to 65 minutes per day. I truly believe this is partly due to not spending so much mental energy on calorie counting. 

Beyond the accountability of daily weigh-ins, I have also built other accountability strategies into my daily life. I know from previous attempts at weight loss that increasing exercise helps me do a better job making good food choices. Before I started Luuze, I started using StepBet to give myself accountability for walking a certain number of steps per day. After a month of using it privately, I decided to sign up with a friend for a virtual 17.75k race. Preparing for that has kept me motivated to walk every day and I’ll be finishing that in a few weeks.

One month after starting Luuze, I decided to add strength training to my routine. I chose kettlebells because it’s something I can do at home while my toddler naps and I don’t need much equipment. I added accountability to the equation by finding a personal trainer. I’m working with him now once a week. 

Andrew’s Thoughts

Even though Marianna is still progressing in her journey, Here are some of my thoughts from Marianna’s story:

A weight management program you hate is one you may give up on.

Don’t get me wrong: weight management can feel like a slog, and I’m not necessarily asking you to love the process of losing weight. Every weight loss journey has its frustrations and negative points, especially when a plateau occurs.

But if there’s one thing that I see on the regular, it’s how people torture themselves unnecessarily to lose weight. If the process feels like something that you could do your entire life, the odds of its success are a lot higher. It’s why I aim to make Luuze as simple as possible for you to use, without calorie counting and all that stuff.

It’s your journey and your formula.

Marianna had to figure out a process that worked for her and her lifestyle. For her, one of the things that really helped her was planning meals for the week. Much like Veronica did, she aligned her process with her strengths.

This can be hard, but this is what the feedback loop is all about. If there was one best way of losing weight, we’d all be doing it! Instead, there are multiple methods and multiple ways to succeed, so find the way that works best for you. If it doesn’t work, reflect on why and then make adjustments. Sometimes micro-adjustments may be all that is needed, as well!

Weighing yourself daily doesn’t have to be scary.

The scale lies. Because of this, not only can weighing yourself daily be scary, but it can be extremely demotivating. This is why trend weight is a key feature of Luuze, to help turn the scale from a person’s biggest enemy to their greatest ally.

You can learn more about the benefits of daily weighing by reading this article.

Struggles can be a good thing.

Marianna mentioned that she had her shares of gains and plateaus. However, those struggles helped her build the skill of weight loss. Due to her mindfulness and reflection, she started to learn why she was gaining weight, why she was in a plateau, and over time, figured it out. Amazing!

There’s a paradox about mental energy when it comes to weight loss.

This may be the most important insight in Marianna’s story. After stopping calorie counting, she actually reduced her stress about food, which then gave her the ability to make better decisions around food. There is a real truth to this, and this is why Luuze regularly focuses on the positive. If we invest negative mental effort into our weight loss, it may impact our ability to stick with the program. If we invest positive mental effort, however, our odds of success go up. I talk about this more in my article, three ways to control your weight.

Every Journey Has Great Lessons to be Learned

Marianna’s journey, although still in progress, already has some amazing insights. Discovering these insights is actually what Luuze is all about, because this journey of self-discovery helps us repair our damaged feedback loop and keep the weight off. I’m super excited to see how Marianna progresses on her journey!

If you have any lessons to share, please do! Send me an email at andrew@luuze.com, or post on the Reddit r/luuzers subreddit and share your experience!

Fight the Lies We’re Told About Weight Loss

weight loss lies versus the truth image

Lies are pervasive in the weight loss industry. We’ve all seen the ads for 6-pack abs with no need to do any work. The special pill that will solve all of our problems.

These outright lies aren’t the most dangerous lies, however. The most dangerous lies have some truth to them but don’t tell the whole story. The lies that are true in certain situations and therefore evidence of their “truth” can be created. This evidence is then projected to all situations, making us believe the lie is universally true, even though it’s only true sometimes.

Lies like “we all have a natural weight” or “if you lose weight you’ll just gain it back” or “diets don’t work” all have some truth to them. If we take these statements at face value, why even bother trying to get healthier? It’s just not possible, right?

Well, the truth is that there’s more to the story. Weight loss is absolutely possible. If we can understand where people fail with weight loss, hopefully, we can then better understand how we can succeed. I eventually figured out how, after breaking through a number of these lies, cutting out any excuses I had, so I could finally then succeed and transform my life.

In this post, I’ll be discussing some of the lies that I’ve heard in the weight loss industry. I’ll explain the truth within the lie that makes the lie so believable. I’ll also then explain the REAL, NUANCED truth.

Weight Loss Lie #1: We All Have a “Natural Weight.”

Truth within the lie: Our genetics and physiology has a large influence on how much we weigh.

False conclusion: “Because my body is supposed to weigh X, there’s no point to try to weigh a different number.”

Truth beyond the lie: Our weight is influenced not just by our genetics and physiology, but our environment and our mentality. We can also shift our physiology, to an extent.

Yes, some people are naturally thinner than others. Others have immense struggles in losing weight. Others just need a few micro-changes to lose weight.

Just because we have a natural state does not mean we are therefore destined to be a certain weight our entire lives.

As I mentioned in another blog post, the weight control spectrum, our weight is controlled not just by our genetics, but by a number of factors. Here’s the formula:

Our “Natural” Weight = Physiological Factors + Environmental Factors + Mental Factors

The point I’m trying to make is that although genetics matter, it’s not just genetics that matter. In fact, for MANY of us, the environmental factors matter even more than anything.

Imagine going from a job with a lot of physical activity to one where you are always sitting on a desk. What do you think would happen with your weight? Would it just stay constant? No. You can see this in many professional athletes who retire. They’re no longer the same physique they were when they were playing their sport at a high level. Their new lifestyle has created a new set-point.

With the 2020 pandemic, numerous people have gained weight, yet some have also LOST weight. Their environment was drastically changed and therefore their weight “set-point” changed as well.

Yes, our genetics matter. But other factors matter too, and many of those factors we can actually control. If we start taking control of those factors, we can start taking control of our weight as well.

Weight Loss Lie #2: If You Lose Weight You’ll Just Gain It Back

Truth within the lie: If you lose weight and then go to your old lifestyle and habits, odds are that you will gain it back.

False conclusion: “I’ll just regain the weight anyways, so there’s no point.”

Truth beyond the lie: If you can change your habits, lifestyle, and rewire your brain during the process of weight loss, you can maintain a new weight.

Someone who just started her journey with Luuze inspired this post. She mentioned to me she succeeded with programs in the past. She tried food tracking and it worked for her, but once she stopped, she regained the weight.

In fact, she had a doctor tell her that if she wasn’t willing to track food for the rest of her life, she shouldn’t bother trying to lose weight because she wouldn’t keep it off and then just gain more! Talk about demotivating, especially coming from a source of authority.

There is some truth to this, unfortunately. If you do not repair your broken feedback loop, then odds are that you will regain the weight.

If you fix your broken feedback loop, however, then you will be able to maintain your weight. This is what Luuze is designed to help with.

Weight Loss Is Like Riding a Bike

Weight loss is a bit like riding a bike. LEARNING how to lose weight is like LEARNING how to ride a bike.

If you take on a weight loss program that does the pedaling for you or gives you a tricycle instead of a bike, you can go some distance (lose weight). But once someone stops pedaling for you or the training wheels come off, unless you’ve actually deeply integrated HOW to ride that bike through your journey, you’re going to fall and trip. You won’t be able to do it again, even if you understand the theory behind how you can ride the bike.

You actually have to learn how to ride the bike. Learning how to ride a bike and actually riding a bike are related but are two different things. Learning how to lose weight and actually losing weight are two different things. If you lose weight but you haven’t actually learned how to do it, then yes, you can gain the weight back.

Weight loss often fails if we don’t learn the skill of weight loss.

Food tracking and calorie counting can work for weight loss. Personally, I feel like it’s too much of a hassle for me, but for those that successfully use it to lose weight, all the power to them. Furthermore, like training wheels on a bike, it can be a crutch to preventing a person from truly learning how to lose weight such that they can permanently repair their feedback loop.

I am biased, but I prefer Luuze’s philosophy, where the focus is put on behaviour change to repair that feedback loop. The hope is that people transform their lives permanently not only because they’ve lost weight, but because they’ve learned how to lose weight permanently. That’s why there is such a large focus on self-reflection, questioning yourself, and making small tweaks that stick. Weight loss is a skill that can actually be developed.

Weight Loss Lie #3: Diets Don’t Work

Truth within the lie: Diets don’t work when they are unsustainable or do not become part of a permanent lifestyle.

False conclusion: “Diets are fake and people who promote diets are fake and weight loss is just a scam.”

Truth beyond the lie: If you can make a diet a permanent lifestyle, or adjust your diet to improve your eating habits, a dietary change can dramatically impact how much you weigh.

This lie is connected to the above two lies. Diets often cause temporary weight loss! If you go back to your normal eating habits, odds are that you will regain the weight that you lost. Change creates change… but change back also creates change back.

However, diets such as intermittent fasting and keto and other diets absolutely do work, if you stick with them. The transformations cannot be denied. There are countless examples of how people have successfully used these diets to lose weight. The difference between the people who regain the weight and those that don’t are the ones that have embraced the diet are people who have now made that diet their permanent lifestyle.

I am not a big fan of restrictive diets, personally: I love food and love it all. But the truth is that there are many methods that can be used for weight loss. You can read this article to learn more about all of the weight loss methods (at a high level).

Weight Loss Lie #4: Don’t Weigh Yourself Daily

Truth within the lie: Weighing yourself can be immensely demotivating because the scale lies, not providing you an accurate measure of your actual progress.

False conclusion: “Weighing yourself daily is bad for your health.”

Truth beyond the lie: If you can use trend weight to recognize your progress, weighing yourself daily can be a powerful tool to keep you accountable, motivated, and honest with yourself.

It’s interesting how many people have told me that they have always been told not to weigh themselves daily. I can understand because the bathroom scale can be totally demotivating.

After using Luuze, however, because Luuze calculates trend weight, they’ve often told me that daily weighing has been such a useful thing to do for weight loss. It’s one of the main reasons why I was able to succeed with weight loss, for sure.

Read more about how daily weigh-ins provide value, here.

Understand the Nuance Behind Weight Loss Lies

Weight loss is a multi-faceted topic, with a million variables. Because of this, different conclusions can be made from all the observations and experiences that people have on their weight loss journey. Many of these observations and experiences can be put in a negative light. Lies like weight loss is impossible and that we are destined to weigh what we weigh no matter how much we try.

I’m more optimistic. The fact that weight loss is a multi-faceted issue actually means that there are a million different ways to succeed. If we can find a way that succeeds for us, that we can succeed in self-transformation. Often, these lies are so pervasive because they give us a reason to not believe and to justify our current state. It was only until I started to believe when I was finally able to succeed in losing 100 pounds, and part of what helped me believe was cutting out the lies about weight loss that were ingrained in me since childhood.

Are there any other weight loss lies that you’d like me to discuss? Don’t hesitate to let me know! I’ll add more lies to this post as I get them.