I just started to go to LA Fitness. I’m a 23-year-old female, I weigh 205 lbs., and I’m 5’4″. I struggle with food. I’ve been on multiple diets, lost weight, restricted myself and end up giving up because it wasn’t sustainable, gaining it back. Calorie counting just seems very tedious and writing things down as well. Is there a way of eating that doesn’t involve measuring out everything in order to lose weight? Or any advice/suggestions?

– Marissa R.


I agree that you should remove the focus on portions and calorie restriction. For chronic dieters, experts in weight management recommend making permanent lifestyle changes the goal. Creating realistic goals and developing healthy habits that last are key to an “un-diet” approach. No mention of calories or measurements in The National Weight Control Registry’s summary of its registrants’ four most common habits*: eat breakfast every day, weigh themselves once a week, watch less than 10 hours of TV per week and exercise about 1 hour daily.

Knowledge is power! I believe that a simple foundational understanding of nutrition can help frame your outlook and shift your thinking away from weight, towards nourishing your body. Have you read our Living Healthy articles on nutrition basics, weight loss tips, a Mediterranean style of eating, mindfulness, and social support? For more in-depth learning consider a mass open online course (MOOC) on nutrition fundamentals. Several are free (taken as an audit, not for credit) and available from trusted sources like respected U.S. universities with credentialed instructors.

*The NWCR is the largest prospective investigation of long-term successful weight loss maintenance.  accessed 6/4/2019


– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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