Dieting Is about More than Getting Skinnier

By Troy Headrick

Over the Thanksgiving break, I made an important decision.  I decided, during one of those holiday periods when people gorge themselves, shoveling the food in with both hands, that I needed to lose some weight. 

Six days ago, at the start of my diet, I stepped on the scale and the device groaned.  I was not surprised when the digital readout of my weight showed a number that I wasn’t proud of.  I’ve always been athletic and played competitive sports when I was a younger dude, so I’m hating the fat guy I’ve become.  Over the past, let’s say, four or so years, I did what happens to many of us.  I’ve grown—pun intended—less self-aware and self-disciplined.  It didn’t help that I’m married to a foodie and maker of extraordinary breads and desserts from the Mediterranean region—my wife’s home turf—which she sells for a pretty penny to people who don’t mind paying up to get real quality. 

As I began to think about this piece, I realized that I wasn’t only writing about how to lose a gut.  I was also looking at how we fall into habits, some of which are like traps.  Of course, not all habits are bad.  Meditating, when practiced habitual, can help the meditator become more meditative, and that’s a good thing.  So, I’m not condemning all routines.  I’m only critical of those that have harmful effects or are practiced mindlessly.

All habits, whether good or bad, are, by definition, things done regularly and routinely.  Unfortunately, due to the recurrent nature of such acts, they gain a kind of inertia that keeps them going even if they no longer make sense.  In other words, we do them without thinking and often to our detriment.  The first step in ending a bad habit it to conduct a critical self-appraisal of how one is living. 

There was a time when consuming everything I wanted to, without considering type of food or quantity, worked for me.  But I was a different person then.  I was younger.  My body processed foods differently.  I wasn’t paying enough attention to the kind of individual I was becoming.  We assume that ways of being that work for us now will continue to be beneficial in the future.  As we change so must we abandon old ideas and practices.  We must live imaginatively rather than clinging to ways that are outmoded.    

Over these past four years, I knew that I was getting bigger than I wanted to be, but because the transformation was so gradual, I was able to convince myself that all was well.  When bad changes come upon us gradually, we often don’t notice them until it’s too late and we’re in trouble.  This is an indication that we’ve quit paying attention and have gotten complacent.

I’m about six days into my diet.  I decided to take a very extreme approach and radically change the kinds of things I was consuming and the amounts consumed.  During the first three or four days, I felt terrible.  I had headaches.  I couldn’t think clearly.  I felt disoriented.  My body and mind were rebelling against this jettisoning of the familiar.  Then, about a day ago, my discomfort began to lessen, and I noticed a clearing in my head.  This was a sign that a new habit was replacing an old one.  I was, in fact, changing, and I stepped on the scale and saw that I had lost six pounds.  Already, there was a little less chubbiness in my face.  A new me was beginning to take shape.

My goal is to lose twenty pounds.  If I’m able to pull that off—and I can be tenacious in my determination to make things happen—I will, in fact, be a new person.  I’m certain as my body changes, so will my mind.  Perhaps, even, the kinds of thoughts I think will be different.  I tend to believe that a dramatic change in one part of a person has deeper and broader consequences. 

Thanks for reading.  I look forward to seeing your comments.


Troy Headrick’s personal blog can be found here and his business page can be found here.

56 thoughts on “Dieting Is about More than Getting Skinnier

  1. Keep it up, Troy! 6 days is great progress. It’s great that you persevered and got past the headaches and terrible feelings. It will get easier as time passes by. When I started my own fitness journey at the beginning of 2019, I lost 6lbs over 9 days…and I just kept going with my journey and haven’t stopped! I hope you reach your goal but never “stop” your fitness journey. Cheers, Mary.

    1. Thanks, Mary, for the fantastic encouragement. Yes, I’m absolutely determined. Because of the COVID-19 situation, I work from home which means I’ve spent months just sitting in front of my computer. Of course, I exercise after work, but I’m going to start incorporating stretching activities during the workday. Even though it’s only been a short time, I already feel so much better. I’ve notice lots of little changes too. For example, my skin looks clearer and healthier and such small changes as that. Thanks so much for sharing your inspiring story. Take care.

  2. I am right there with you. 2 years ago I reached my max weight -outside of being pregnant- and was so disgusted with myself that I joined a diabetes intervention program at work to get it under control. I was not diabetic but figured I was headed that way. It was hard work to fight my wants vs. my needs but I did lose a good 18 lbs. thanks to weekly group meetings that kept me in check. After it ended, I was able to keep 12 lbs. off long term by exercising every day.
    Even after Covid started and I started working from home. I was still being good but as that time frame stretched, my will waivered and now I find myself back where I was 2 years ago. Why is it so easy to fall out of a habit and so hard to create a new one?

    1. I wish you luck as you battle to return to your healthier ways. In my case, I was eating when I wasn’t necessarily hungry, and I often found myself snaking throughout the day. In truth, I love food, but I now know that I’ll have to love myself more than the act of eating. Like you, I work from home, and that was part of the problem, but I’ve developed really unhealthy eating habits over the past five years. In the past, when I lived overseas, I didn’t need to own a car so walking was just part of my everyday life. Americans overreliance on the automobile is a very unhealthy way of being. Thanks so much for sharing your story. I wish you all the best as you struggle with this situation.

    1. Fred, I’m dreaming of that day! And I could make it happen too, right now, but I’ve got to get my significant other on board with the idea. For certain, we’ve got the wherewithal to quite work overseas somewhere. That’s the plan too. It’s just a matter of when we’ll do it. Are you retired in the US? Have you ever thought about moving abroad where life is cheaper and simpler? In fact, when I lived overseas, I didn’t own an automobile and lived carless for about twenty years. That was the healthiest time of my life, and I hope to return to that way of living too. As always, it’s a pleasure to hear from you.

      1. My American parents are aging which is the primary reason I returned to the US, so I know what you mean. The years I lived overseas changed me, though, and I’m itching to get out there, in parts unknown, again. My wife is from Egypt which means that her family is over there. So, things are a bit complicated. Cheers, man, and keep on keeping on.

  3. IF8-16 is a very effective, simple, no-cost approach to weight loss proven to reduce serum sugar and cholesterol and improve the immune system. Upwards of 17 formal clinical trials, with the worst assessment that it’s at least as good as any other diet. I’ve used it. Works.

      1. Hi, E. L. That’s two votes for Vic’s method. I’m definitely going to have to look into it. How are things? I’ll reach, via email, this weekend.

  4. Loads of relate here man. Dont put too much pressure on yourself or everything will feel like a battle. A week in is a great start. Don’t forget to reward yourself one way or another for your hard work. You’ll smash this

    1. Hey, BINNZYtheWRITER, I like your user name. Do you blog? If so, post your link here so that we can check out your stuff.

      It’s feeling more and more effortless every day. I’m already noticing amazing changes too. For example, my head feels less cluttered. I guess stuffing myself with crap was even bad for the thinking process. Plus, my skin already looks clearer and healthier. Like I said in my piece, a consequential change in one part of life will necessarily have positive effects in other areas too.

      Thanks for the encouragement and for leaving a comment!

      1. Hey Troy, thanks, i inherited it myself haha.

        Thats good to hear man. Always difficult to start with. Once ya get through the initial struggle, thats when it gets better. Haha. Also makes things easier when you read up the benefits. Keeps me motivated on days I struggle, well sometimes. Completely agree with you with the single change rolling to bigger and better things. Keep it going. And thanks for the motivation.

        Yeah I do also blog, it is

        Hope you find something you enjoy

      2. Thanks for the link. As you know, I visited your site yesterday and left a comment. I think putting a link here will also help others find your site. Keep on writing, man. I like your conversation style. All the best. I’ll return to your site regularly. Thanks again for the encouragement.

  5. Good work!! It’s great that you noticed results quickly- for me, that makes things easier to stick with .
    My habit – 6 minutes of planks. Every.Day. For the past five years. It’s really what made me a new person.
    For me, it’s a habit that is reassuring.
    Enjoy the journey to the NewYou!!

    1. Hi. I’m not sure what “planks” are. Would you mind educating me a bit on what those are? Is it a workout routine. I’m totally interested because I’m completely willing to try new things. Your use of the word “journey” is very appropos. It is a journey I’m taking. Thanks so much for the tip and for the wonderful comment.

      1. Hi Troy – a plank is a yoga pose, a great exercise for strengthening your oblique abdominal muscles. I tried, unsuccessfully, to paste an image here – you can Google it.
        More than the physical strengthening, for me it’s also a mind exercise. If you can do this, you can do anything!! 🧘‍♂️🧘‍♂️🧘‍♂️

      2. Thanks for the explanation. I’m going to look for a video demonstration. A few years ago, I regularly did what I thought of as homemade yoga, which mostly consisted of stretches I invented myself. I knew they were good because they felt good. I could actually feel my muscles “applauding” as I did them. I’m also reintroducing my stretches into my workout routine. You’ve prompted me to learn a couple of real yoga moves. Thanks for the encouragement. All the best to you and yours.

      3. You had no idea !!! Now … don’t feel compelled to respond to my comments … enjoy your day !! 🙏 🧘🏻

  6. Any kind of eating plan is a diet technically. 😛 I never dieted even when I wanted to lose weight. I just eat more healthy and exercise more. Seems to work instead of depriving my body of food. I always ate relatively healthy anyways because that is how I was raised. There should be no need to restrict your diet if you are eating normal portions and not junk everyday. I eat junk food here and there, have quick meals once in awhile, but it is not everyday. My dad always told me a little bit of everything is good, but too much of anything is bad and I try to live by that. 🙂

    1. The idea of living in a balanced way goes back to the ancient Greeks and Romans. Like you, I try to achieve a healthy equilibrium in all things. Saddly, though, I got out of balance with my food. I’m lucky that I live with a foodie and eat really well, but I found myself snacking all the time and eating when I wasn’t even hungry. That’s not eating to live; that eating as entertainment. It sounds like you were raised wisely. I’m also on a wise path now too. Thanks so much for your comment.

    1. Hi, Tim. It’s good to see you. As you know, you’re one of my favorite folks on this comments board. Yeah, like you, the pandemic was hard on me. I had to work from home–still do–which meant I just sat in front of a computer all day and turned into a slug. I’m determined to make a dramatic change now and am already seeing wonderful changes in my body and mind. Good luck to you, my friend, and thanks for dropping by.

  7. Very interesting, I’ve been weight conscious all my life! I love to walk and it has helped me maintain a good healthy weight. I’m now 38 and I weigh 125lbs 🙂 During the pandemic I have been a bit inactive and lazy but I balanced that thing with eating less and eating healthy. Stay safe, keep writing.

    1. Hi, Maria! Nice to hear from you! Yes, walking is a wonderful way to stay fit and see the world. I lived overseas for many years and always walked wherever I went in those days. Relying so much on the automobile has contributed to my situation. I think you hit upon one of the secrets: eating less and eating healthy. Thanks for sharing your story. Take care and keep in touch.

  8. Well done with the weight loss….you are doing great. My husband has serious weight issues, his passion is carbs, trying to break bad habits of any kind is very hard. I wish you much luck in your weight loss goal.

    1. Thanks for the encouraging words. You know, the day I decided to begin my life change, there was this little voice inside of me that said, “I’m not going to continue like this.” I guess I just knew that the time was right. I hope your husband hears a similar voice. I wish you and yours all the best, and thanks for participating in this conversation.

  9. “All habits, whether good or bad, are, by definition, things done regularly and routinely. Unfortunately, due to the recurrent nature of such acts, they gain a kind of inertia that keeps them going even if they no longer make sense. In other words, we do them without thinking and often to our detriment. The first step in ending a bad habit it to conduct a critical self-appraisal of how one is living. ”
    Very much true! “A critical self-appraisal on how one is living” is ok, and (if you allow me to say so) becomes even more effective when the one knows what he/ she wants instead. How do you want it to be.
    Awareness of what is and how you want it to be, is essential.
    I can not tell you (or anyone for that matter) how to change any personal habit. It is often the process of replacing it with a more “useful” one; process applied one-step-at-the-time produces lasting change. What I can say (on top of the usual eat less and move more) is that feeding your mind with the stuff that is right for you, will produce a little miracle on the outside too. An “all over integral miracle”. 🙂

    1. Absolutely agree. Mind and body are interconnected, and what happens in one will affect the other. Already, I can see that I feel more optimistic. I am no longer walking around bloated and that feels good. That good feeling helps me understand what’s possible. If I already feel this much better, being only a short time into my BIG CHANGE, imagine what I’m going to feel like in a few weeks. Optimism and hope, a sense that I’m walking into a wonderful future. I also agree with the notion that we need to understand want we want to be as well as what to move away from. By the way, are you a professional life coach? Is that how you make your iiving? (If I’m prying, I apologize.) The reason I ask is that I do a lot of life coaching in my work and would like to talk with someone who does it in a more professional and organized way. If you wouldn’t mind answering some questions, you can contact me at Thanks for the comment and advice.

  10. I believe you’ve touched upon an important insight here. Looking after and concentrating on one part of our life has ripple effects that extend much further. Regarding health – looking after our our physical health aids our mental health and vice versa. Maybe it’s not far fetched to say the rest of the world stands to benefit too? All of which reminds me – I must go for a run.

    Regarding weight loss, I tend to think permanent lifestyle changes are something to look for more than the overall goal. Many times I’ve looked good for an occasion only to pile on the weight afterwards. Nowadays I look for small permanent changes rather than radical overnight changes. My 2 cents worth. Anyway great effort Troy. And great post. All the best with the rest of it! 🙏

    1. Here’s something funny. A few days ago, when I first started on this journey, I felt sick. It was like my body was saying that I could, under no circumstances, live without a certain amount of food being put into it on a daily basis. Then, three or so days in, my body is changing its tune. It’s now saying, “Hey, eating isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. Relax. Give me a little and I’ll be fine.” We get these notions–and that’s all they really are–that things have to be a certain way. Then, one day, we make a radical departure from the usual and find that the world didn’t come to an end. In fact, this new way is better than the old one. We are such creatures of habit. The ways we talk with others is mostly shaped by how we’ve always talked with others. We eat a lot because we’ve always done so. I believe X because I’ve always believed X and my parents believed X too. The thing is, habits are “invisible” (that’s not the best word) because they have worked themselves so deeply into our infrastructure that we consider them hardwired or indispensible. Thanks, AP2, for prompting me to think more about all this. And you’re doing a wonderful job with your posts.

  11. The weight I need to maintain in order to keep a ‘NORMAL’ BMI is 65kgs. Above that, I would be considered overweight other wise.

    I was at 75kgs a month ago. But, with morning moderate cardio, moderate intake of carbohydrates (rice because I’m an Asian, and moderation in chips and white bread, I was able to hit 64kgs.

    Just on the right time, I was contacted by the company I applied for. And I was asked to do medical examination.

    Keeping a ‘normal’ BMI is crucial to the field I am in. An overweight BMI can have an impression of high SGPT and SGOT, abnormal heart condition, etc. For which requires additional medical check up through blood test or a doctor appointment.

    Dieting (with discipline) is more than about getting skinner, for me, it is also about getting employed.

    PS when my friends ask me the secret on how I loss 10kgs in just more than a month, I jokingly say,

    “There is no secret. I am simply broke.”

    1. Hi, Romark Concepcion. Like you, I have weaknesses, with potato chips being high on that list. As you are well aware, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” I guess it might be the mother of dieting too. I wish you great success on your job search. I have been exactly where you are now–pounding the payment with empty pockets. You sound like a super smart and talented guy, so I have great faith that you’re going to get something really good. By the way, if you don’t mind, may I ask where you live? Is it the US or someplace else?
      I’m always curious where my readers live. Thanks for stopping by.

      1. Hi Troy, I live in the Philippines. If you are in the US, I am just across the pacific ocean.

        I have been silently reading the posts here in Pointless Overthinking. And after my 2 months break from blogging, I noticed that the site has new contributors. That’s superb!

  12. I completely agree that physical and mental health influence each other. When I eat healthy, I feel good, I’m more active, I think more clearly, I sleep better, it’s a beautiful cycle. When I eat unhealthy it’s a very quick downward spiral. The good news is, you’ve already done the hardest part! Now it will just get easier and easier to continue your good eating habits. When I’ve been eating healthy for a few days in a row I don’t even look for, crave, or give any attention to the bad foods I crave when I’m in that habit and mindset. They’re all connected! Keep pushing!!

    1. Thanks for the encouragement. This morning, I woke up and had no hunger. I just needed a few days to get past the hard part, and now it’s smooth sailing. Like you, I just feel so much better when I’m living right.

  13. Same here. Dieting. But more than that, becoming more aware of everything I consume. So far, I’ve released 15 pounds of the 25 I’d gained during COVID lockdown. ❤️🦋🌀

    1. You touch upon a very important aspect–awareness. It’s so easy to slide into bad habits and then get caught in an ugly routine. The day that i made the conscious decision to go on a diet I just suddenly realized that I wasn’t living right. Thanks so much for the encouragment!

      1. Sure thing, Tony. I’ve made the decision several times, but so far the current program I’m working is the longest lasting and most encouraging. ❤️😉

  14. You’re not doing the keto diet by any chance? The way you describe the first few days is exactly how I felt when I tried keto. I’m now doing intermittent fasting and it’s really quite wonderful. Congrats on your healthy journey and wish you all the best!

  15. I have read in multiple places something about it taking thirty days to embed a habit, good or bad. Kudos to you for identifying a change you wanted to make and getting stuck in to make it. The things you’ve said in a few comments remind me of how one can feel when getting stuck into exercise. The first few times we do our body says “What are you doing, are you trying to kill us?!” But after a few days in a row our body gets the idea we’re trying to do something good and it takes less time during a workout for this feeling to fade. Lately I’ve been finding this wall lasts longer than it used to. In other words I am less fit than I would like to be so you’ve given me motivation to get stuck in too!

    One other habit I would like to make for myself is to write every day, at the same time in the morning before I make my way to work. At the moment I still fit it in sporadically around morning tea, or lunch time, or between work and sport. Or I even leave it until another day and let my brain convince me I can’t do it or I need time away from it. When I fall into the writing I love it—every time!

    Keep on keeping on with your positive changes. I look forward to keeping up with your updates. 😊

  16. How is it going now? Have you lot all the weight you needed to? I too woke up one day realising that I needed to lose about twenty kilos. They had just crept up on me and placed themselves all over my body. I had noticed of course but felt there was nothing I could do with my rather busy but sedentary lifestyle. And then I saw a photo of me on my birthday. Rather fortuitously my son had given me a book – a Far Cry from Kensington, by Muriel Spark. The heroine goes on a diet – and this is what inspired me. She just eats half of everything. I cant say i have been as assiduous as that all the time, but I did start to lose weight. Still a along way to go but taking it more slowly I believe will keep the weight off. I hope so. and well done you.

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