Flexible Weight Loss

  • Dr. Hirsch’s book supports flexible weight loss
  • Top 3 powerful points from Dr. Hirsch’s Health First Book
  • Why habits are better than rules like: Don’t drink pop

In the health section of the National Post Newspaper I read an article about Dr. Steve Hirsch’s new book on weight loss. It’s called Health First: Winning at Weight Loss and Wellness.

What can we learn from Dr. Hirsch?

I haven’t read Dr. Hirsch’s book, but the article gives an informative overview.

The main theme examined was the importance of flexible weight loss. From what I read Dr. Hirsch understands:

  • People need lots of options
  • Weight loss needs to be realistic and practical
  • Everybody is incredibly busy

With these needs in mind, Dr. Hirsch’s book focuses on a flexible weight loss approach.

From the ages of 14 to 24 I was a chronic dieter. For the last 18 years I’ve been a healthy weight. From personal experience I can say a huge turning point for me was when I stopped being so rigid about what I ate. A flexible weight loss approach set me up for success.

Dr. Hirsch makes other great points including:

  1. Never go hungry because hunger always wins
  2. Weight loss is not about diets or deprivation
  3. Your weight loss motivator should be something bigger than looking good, e.g. taking charge of diseases like heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers

Another point I agree on is:

When you’re running or exercising, I think you’re also trying to make healthier choices.

-Dr. Steve Hirsch

In short, this idea is about a domino effect. When you make one good choice, it leads to another. We all get intimidated by change. It can feel overwhelming when you look at the finish line from the start. But really, you just need to focus on one small improvement. It will lead to another and then another and get easier and easier.

There’s one concept in the article I disagree with

When Dr. Hirsch is asked “Are there foods you avoid entirely”? He states:

I tell people not to eat any processed foods… Soft drinks are out. Juices are out…

-Dr. Steve Hirsch

While I 100% agree that processed foods and pop are to be avoided, I also know that when you can’t have something you want it more. That’s just human nature. As well, there’s a time and place for everything. Blacklisting certain foods does not support flexible weight loss.

My personal take is if you drink a lot of pop right now, try to drink one less pop a week. You’ll be surprised how quickly drinking less soda becomes a habit. And your habits are a thousand times more powerful than your decisions or desires.

A flexible weight loss approach helps you build habits

Rules complicate everything. When you can’t have something you feel deprived. Then if you end up eating it you feel guilt and shame. Rather than getting hung up on what you can’t have, a flexible weight loss approach allows you to dabble. Through trial and error you can make healthy choices and discover what works for you. Positive decisions soon take momentum and become healthy habits.

This is the comment I left at the bottom of this article about flexible weight loss:

“Weight loss is also about building healthy habits. Then choices that set you up for success become second nature. Second nature means easy and easy equals lasting.”

Dr. Steve Hirsch’s background is in psychology. He’s been practicing family medicine for 30 years and he’s a lecturer in the department of family and community medicine at the University of Toronto.



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Do you practice flexible weight loss approaches?

What is one flexible weight loss approach you’d recommend?

I think we can all agree a flexible weight loss approach is a winning weight loss approach. In what other parts of your life do you practice flexibility?