Rachel Hollis weight-loss advice

  • why Rachel opens up about years of yo-yo dieting
  • top 10 pieces of Rachel Hollis weight-loss advice
  • 1 message Rachel got WRONG

Have you read the New York Times Best Seller “Girl Wash Your Face” by Rachel Hollis?

I got my book club onto it because I wanted to know what all the fuss was about.

Rachel Hollis sold over 1 000 000 copies of Girl Wash Your Face. For 7 months Girl Wash Your Face was in the top 10 best-selling books—holding the #1 spot for 12 weeks… And Girl Wash Your Face was the 2nd most popular book on Amazon in 2018. Wow!

Rachel Hollis weight-loss advice - amazon best seller

The chapter that interested me most, was about (surprise!) losing weight.

Does Rachel Hollis weight-loss advice work?

I wanted to know if my SIMPLE approach to healthy eating—that helped me FINALLY lose around 30 pounds and keep it off for the last 21+ years—had anything in common with the Rachel Hollis weight-loss advice found in her best-selling book.

Here’s a picture of me when I first started dieting… and another 10 years later when I SIMPLIFIED my weight-loss method and got healthy in what felt like overnight:

Here's a picture of me when I first started dieting... and another 10 years later when I SIMPLIFIED my approach and got healthy

Turns out there’s 10 points in Rachel’s short weight-loss chapter that are pure GOLD… and one piece of Rachel Hollis weight-loss advice that’s scientifically wrong.

And people get it wrong all the time.

The good news?

Once you understand the truth it’ll make every food decision EASY.

It did for me!

And I know if Rachel read this post she’d agree.

She’s a gal who loves to learn.

Whether or not you’re a fan of Rachel Hollis,
you gotta respect her
for talking about her complicated relationship with food
with the hope of helping others.

Rachel Hollis weight-loss advice comes AFTER years of struggle

A brief history of what Rachel calls a “career in weight obsession and yo-yo dieting”.


  • comes from a long line of emotional eaters
  • used food to punish herself
  • lost weight when she had mono and then gained more back
  • thought moving to LA would help her lose weight (don’t we all think “fresh starts” will change everything?)
  • gained more weight in LA
  • lost weight with diet pills but became paranoid
  • went back to eating solid food & gained weight
  • tried countless diets, including: Atkins, Susan Powter, master cleanses, Suzanne Somers, juice cleanses, Lean Cuisine…
  • had a baby, couldn’t lose weight for ages, became pregnant again & worried she’d never lose weight

Like me, Rachel started a new diet any time she made a “mistake.”

One piece of cake (at a birthday party) meant I might as well eat the entire cake, plus the chips and the dip and pizza and anything else I could get my hands on.
– Rachel Hollis, Girl Wash Your Face

As of 2019 Rachel Hollis has maintained a healthy weight for about 5 years.

Here’s my take on Rachel’s top 10 suggestions for losing weight… and the TRUTH you need to know about the one she got wrong.

These pieces of Rachel Hollis weight-loss advice are all found in:

Girl Wash Your Face
Chapter 17
The lie:

Rachel Hollis weight-loss advice #1:

Focus on health

I think we function better mentally, emotionally, and physically when we take care of our bodies with nourishment, water, and exercise.
– Rachel Hollis weight-loss advice

My SIMPLE weight-loss approach:
I love Rachel’s focus on health.

After 10 years of dieting I FINALLY lost weight when (I did what I say on the back cover of my book):

Rachel Hollis weight-loss advice

So I started focusing on being mentally and physically healthy, instead of being thin.

And bingo!

That’s when I lost weight and got my life back.

…For instance, I stopped counting calories, weighing myself and worrying about diet rules, tips and tricks.


I wanted room in my head to be present—to actually:

  • listen to the lyrics of a song
  • be able to concentrate on my work
  • feel the soft fur of a cat’s head, like Alex is doing with Gunther

Rachel Hollis weight-loss advice - Gunther

Now I know the HEALTHY choice helps you lose weight!

Are you making health a priority?

Rachel Hollis weight-loss advice #2:

Move your body

You need to be able to run without feeling like you’re going to puke and walk up a flight of stairs without getting winded… You need to get up off the sofa or out of the bed and move around.
– Rachel Hollis, Girl Wash Your Face

My SIMPLE weight-loss approach:
Having an active lifestyle is KEY.

I always take the stairs instead of an escalator or get off the bus one stop early if there’s time. And… I push a door open rather than use a button!!!

Every bit of activity during the day adds up. Even a little movement gets your heart beating faster (which sparks your metabolism), tones your muscles and does countless other incredible things in your body.

In fact, a small amount of physical activity is almost as effective as meeting the physical activity guidelines. Check it out:

The Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee’s 2018 Scientific Report

So don’t wait for the perfect day when you can do the perfect amount of exercise.

Get started by doing what you can, today.

Rachel Hollis weight-loss advice #3

Get a good sleep

You need to get good sleep…
-Rachel Hollis weight-loss advice

My SIMPLE weight-loss approach:
Studies in mice as well as humans suggest that when our internal clock is disrupted, it may throw off many bodily functions, especially metabolism— Angela Spivey, US National Library of MedicineThere’s a case study at the end of my book. It gives an example of how The 3 Steps that helped me lose weight FOR GOOD, work together. It also shares the POWER of sleep.

In short, any time you mess around with your routine, whether it’s eating, exercising or sleeping… you’re throwing your body out of whack. Then it’s harder for your body to function properly.

Work with your body so your body can work at its best!

A healthy sleep routine optimizes your metabolism

Rachel Hollis weight-loss advice #4

Stay away from sugar and FAKE sugar

You need to stop filling your body with garbage like Diet Coke and fast food and lattes that are a million and a half calories.
-Rachel Hollis weight-loss advice

My SIMPLE weight-loss approach:
Over the 10 years I was overweight I drank diet coke All. The. Time.

At one point I was drinking a case of diet coke per day—yup you read that right.

Now I don’t drink diet sodas at all.


Artificial sweeteners confuse your body which slows down your metabolism and makes you GAIN weight. In fact:

Fake sugar prompts the same fat-storing cycle as real sugar!

I explain how this fat-storing cycle works further down… look out for the bit about almonds.

If you drink pop and want to quit, try drinking one less soda per week. Slow change builds healthy habits. Then not drinking pop will feel natural.

Rachel Hollis weight-loss advice - Diet Coke

Rachel Hollis weight-loss advice #5

Eat natural food

You need to take in fuel for your body that hasn’t been processed.
-Rachel Hollis weight-loss advice

My SIMPLE weight-loss approach:
If someone asked me:

What’s the number one thing that helps you lose weight?

I’d say: Stay away from fake food! Like pretzels and rice cakes and other edible products made in factories—including the ones that are “low calorie” and “low fat“.

In short… it’s easy to eat large amounts of processed foods.

And difficult to eat more fresh food than your body needs.

For example, it’s easy drink a glass or more of processed orange juice (that’s full of additives and stripped of fiber). But it’s pretty tough to eat 3 or 4 fresh oranges (necessary to make one glass of juice).

I explain why fresh food works better with your body in more detail, in just a moment. Look for the bit about jelly beans.

Eliminate juice in favour of whole fruits and vegetables

Rachel Hollis weight-loss advice #6

Address underlying Issues

Do you think I’d understand my emotional eating if I hadn’t done years of therapy to get to the bottom of it?
-Rachel Hollis weight-loss advice

My SIMPLE weight-loss approach:
I became an obsessive dieter and soon got caught in the vicious cycle of starving, bingeing and purging. During my first year of university I FINALLY asked for help.

My doctor:

  • diagnosed me with OCD (discovering this missing piece of the puzzle was a HUGE relief!)
  • explained what healthy eating and exercise looks like
  • gave me strategies to build healthy habits

If you find your life is getting worse instead of better—no matter how hard you try—you may have an underlying issue. Or you could have the wrong weight-loss information.

My blog shares the healthy weight-loss facts I WISH I had over the 10 years I was yo-yo dieting (and my book has it all in one place).

If you’re thinking about talking to a doctor, here’s how to get started.

Don’t waste time trying to reinvent the wheel!

Speak to an expert so you can get back to your own expertise.

Rachel Hollis weight-loss advice - Asking for help is a sign of intelligence

Rachel Hollis weight-loss advice #7


I had to try out different workouts until I found some I love.
-Rachel Hollis weight-loss advice

My SIMPLE weight-loss approach:
For years I over-exercised. Every day I went to the gym for an hour and if I ate more than I meant to I’d exercise again.

I had NO IDEA all this extra exercise was confusing my body and slowing down my metabolism.

For the last 20 years that I’ve been a healthy weight, I’ve just been going to the gym 3 times a week for 25 minutes. Each workout is less time than a single tv show!

I’ve got bad knees from years of exercising obsessively so I use the elliptical machine with light hand weights and read a book. I love getting my heart pumping this way.

Rachel Hollis weight-loss advice - Calendar from weekly exercise routine

Do you need to motivate yourself to exercise and find a way to make exercise fun? Here’s some ideas!

Rachel Hollis weight-loss advice #8

Stop bingeing after a mistake

I had to fight the urge to binge when I made slight deviations from healthy eating—and this habit took me years to adopt.
-Rachel Hollis weight-loss advice

My SIMPLE weight-loss approach:
Here’s 3 things that helped me stop bingeing pretty quickly:

1. Eating 3 ROUGHLY balanced meals made MOSTLY of whole foods
Until you meet your body’s nutrient needs you’ll stay hungry.

When you eat a variety of natural foods, you meet your body’s needs. Then your body stops sending you signals to eat MORE, and you:

  • feel satiated
  • stop thinking about food
  • naturally lose weight.


Eating ROUGHLY balanced meals made MOSTLY of whole foods simplifies eating and solves so many problems created by “going on a diet”.

As soon as I started making my plate look like the Eatwell Guide I stopped thinking about food, had no desire to overeat and lost weight naturally.

Eatwell Guide - the10principles

2. Understanding that every time you binge (and purge) you’re ingraining an unhealthy habit that makes it harder to reach your goals
This realization was a game changer for me. For years I’d WRONGLY been thinking that bingeing (and purging) would draw a line in the sand, make my fresh start dramatic and SCARE me into sticking to my (self-defeating) diet the next day.

Each time you binge you get MORE used to bingeing!

As bingeing changed from something I did after days of starving myself, to something I did to punish myself, I also thought purging via exercise or other means would get me back on track.

I was wrong!

These wild extremes confuse your body. Then it goes into survival mode. In this state it’s harder to lose weight and easier to gain it. Staving and then bingeing PRIMES your body to store energy as fat.

…I wish I knew these facts over the 10 years I was preoccupied by dieting, 30 pounds overweight and either starving, bingeing, purging or exercising (to quote Holden Caulfield) like a madman.

3. Not giving myself the option to purge
The first time I didn’t let myself purge after eating too much was the LAST time I binged—for real.

At the time I was also eating balanced meals (#1 above) & understood that each time you binge (and purge) you’re taking a step FURTHER away from your goals because you’re getting used to this behaviour (#2 above).

It was my 24th birthday and I was sitting in Tavistock Square in London, England. I was almost finished teacher’s college and was tired of my life revolving around my complicated relationship with food. It felt SO wrong not to purge after eating something I regretted, but I decided if I wanted my life to be different, I had to try something different.

The next morning I woke up and felt A-M-A-Z-I-N-G…

From then on if I ate something I regretted, rather than PUNISHING myself by bingeing, I just got busy with the next thing I had to do that day.

Pretty soon I realized that I could be flexible with what I ate. There’s no perfect amount. Eating isn’t so exact! (We’re conditioned to think it is because the diet industry says stuff like: At 4 pm eat 8 almonds…”) A few extra bites doesn’t make a difference. A dessert here and there is healthy!

Here’s more about how I stopped bingeing.

Rachel Hollis weight-loss advice #9

Develop coping mechanisms 

I had to teach myself new coping mechanisms for stress (sex is win-win for everyone, for example).
-Rachel Hollis weight-loss advice

My SIMPLE weight-loss approach:
If you’re used to eating when you’re stressed, plan an alternative activity.

Planning ahead is KEY.

You want to make sure you get in a workout tomorrow? Then you need to pack your bag today and schedule exercise in your calendar. You want to make sure you reach for healthy snacks instead of your kid's Goldfish crackers? Then you better… prep some wholesome snack options...— Rachel Hollis, Girl Wash Your Face

Here’s a few things you can plan right NOW

Then you’ll be prepared to make good decisions next time you’re in the heat of the moment.

A. Ask yourself if you’re genuinely hungry

If you are, prepare yourself a balanced meal or snack depending on the time of day.

Put it on a plate, sit down and then start eating.

If you still have the desire to binge STOP overthinking and rationalizing whether or not you should do what you always do. Instead…

B. Take these 3 steps:

1. Get yourself away from the food source (kitchen fridge, vending machine, drive thru)
2. Go outside and set the alarm on your phone for 10 minutes
3. Take a 10 minute walk

Interrupting an ingrained behavior is a powerful way to break it. And the first time you do it is the hardest.

You’ll be surprised how much more in control you feel AFTER you break a pattern with a short distraction.

C. If you’re mid-binge it’s not too late to stop
It sounds silly, but even leaving the last chip in the bag builds a healthy habit. The next time it will be easier to stop bingeing earlier.

Then do “B” above. Or, here’s some other activities you can do to interrupt a binge:

  • Paint your finger nails – then you’ll be out of action for a bit
  • Read a few pages of a book
  • Have a go-to person you phone; if you feel comfortable tell them you’re trying to break an unhealthy habit and you’d love them to be your go-to person. You can even have a silly code word like “flamingo” so they’ll know what’s going on, can help you have a laugh and get you thinking about other things… soon the urge will pass

D. Keep track of how many times you binge a week
Try to cut down one time per week. Here’s more about breaking unhealthy habits!

Breaking an unhealthy habit slowly is the FASTEST way to create lasting change

Rachel Hollis weight-loss advice #10

Understand weight loss ISN’T complicated

I had to figure out how weight loss works and discover that it’s actually the simplest thing in the world. A million diets exist based on the idea that if they can confuse you or make you think there is an easy way out, then you’ll buy whatever they’re selling.
-Rachel Hollis weight-loss advice

My SIMPLE weight-loss approach:
I always say:
Losing weight is easy, I made it complicated.

I got lost in the details of diet rules, tips and tricks and ended up GAINING weight instead of losing it.

...diets do not work. Not just paleo or Atkins or Weight Watchers or Goop, but all diets. Since 1959, research has shown that 95 to 98 percent of attempts to lose weight fail and that two-thirds of dieters gain back more than they lost— Micheal Hobbes, reporter HuffPostStop dieting!

When you simplify eating and exercise you’ll lose weight and become UNSTOPPABLE.

Suddenly you’ll have SO MUCH more time to plan a party for a friend, study, really apply yourself at work and wear clothes you feel good in.

You CAN cut through the clutter and lose weight fast.

Rachel Hollis weight-loss advice that’s WRONG

Calories in, calories out…

If the calories you consume in a day are fewer than the calories you burn off in a day, you will lose weight. The end.
-Rachel Hollis weight-loss advice

My SIMPLE weight-loss approach:
The gist of what Rachel’s saying is right…

You can’t eat 10 000 calories in a day, only burn 1200 and expect to lose weight.

But the reason I focus on eating natural food rather than processed, is because:

100 calories of jelly beans
reacts differently in your body
than 100 calories of natural food like almonds

Once a 100 calories of jelly beans enter your body, they’re digested quickly and your bloodstream becomes flooded with too much energy to use all at once (your blood glucose levels will raise quickly). So your body stores the excess energy and you feel hungry again.

Kids call this feeling a sugar rush. Which is quickly followed by a sugar crash… and prompts you to eat MORE sugar.

Sugar is more addictive than cocaine.

Fat Storage Cycle

Stop Counting Calories - Sugar Rush

You can see how eating processed foods can lead to being OVERFED and UNDERNOURISHED.

On the flip side, a 100 calories of almonds take time to break down in your body—they’re packed with natural energy and nutrients that your body recognizes and requires—so they release into your bloodstream slowly.

How does IGNORING calories and focusing on whole foods make every food decision easy?

Eating natural food:

  • fills you up naturally so it’s hard to eat more than you need (think back to drinking orange juice vs. eating an orange)
  • keeps you full longer because the energy & nutrients are released slowly so you use them as you go (rather than storing)
  • makes you lose weight naturally without going hungry (when you’re hungry, just eat more natural food!)

Once I understood how our bodies react to fresh vs. factory food, it was easy to make healthy decisions and not get hung up on eating an exact amount. I simply eat a roughly balanced meal or snack made of natural food until I’m full. Then when I’m hungry I do it again.

I lost weight when I focused on eating natural food and stopped counting calories.

Make Today Count

make today count - the10principlesPick one of these important pieces of Rachel Hollis weight-loss advice and try it out TODAY.

Or better, is there one you can do right now?!

Like push open a door instead of using a button, make one change to your next meal or snack to make it more natural… or pop some nail polish in your purse so you have an activity to help you break the pattern of bingeing after eating something you regret.

You can change your life and become who you want to be!

Build healthy eating and exercise habits. A healthy weight will follow.

Rachel Hollis weight-loss advice - summary

Next Steps

There’s tons of great Rachel Hollis weight-loss advice! But the FIRST thing I did 20 years ago was stop dieting and get into a healthy routine. Sign up (below) to learn how to get started with my ONE DAY Meal Plan! It’s the kind of food I eat each day that unlocked my H 🙂 PPY weight.

Another piece of Rachel Hollis advice I love is:

You, and only you, are ultimately responsible
for who you become and how happy you are.
Your life is up to you.

Over the 10 years I struggled to lose weight, I had no road map… no idea how to get healthy. I worked so hard but things kept getting worse instead of better. So I kept blaming myself instead of my weight-loss method. I kept trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

When I FINALLY got some good weight-loss information my life got better QUICKLY.

I hope you’ll learn from the mistakes both Rachel and I made so you can get back to spending your time and energy on the people, animals and projects you LOVE.

Which bit of Rachel Hollis weight-loss advice will you try first?

Was there a piece of Rachel Hollis weight-loss advice that resonated with you the most? Let me know in the comments below!

Kelly Clark



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