structured eating helped me lose weight

  • This expert’s advice can help ANYBODY lose weight
  • I hit ROCK BOTTOM before I tried structured eating
  • Dieters to bulimics get healthy QUICKLY with structured eating

When I was struggling I always wanted to hear from someone who’d been there and back. I wanted to know how they lost weight and got on with their life.

Today I’m flipping the script.

Recently I got to interview an expert in the field of disordered eating—his advice is helpful to ANYBODY who wants to lose weight. And I learned a NEW term… one that describes something SIMPLE that changed my life.

This change-your-life way of eating took me from being COMPLETELY dysfunctional to feeling NORMAL… overnight.

structured eating helped me lose weight - four images

My hope is that you’ll try Structured Eating… and if you’re preoccupied by trying to lose weight (or know somebody who is) I hope that hearing from a specialist makes it less daunting for you or a loved one to:

1. Talk to a professional

2. Be OPEN to new ideas

I had A LOT of misconceptions about asking for help


Delayed me from getting the support I DESPERATELY needed
& stopped me from getting the most out of each appointment.

In yet, speaking to a doctor was STILL one of the biggest pieces of my recovery. And as I said recently, when you speak to an expert you save yourself TIME because professionals have priceless experience and have seen it ALL before.

No matter how extreme you think your case is…

structured eating - You're not that special or that weird!

If you make an appointment with an expert a world of PROVEN ideas await you… and one of them is structured eating.

Meet structured eating advocate Dr. Tony Henshall

eating disorder resources - Dr Tony Henshall

Dr. Tony Henshall & Fierce Bob

There were many years I struggled alone with my eating disorder. I wish I’d gotten help from someone like you sooner. Please tell us about yourself!

Dr. Tony Henshall:
I’m in private practice. It’s called “down with DIETS” and I’m located here in the UK. I received my PhD from the University of Salford, in 1995.

I've extended this to include emotional eating because many people do not recognize their behaviour as binge eating. Instead they describe themselves as emotional eaters.— Dr. Tony Henshall

What’s the focus of your work?

Dr. Tony Henshall:
I help people recover from binge eating and bulimia. I’ve extended this to include emotional eating because I realized that many people in the UK do not recognize their behaviour as binge eating. Instead they describe themselves as emotional eaters. Whatever you call it, if a person is in emotional distress because of eating, then I feel they deserve help.

Why diets FAIL

When did you become interested in disordered eating?

Dr. Tony Henshall:
In 2000 the UK’s NHS decided to put in services to help smokers quit. I was appointed as a Public Health Specialist Smoking Cessation Advisor.

I set up the services from scratch and soon I was seeing the most addicted smokers; smokers with critical health issues, smokers who were told that they couldn’t have a life saving heart bypass unless they quit, etc… It didn’t take long before I realized that most of the people I saw had a psychological dependency to nicotine and were self medicating anxiety and/or depression with cigarettes. So I developed a series of techniques to relieve stress and anxiety. After teaching these techniques to my smokers, a large majority of them quit.

By 2003 I thought: Well that’s smoking done. What’s the next big thing?

Obesity was becoming more of a problem in the UK. So I approached my boss and said something along the lines: Smoking is basically all in the head of the smoker (a psychological dependency). We now have the skills to sort that out.

In my naivety I thought obesity was also a form of psychological dependency. All we needed to do was get a bit of training on obesity and we could use the skills developed on smokers to form a great obesity service.
Anyone who goes on a restrictive diet is bound to fail and probably put on more weight.— Dr. Tony Henshall
What followed was life changing.

I took a course on obesity taught by Deanne Jade at the National Centre for Eating Disorders. It soon became apparent that yes, obesity was all in the head, but not as I’d imagined. Rather than a psychological issue, obesity was a biological issue. If you don’t eat enough you will not have enough chemicals to make the serotonin or beta endorphins needed for a calm and confident life.

The scales fell from my eyes and I thought: It’s not fair. We’ve been lied to. Anyone who goes on a restrictive diet is bound to fail and probably put on more weight.

From then on I’ve been fascinated by the topic.

I tried to get funding for a service in the NHS but by that time I was running a large and successful stop smoking service. The organization’s focus was getting smokers to quit because it saves more lives and saves the NHS more resources than obesity. So my proposal was not successful.

In 2013 I took early retirement and set up a private practice to help people recover from binge eating and bulimia.

Anyone on a restrictive diet is bound to fail

Chronic dieters to bulimics recover

With over 30 million Americans alone, suffering from disordered eating, and eating disorders having the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, I understand your desire to change your career focus. Especially when it’s all so preventable.

I love your quote:

If I wanted to make you think about food constantly, eat in secret, hoard food, be unable to stop eating and feel guilty, impulsive and out of control – it would be easy. Nutritional science tells us, if you go on a 1000 calorie diet, the vast majority of us will experience most, if not all the above list.”
-Dr. Tony Henshall

As soon as I read your quote I thought: You get me!

Your quote captures why people who struggle to lose weight should STOP blaming themselves and blame their weight-loss method.

What does your solution look like?

Dr. Tony Henshall:
I take on private patients. I offer a 6 session program which is flexible to the clients needs. But ideally I have a face to face meeting with the client and then one the following week to check how they’re getting along and to start to tackle the psychological factors. From there if they feel confident, we stretch the meeting to every 2 weeks for the next 3 meetings and finally 1 month. I also answer any questions they might have by email and follow up for 12 months.

I find that being binge free for 3 months usually gives my patients the confidence that they’ve recovered and the eating disorder can fade into their memory.
My patients range from serial dieters... to chaotic bulimics... They all have different issues but once they start to feed themselves properly with nourishing food... they rapidly start to feel so much better.— Dr. Tony Henshall
By using a mixture of nutritional and psychological interventions the vast majority of my clients have had a full recovery.

My patients range from serial dieters who have been obsessed by food for over 30 years to chaotic bulimics (spending over £120 a day and vomiting up to 15 times a day). They all have different issues but once they start to feed themselves properly with nourishing food and learn some self-soothing techniques they rapidly start to feel so much better.

Why you should ask for help NOW

I love how you map out your treatment plan for patients. Then they can get the BIG PICTURE of what their recovery will look like. When steps make sense they’re much easier to take… even if a patient has unhealthy behaviour that’s deeply ingrained, like I did.

Too many people feel ashamed when they SHOULDN’T! Shame isolates you with bad information. Getting healthy is all about connecting with others so you can understand what’s going on and make good decisions.

For readers hesitant to ask for help, what would you tell them?

Dr. Tony Henshall:
If food is causing you distress, if your thoughts are obsessed with what you’re going to eat, what you’ve eaten, what you should’ve eaten, what other people are eating… if you feel either in control (on a diet) or out of control (bingeing), don’t wait. Ask for help NOW. Like most medical conditions the sooner you treat a problem the easier it is to fix.

Like most medical conditions, the sooner you treat a problem the easier it is to fix.— Dr. Tony HenshallI really understand how making that first step and asking for help is difficult. Most people don’t know what help is available, what it will entail, how long it will take and how much it will cost. To try to ease this difficult step, I offer a 30 minute free consultation to answer any questions a client might have and to outline the treatment. I think as a therapist, it’s the least you can do.

Emotional eating is like a whirlwind

What can patients expect in a first appointment with someone like you?

Dr. Tony Henshall:
The situation in the UK is that the NHS is brilliant for acute problems but not really equipped for non-acute conditions like eating disorders. Yes, there are some facilities for anorexia but for binge eating or bulimia, provision is very sparse. There’s not uniform treatment, so I can only tell you what I do on my first appointment.

Before the first meeting I ask my clients to fill in a short form with the following questions:

  • When did food first become a problem?
  • What does a good day look like?
  • What does a bad day look like?
  • If you could change one thing what would it be?
  • What’s “the last straw” that made you ask for help?

Then I explain the various aspects that are contributing to the eating disorder. I use the metaphor of a whirlwind with the person at the center.

structured eating - whirlwind
Emotional eating or binge eating, is like a whirlwind that draws energy from many different parts of your life. I explain how week by week we’ll tackle each area until the eating disorder has no energy sources and fades away.

This analogy was introduced to me by Deanne Jade of The National Centre for Eating Disorders

Whirlwind Terms

Food Chaos: cravings, weight gain, overeating and hunger
Habit: self-defeating choices
Pay offs: misbeliefs such as: bingeing is the only time I get to eat sweets or fatty food
& an unexpressed feeling that: if I get better I won’t EVER be able to eat these foods
Emotions: use food to zone out from uncomfortable emotions
Mind set: what patients bring to therapy, for example:

  • beliefs about food, shape and weight
  • thinking styles: catastrophe thinking, black and white thinking, beauty and the beast thinking; she looks beautiful therefore I must be ugly
  • personality: perfectionist tendencies, sensitive souls, etc.
  • body image: what I look like, should look like, how others see me
  • mind reading
  • labeling
  • the VOICE: the inner critic, the poison parrot on your shoulder

How to STOP cravings, weight gain & hunger

I can identify with many of the factors you’ve listed that contribute to an eating disorder.

Once you’ve explained them, what’s the first step?

Dr. Tony Henshall:
We always begin by stopping the food chaos.

By stabilizing the blood sugar levels we stabilize the physical body.

It’s vitally important to deal with the physical side of an eating disorder first for two reasons.

Reason #1: Stabilizing the blood sugar dramatically reduces:

  • cravings
  • easy weight gain
  • overeating and still wanting to eat more
  • eating and still feeling hungry

Reason #2: Unless we stabilize your blood sugar there’s absolutely no chance of you gaining recovery. It will undermine all the other work we do in other areas.

Stabilizing the blood sugar dramatically reduces cravings, weight gain, overeating and hunger— Dr. Tony Henshall

So… the way we stabilize your blood sugar is with “structured eating” and by keeping a “food and mood diary”.

I explain the guidelines for structured eating and arrange the next meeting. I always follow up the meeting with detailed notes and links to useful eating disorder resources.

Structured eating is magic

I never felt satisfied—and I also didn’t lose weight—until I started eating balanced meals made of whole foods for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Is that considered structured eating?

Dr. Tony Henshall:
Yes, structured eating is basically a meal plan. At first I don’t care what patients eat as long as they eat regularly and eat enough. Then we work on making healthier choices.

What’s Structured Eating?

Structured Eating lays down the foundation of when, what and how much to eat per day. For instance:

  • Eat within the first 30 minutes of waking up to kick start your metabolism; if you find this difficult at first, have a glass of milk)
  • Every 3-4 hours eat (This routine stabilizes your blood sugar and reduces cravings, etc.)
  • Eat approximately 3 meals and 2-3 snacks per day (you need 2000 – 2300 calories to be healthy)
  • Eat balanced, well-proportioned meals and snacks
  • Focus on eating food that looks like food; try not to eat heavily processed food
  • Don’t eat foods that confuse your metabolism and destabilize your blood sugar/insulin levels
    E.g. Cut out diet foods, low fat foods & no fat foods, all artificial sweeteners (if you want sweetness add a little sugar) and diet drinks
  • Sit down to eat – always
  • Eat mindfully – be aware of what you’re eating and enjoy
  • Consider food as your friend; eating helps your body get out of survival mode so you can lose weight

Rough guide for structured eating:
7.30 am   – Breakfast (this depends when you wake up)
10.30 am – Snack
1.00 pm   – Lunch
4.00 pm   – Snack
6.30 pm   – Dinner
8.30 pm   – Snack

For some people the idea of structured eating is frightening. They’ve been eating very little for a long time (years in many cases) and not losing weight. Now I’m asking them to eat much, much more and telling them not to worry. I tell patients we’re looking for improvement not perfection and I usually share your post about the 3 balanced meals you ate at the start of your recovery Kelly; how you started with what you could stand to eat and built up on that.

At the next meeting the client has concrete evidence about how much better they’re feeling and this gives them the confidence to learn ways to tackle their psychological issues.

I hit rock bottom BEFORE I was open to structured eating

From the ages of 14 to 20 (all of high school and my first year of university) I ate as little as possible and exercised as much as possible. Eventually I’d break down and eat something unplanned. Soon this pattern escalated into bingeing; I’d be starving after days of hardly eating anything.

The idea of eating a full meal scared me… Until I tried it!

Structured eating was a life-changing experience.

Eating 3 balanced meals a day allowed me to:

  • feel full
  • stop thinking about food
  • concentrate on life
  • and to my surprise… lose weight

As you said, stabilizing the physical body… putting down that piece of the puzzle, helped many other pieces of my recovery fall into place.

Unfortunately I didn’t try structured eating until I hit rock bottom.

Until then I was in, as you’ve described, a food chaos whirlwind. I was caught in the cycle of starving, binging and purging and it was interrupting the rest of my life.

It wasn’t until my 2nd year of university, when I stopped going to class, dropped out of all the sports I loved, kept cancelling social plans, and the last straw, threw out all my stuff; like clothing, mixed tapes I loved from high school and other sentimental things… all to punish myself, that I was FINALLY willing to eat more.

I thought eating more was giving up!

I had NO IDEA how the body worked. And I believed the less you ate, the more weight you’d lose.

It took feeling completely lost before I was willing to stop trying to prove to myself that I was determined enough to stick to my (restrictive) diet perfectly.

I loved when my efforts were measurable. Completing a task I set out to accomplish eased my anxiety.

However, when I woke up in an empty room the morning after distributing my belongings down the street in black bin bags (to blend in with garbage day pick up) I felt FLAT. I thought when I woke up I’d feel more motivated than ever to stick to my diet! But instead it occurred to me, for the first time since I started trying to lose weight in grade 9, that today wouldn’t be any different.

Until then I was the eternal optimist believing if I just tried harder, I could stick to my diet.

But feeling low broke my OCD tunnel vision.

Because I was distracted from dieting I had the chance to take stock of everything else. And I realized I didn’t know how to live with or without my eating disorder. But I LOVED life and wanted mine back.

At that point I told someone I trusted what was going on. When they suggested I eat a full breakfast, lunch and dinner, I agreed to try it.

Anything would be better than what my day to day had become. So I decided to focus on being healthy.

As soon as I started eating balanced meals and snacks I felt so much better and I quickly lost weight.

Years later I realized that looking healthy and being healthy is the same thing.

Who knew?!

Now I try to say as often as possible: Build healthy eating and exercise habits. A healthy weight will follow.

All that said to agree with you… my first turning point was when I was afraid of failing my first year of university. When I went down to the campus medical center I was paired with a psychiatrist who specialized in eating disorders and we spent time busting dieting myths and addressing my OCD.

The next big turning point was a whole year later, when I felt completely lost and agreed to, what I now know is called structured eating… So I can see why it’s key to focus on the physical, nutritional side first. Stabilizing the blood sugar, and thus, stabilizing the body, before moving onto the psychological side, speeds up a patient’s recovery.

Structured eating helped me lose weight and get my life back

What makes a recovery program FAIL

Dr. Tony Henshall:
Yes, that’s a good example of how life can spin out of control when a person doesn’t understand how the body works and they don’t open up to someone they trust about what they’re going through. Small problems can escalate to big problems.

And any recovery program that doesn’t start with nutritional rehabilitation is bound to fail.


Since I’ve been eating a ROUGHLY balanced breakfast, lunch and dinner I haven’t worried about food or weight.

Example of 3 meals I eat, along with balanced snacks (when I’m hungry between meals). I also eat a few squares of dark chocolate most nights after dinner. And I eat the occasional treat, like a less-balanced snack or dessert.
structured eating - three balanced meals
Breakfast: A big bowl of steel cut oats & Red River Cereal with sliced apples + a latte
Lunch: Cheese, mayo, cucumber and tomato sandwich + a latte and apple
Dinner: Lebanese take-away with whole grain rice & a Caesar Salad we made at home
…We found a latte machine a few years ago. If you don’t have one (or haven’t found one!) it’s a great investment.

Finding an eating disorder specialist

How do your patients find you? What are the universal “first steps” for someone who wants to get help from someone like you? Do they get a referral from a family doctor?

Dr. Tony Henshall:
If you go down the NHS route it’s difficult in the UK. I had a client, who was clearly anorexic and over exercising, but given a 10 month wait just to see a dietician. And I’ve just taken on a bulimic young man who’s clearly well underweight and who’s been to a doctor. The doctor took a blood sample and told him his blood is normal so he’s ok.

Basically, in the UK you have to be a private client and so you can refer yourself to a therapist. Not great but that’s the way it is.

Additionally, speaking from the UK perspective, our GP’s (family doctors), with notable exceptions, are not really au fait around eating disorders. Look at it from their point of view, often people get into crises and then present in a highly anxious state when asking for help. The GP sees a very anxious patient and prescribes some form of tranquilizer. Patients often tell me: I went to the doctors for help and all he gave me was antidepressants.

Dr. Henshall’s advice when seeking help from a GP:

1. Take a friend
Bring someone you trust to support you, to take notes of what the GP says and to be your advocate. It’s often difficult to remember what the GP says during a consultation.

2. Be calm
When asking for help state clearly: I have an eating disorder and I want help to recover, please could you refer me to a suitable clinician. Don’t try to justify your claim by saying how bad it is – it will only make you anxious. And answer the GPs questions as objectively as you can.

3. Bring information
Take some materials to help the GP understand your condition. This film from Millstone is an excellent introduction. The GP will not have time to watch it during your appointment, but you can send the link before or after your visit. This last bit may feel a bit contrived but you’ll get the best results from your GP.

Eating disorder resources recommended by Dr. Henshall

That’s frustrating. Early intervention is key. The dream is for people to get help BEFORE they have a big problem. I can see why you were determined to set up your own practice and make more help available.

What other eating disorder resources do you suggest to your patients?

Get help before you have a big problem— Kelly Clark

Dr. Tony Henshall:
For structured eating I always give my clients links to 2 of Shaye Boddington’s videos:

1. The biggest mistake in recovering from bulimia
Shaye points out that making strict rules caused her bulimia. Rules can not be a part of the recovery. She recommends being kind to yourself and structured eating.

2. Becoming a normal eater again
This second video I share is a more in-depth description of structured eating.

As well, I always give links to your blog, Kelly. Let me just say that you’re very successful at explaining very complex subjects in a clear and entertaining way. Here are part of the notes I give my patients in our first meeting:

“I really recommend looking up Kelly Clark’s blog “the 10 principles“.

Have a look around her site, I’m sure parts of it will resonate with everybody.

I would recommend the blog Slow Metabolism, Stop Grazing, Stop binging, Kelly’s structured eating plan called Break the cycle and her post about how you don’t have to be hungry to lose weight.”

Slow MetabolismStop GrazingStop bingingBreak the cycleYou don't have to be hungry to lose weight

Tabitha Farrar is another eating disorder resource I share. Tabitha talks about anorexia. Many of my clients have still got anorexic thought patterns but their condition has morphed into binge eating. I find Tabitha’s no nonsense approach really useful.

Some of my clients cannot imagine life without their eating disorder. I find the “Before recovery vs. after recovery” podcast gives them hope of what life could be without their eating disorder. It answers a listeners questions about:

  • Dinning out
  • Social life
  • Exercise
  • Feeling cold

Just do it. Force yourself to eat.

For an authoritative source on eating disorder research, particularly the medical aspects, I recommend the following eating disorder resources:

The Eating Disorder Institute
I love their letter to your doctor.

Sarah Frances Young
I quite like Sarah’s website. She lists some good eating disorder resources.

TWEAK instead of diet

From your experience, what’s the most common barrier between people and weight loss?

Dr. Tony Henshall:
In a word – dieting. It’s frustrating when the only thing most people need to do is make small tweaks to what they eat. In yet by dieting, they make radical changes and throw themselves into starvation mode and food chaos.

The only thing most people need to do to lose weight, is make small tweaks to what they normally eat— Dr. Tony HenshallI hate dieting.

I agree. Trying to follow diet rules, tips and tricks that I’d collected from magazines, friends, overheard conversations, and so on, definitely made my eating disordered. I had years of food chaos when, as you said, I would’ve reached a healthy weight with just a few healthier choices.

My most “Eureka” moment was when I understood that dieting simply creates bad habits that make it harder to lose weight.

Stop counting calories!

What’s the most common misconception you hear from your patients?

Dr. Tony Henshall:
The Calories In Calories Out myth. Sounds simple but it’s only simple minded.

I was talking to a bulimic client who said:
“All that stuff about needing 1200 calories a day is rubbish. I can eat only 600 calories a day and still not lose weight.”

The logic from this is that 600 calories a day is too much so she needs to eat less.

Honestly, I could cry.

Yup, that was me. Only eat fruit until noon. Diet pop and rice cakes if you’re hungry. Skip a meal if you ate something unplanned… I wondered how little I’d have to eat to lose weight because I was hardly eating anything most of the time and still gaining weight! And I had no idea the way I was eating was putting my body into survival mode, slowing down my metabolism, and making it easier to gain weight… just like your bulimic client experienced.

I simply wasn’t eating enough, regularly.

I was also big on counting calories. And I completely forgot that each food group gives your body different nutrients and that you stay hungry (which makes it harder to lose weight) until you meet your body’s needs.

Focusing on calories instead of nutrients is such a common mistake. That’s why I love the UK’s Eatwell Guide. It’s far more effective than counting calories because it makes eating the right amount of each type of food, in other words, a balanced meal, a no-brainer… And we’re back to talking about the beauty of structured eating!

Eatwell Guide - the10principles

I WISH I’d jumped into Structured Eating

What would you say to someone who asks “How quickly can I get better?”

When a patient starts structured eating they'll notice massive benefits within the week— Dr. Tony Henshall
Dr. Tony Henshall:
Well that depends on what you mean by better. If you mean feel much better, have greatly reduced anxiety, feel energetic and more confident, then if you jump straight into structured eating you’ll notice massive benefits within the week. When I see my clients on the second week the difference in the way they talk and their confidence is startling.

Again, my experience. The morning I woke up after a full day of eating 3 healthy meals I was like, why didn’t I do this years ago?

How to enjoy the rest of your life

Dr. Tony Henshall:
Then after structured eating is in place it depends on various factors, but after my 6 session program you should be either recovered or well on your way.

Just because you've suffered for a long time does NOT mean it will take you a long time to recover— Dr. Tony HenshallJust because you’ve suffered for a long time does NOT mean it will take you a long time to recover.

Most of my patients are women in their late 30s, 40s, or 50s. They’ve mainly had disordered eating since their teens and are simply “fed up of it”. Bulimia and binge eating tend not to get better on their own. You can suffer for 10, 20 or 30 years if you like, but why not get help now and enjoy the rest of your life?

I love that! Recently I read a book called Switch… It was about overcoming any obstacle. A key message was that big problems don’t need big solutions.

The MOST important factor needed to get healthy

What’s the strongest indicator that a patient will get healthy?

Dr. Tony Henshall:
Hmm… couldn’t really say, everybody’s different. Whether it takes a day, a week or a month for the client to embrace structured eating, they will get better. For me you can’t beat biology. We’re the result of beings that have evolved to survive. No amount of willpower will beat the body’s instinct to survive.

Structured eating. Good ol’ fashioned, back-to-the-basics, 3 meals-a-day is the key!

I think people find weight loss hard because they can’t accept it’s easy.

We’ve been conditioned to believe weight loss is complicated and requires huge sacrifices, whereas your body actually wants to be a healthy weight and will be, if you work WITH your body by respecting its needs.

Having a patient want help rather than being forced to get help must also make a big difference. You kind of need to be ready to learn.

…Mind you, I think my reluctance to try something new, was because I didn’t understand… I needed a comprehensive understanding of how to get healthy.

When something makes sense it’s easier to do.

This conversation has been very enlightening! Thinking out loud here, WITHOUT structured eating being introduced first, my recovery was very start-stop… Two steps forward one step back.

I saw a doctor after 5 years of disordered eating and it basically took me 5 more years to fully embrace information he shared with me because I didn’t understand the BIG PICTURE of how to get healthy.

So because I just had bits and pieces of information but didn’t know how they fit together, once I got a bit better I fell back into old patterns to ease my anxiety.

For instance, after I got out of rock-bottom mode, I agreed to follow all my doctor’s suggestions, like take baby steps vs. make extreme changes.

But I didn’t try taking baby steps.

I LOVED the idea of dramatic change.

So I’d plan an impossible tick-list at night that would include getting up at a crazy hour, exercising far too much, studying an unrealistic amount and I’d also outline details that had to go perfectly the next day. There was an urgency to get all the things I’d neglected back to where they would’ve been, if I hadn’t had an eating disorder. I told myself if I followed the plan perfectly I could feel good.

But trying to make dramatic change is short-lived and self-defeating.

Being more forthright with my doctor about what I was thinking and doing, and asking questions would’ve also sped up my recovery. Just sharing your thoughts out loud can help you solve problems. Had I voiced my reservations about, say, baby steps, my doctor would’ve had the chance to explain why the fastest way to get healthy is to build habits slowly.

But all the shame I SHOULDN’T have felt and the WRONG belief that a strong person gets better on their own, isolated me with bad information.

Again, structured eating had not yet been introduced as we began my treatment by tackling my OCD. So this goes back to what you said… Stop the food chaos first!

Try structured eating.

You can speed up your recovery by:

  • accepting that speaking to a doctor about an unhealthy relationship with food is no different to discussing any other condition
  • feeling empowered and optimistic rather than wasting your time and energy feeling ashamed
  • understanding what the BIG PICTURE of how to get healthy looks like, e.g. learn how your body works, what healthy eating and exercise looks like and how to build those healthy habits
  • focusing on the food chaos first via structured eating
  • addressing psychological issues (highlighted in the Whirlwind Diagram)
  • being open to new strategies and expecting them to feel strange at first
  • asking questions, talking about your desire to do ingrained habits and sharing “mistakes”

Why it’s time to try something new

What question are you asked the most? And what’s your answer 😉

Dr. Tony Henshall:
Client: Will I put weight on if I eat all that (structured eating)?
Me: Will you lose weight if you keep on doing what you’re doing?
Client: No
Me: Let’s take a two stage approach.
Stage one: we get you to stop bingeing.
Stage two: Once your body is stable and you’re feeling calm and confident you’ll be in a better place to decide what to do in Stage two. So for now lets concentrate on Stage one.

Client: ok

Such a simple but important conversation. It helps people:

  • reflect on what hasn’t worked
  • stop blaming themselves and instead blame their weight-loss method
  • break a self-defeating cycle by trying something new

I spent years trying to fix the same problem with the same solution and, I’m quoting Einstein’s definition of insanity here… expecting different results.

Stop blaming yourself. Blame your weight-loss method.

You CAN get healthy!

Anything else you want to tell readers?

Dr. Tony Henshall:
The sooner you get help the sooner you can stop wasting your life obsessing about food.

Just think if you invested all of that time, energy and money into something worthwhile what you could achieve. Kelly I’m sure you recognize the sentiment from your book.

The sooner you ask for help the sooner you can get back on track— Dr. Tony Henshall

Everything you’ve said makes perfect sense. And it’s especially helpful knowing the information you share is based on your experiences with many, MANY patients.

Structured eating breaks chaotic eating. Then deal with underlying issues, like:

  • mental health
  • trauma
  • temperament
  • sociocultural ideals
  • genetics…

Or any other underlying issues, to prevent those issues from moving on and making another part of your life disordered.

Thank you SO MUCH Dr. Henshall. I really appreciate you taking the time to clearly map out the BIG PICTURE of recovery.

Speaking to someone like you, who’s so passionate about helping others and hearing about your logical and proven approach to getting healthy, creates so much hope.

All that you’ve said comes back to one thing:

YOU or a loved one CAN get healthy.

Ferocious Bob likes the 10principles magnets
Dr. Henshall’s Website: down with DIETS
instagram - the10principlesCheck out down with DIETS on Instagram @downwithdiets for motivation and advice from Dr. Henshall.

Make Today Count

make today count - the10principlesDo you or someone you care about need to speak to an expert and/or try structured eating?

Don’t let another day pass you by!

Take the first step TODAY.

Build healthy eating and exercise habits, a healthy weight will follow.

structured eating helped me lose weight - summary

Next Steps

Who can you talk to about making an appointment with an expert and/or structured eating? Do you have a parent, partner or friend you trust to help you get started? Everyone in your family can benefit from structured eating!

After you begin eating regularly and enough, you can work on making your meals and snacks balanced and full of natural food. Sign up for my newsletter (below) and I’ll send you get one of the BEST strategies I learned to make healthy changes last. This strategy took me 10 years to figure out… but YOU can get it today.

“…I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me…”

It’s taken me some time to get here, but now that I understand, I’m not ashamed of all my scars.

I hope this article helps you understand the value of structured eating and that you’ll try it.

Do you have any questions about structured eating?



  Work with me - 1:1 Coaching Buy Now - It took me 10 years to lose 10 pounds What the F do I eat?


Sharing what I learned makes the 10 years I STRUGGLED worth it

Have you heard of structured eating before?