What a novelist can teach us about weight loss


I recently stumbled upon a beautiful quote by the American novelist and short story writer Nathaniel Hawthorne:

Happiness in this world, when it comes, comes incidentally. Make it the object of pursuit, and it leads us on a wild-goose chase, and is never attained. Follow some other object, and very possibly we may find that we have caught happiness without dreaming of it.

Happiness is as a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.

What struck me most about Hawthorne’s words was their profound applicability to the world of weight loss, health, and fitness. Consider a slight paraphrasing:

Weight loss in this world, when it comes, comes incidentally. Make it the object of pursuit, and it leads us on a wild-goose chase, and is never attained. Follow some other object (such as the metabolic healing or long-term health), and very possibly we may find that we slim down and stay that way for the rest of our lives without dreaming of it.

Weight loss is as a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp but which, if you eat high-quality foods and do higher-quality exercise, may alight upon you.

It may be a stretch, but something about it resonates with me. Would we improve upon the 95% failure rate of traditional “eat less, exercise more” weight loss approaches if we channeled Hawthorne, freed ourselves from the chains of weight loss, sought gradual metabolic healing, and enabled “slim” to land gently upon us?

PS The critical distinction between health, fat loss, and weight loss is covered in more detail in this ebook and this blog post.