How to lose weight without really trying

I’m a big believer in signs. Not big, blaring neon signs, although they have their place. I’m referring to the signs your life send you that tell you when you’re on the right track.

Or about to derail into a ditch.

Fir example… I moved from Connecticut to California about 18 years ago. I was nervous about the entire process for many reasons. For one, I knew no one in California (we were moving because my husband accepted a job in San Diego) and had never even visited the west coast, let alone live there.

Whenever I feel this way about something, I pay close attention to the way things fall into place — or don’t. 

If nothing goes right and I feel as if I’m forcing something to happen that isn’t meant to be, I question my judgment.

On the other hand, when it all comes together effortlessly, I’m more confident I’m moving in the right direction.

In this particular case, everything pointed in the right direction.

At the time, I had a good personal training business, a full schedule and lots of clients. I wanted to sell it, except it’s not easy to sell a service business, I discovered.

When I told people I planned to sell my business, everyone said I’d “never” be able to do it, mainly because I was the business. I was going house to house, so it wasn’t as if I could just send a new person in my place. “Surprise! My name is Sven and I will be working your core musculature today. Lie down.”

Nope. That trainer will quickly end up in the back of a police car.

One day I was pondering the situation while working out in a gym when I casually mentioned this to another trainer. I told her I was about to give up. “Wait a minute,” she said, pausing between crunches. “I may be interested.”

Long story short, we agreed on a leveraged buyout, where I gradually introduced her to my clients and then “handed her off” to them when I moved. She sent me a percentage of profits for the next year, at which point it became officially her business.


At the same time, I had to start putting out feelers for a job in California. Out of “nowhere,” a Greenwich, CT client of mine tells me she knows the owner a fitness facility near our new home in California. What were the chances of that? I had a job waiting for me before I left the state!

Boom. Boom. Boom.

Other times everything goes wrong that can possibly go wrong. That’s when I know it’s time to pull the plug.

Same goes for weight loss and getting fit.

The right nutrition plan and workout program should fit with your lifestyle, goals, and everything else smoothly.

Signs you’re not doing it right:

  • You’re so hungry you’d eat this post if it had catsup on it
  • You’ve lost all your friends due to carb-depletion bouts of anger
  • You’d rather appear on Naked and Afraid than do one more workout

Losing weight for good requires making changes you can do for the rest of your life. If you’re feeling any one of these three things, chances are you’re not going to experience success.

The key: Make one change at a time and do it until it becomes part of your life. 

“Oh, sure,” you’re probably thinking, “I’ll reach my goals by the time I’m 90.” Not true. It takes a while, sure, but it’s permanent. I did it years ago. I’ve talked before about how I cut out nighttime eating and lost nearly 20 pounds in a year.

Yes, it took time, but what’s the rush? Changes that take time are more likely to stick. I lost weight about five years ago and have kept it off easily every since.

That ONE change made all the difference. Was it super easy? No, I was a little hungry at night at times, but it was a small price to pay. And I still do it.

This small change is as close to losing weight without trying as you’ll ever get, but it could take a while to see the results.

Here are the problems with nighttime noshing: 

  • It’s usually mindless eating while doing something else like watching TV, so you’re unaware of how many calories you’re eating
  • You’re eating at the end of the day when you don’t have time to burn it off
  • You’re more likely to experience indigestion or GERD
  • If you’re a night snacker, cutting out the nighttime treat easily eliminates a few hundred calories

Are you a nighttime nosher? Then check out these tips for cutting back on calories after dinner… 

1. Decide on a reasonable cut-off time

If you’re used to eating right up until it’s lights out, start by curtailing eating an hour before bedtime. Even a half-hour if an hour is too tough. Then start rolling back. I stop about two hours before sleep. Three hours would be even better.

2. Eat more during the day

Most people overeat at night because they don’t eat much during the day. So not only are you starving by the time dinner rolls around, but you feel justified in eating as much as humanly possible since you hardly ate all day. Problem is, it’s super easy to eat more than a day’s worth of calories in a single meal. Alarmingly easy.

So plan on eating small meals and healthy snacks throughout the day to keep blood sugar levels even, which staves off the hangries.

3. Plan a healthy snack   

You don’t have to abstain completely at night, just avoid eating mindlessly. If you’re tracking your food (another sure-fire way to lose weight I’ve talked about many times), know how many calories you can “spare” after dinner. I usually have a 100-calorie or so snack like a yogurt or handful of a Trader Joe’s wheat biscuit cereal I love.

NOW YOU… Are you a nighttime nosher? If so, will you try one or more of these tips this week? Let me know in the comments section below… and please share this post with your friends on social media by clicking on the buttons! 

Other posts you may enjoy:

4 Dietary mistakes you don’t know you’re making

3 “harmless” diet beliefs that sabotage weight loss

3 Steps to create an effective weight loss strategy

Your Ageless Body Coach,

By the way, if you need help creating an effective plan, register for my live webinar next Thursday, March 16 at 10:00 a.m., How to Beat the Odds at Weight Loss After Menopause. Look for details coming soon!


  1. Mary Collette Rogers on March 9, 2017 at 7:43 am

    Totally agree with your advice on making small changes. For me, there’s almost something magical about the way small steps add up to big change. Maybe it’s because time moves so fast these days. Before you know it, two months is gone–and if you had started a small change you’d have it down! I also think there’s a snowball effect that goes on. Success with one small change motivates you to do more and be more dedicated. Thanks, too for the tips on nighttime noshing–my personal downfall : ( !

    • Linda Melone on March 9, 2017 at 9:29 am

      Great point, Mary! Time does go by faster and faster, doesn’t it? And yes, it’s definitely a snowball effect that can result in a sequence of changes over time. Glad you liked the tips :).

  2. Sue on March 9, 2017 at 9:04 am

    I do the mindless snacking at night. I keep telling myself no snacks after X time, but more often than not, I break down. But with Lent here, I decided to tweak my normal fast (eat only healthy foods as snacks — but I’d end up binging on the healthy stuff like nuts). This Lent, I’m eating only at meals. If I really need another snack, it will be something very healthy and not past dinner. I’m doing this for the discipline (and a little suffering since my body has grown accustomed to the late night nosh) and to lead me to a path to a healthier eating lifestyle (and yes, lose some weight).

    It’s been a week, and it’s getting easier. When I think I’m hungry, I drink water — sometimes straight, sometimes flavored with teas. My snack exception is our Fridays at the winery when I skip the chips and crackers and munch on a handful of pistachios or olives (but small handfuls) so I have some food with my wine.

    The trick for me will really be keeping up this discipline, especially at night, without Lent to keep me on track.

    • Linda Melone on March 9, 2017 at 9:34 am

      Lent is a great way to find incentive, Sue! And it seems to work for you. As you’ve found, it gets easier over time. I do the same, drink tea and water only at night. Keeping your hands busy also helps. I got into adult coloring books for awhile, and I know another woman who took up needlepoint. Keep it up! 🙂

  3. Kary on March 9, 2017 at 9:46 pm

    This is a great tip. The nighttime snacking has been wreaking havoc for me as well. I’m trying to limit sweets to 1 day per week during Lent, and actually looking into Fasting as a year round discipine (within reason). My sister swears by pre-preparing a bowl of fruit and then only snacks on that – something like blueberries, apple chunks, etc.

    Thank you so much for this. I’m intrigued by your webinar but I have to work at that time so I’ll wait for more details to follow.

    • Linda Melone on March 10, 2017 at 9:06 am

      Sounds good, Kary! I will do a second live webinar after this one if there’s enough interest.

  4. Patricia Scott on March 10, 2017 at 4:31 am

    Linda I want to make a post but wanted to make sure it is private for our group. Is this the spot I do that?

    • Linda Melone on March 10, 2017 at 9:08 am

      Sure, Pat. You can post in the Facebook group. I that what you meant?

  5. Betty on March 11, 2017 at 9:10 am

    Thank you for your tips! They are always practical and doable 😊 I’ve been doing a 30 day challenge with some excercises at home and it’s true that it takes a while to see results. My problem was impatience! But now I’m seeing that perseverance is key. Thanks again for your post- always a motivator for me👍

    • Linda Melone on March 11, 2017 at 10:51 am

      Thanks, Betty! Yes, definitely stick with it. It takes time, but if you do the right things, it will happen :).

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