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One Way to Lose Weight: The Do More Good Principle

One of the interesting things about losing a lot of weight is that everyone wants to know your secret. It is as if there were some magic potion that only a select few know about.

When I was 275 pounds, I used to scour the web and magazines for secrets to losing weight; I was a little obsessed. I came into contact with people who were successful with weight loss and would probe them for their secret. They usually said “diet and exercise.” That is definitely not what I wanted to hear. I would try one television “secret” after another, all of them promising swift and long-term weight loss. I became so desperate to lose weight that I was throwing my money (that’s all they are after) at these advertisements.

So, what changed for me? How did I drop 90 pounds? Don’t hate me: Diet and exercise. OK, you can curse at me if you want to because that is exactly what I did when people told me that diet and exercise worked for them. The real secret is that there is no secret at all. I can tell you with 100 percent certainty that I did not “eat whatever I wanted” and it actually took work for me to lose the weight, but I developed a strategy. And a strategy is what will make you successful where you have previously failed.

The Do More Good (DMG) principle was my strategy for weight loss and overall wellness and it has worked wonders for me. The principle is founded on the idea that continuous small changes lead to big results. Think about a typical day in your life. When you sit down to eat a meal, how much would you normally eat? If you are at a restaurant, what would you normally order? Applying the DMG principle involves being aware of what you would normally do and choosing something a little better.

Here is your warning: it will be incredibly tempting to go in the complete opposite direction and go from a hamburger and fries diet to an all-salad diet, but this will not work. You will crash and burn, likely ending up on a binge and worse off than when you started. Just do more good; a little at a time. Order the same hamburger, but get it with no mayonnaise and no bacon. Change begets change. Do not try and rush something this important.

Create a new normal for yourself. Go with no mayo and no bacon until it becomes your new normal, and when that new normal is established, do more good. This time you could switch to a leaner meat such as chicken or turkey, or you could switch to a whole grain bun. You do not even have to exchange food to do more good; cutting back on portions is just as helpful. Order the small fries instead of your normal jumbo size, or order a small slice of cheesecake instead of the entire cake.

As you continue to establish new norms for yourself (give them at least a month), you will be amazed at the progress you will make over time. You will one day look back and realize that you have made tremendous change, just in small steps. Eventually, your normal may be the all-salad diet you dreamed of.

Don’t let people shame you out of a DMG life. We all have chuckled at the person who orders two dozen donuts and a diet soda. It sounds ridiculous because what is the point in a diet soda if you are chowing down on donuts?

This person is the DMG principle in action. A diet soda is better for you calorically than a regular soda, and maybe this person used to order three dozen donuts and a regular soda. People will give you a hard time, especially in the beginning. Usually it is because people feel threatened when others are trying to improve their lives. It forces them to look at their own. Their insecurities are not your burdens. I remember all my friends poking at me when I switched to diet soda; that was 90 pounds ago.

You can do this. Bigtime, major change is within your power. It just won’t feel like bigtime, major change when you start. Every time you sit down for a meal think to yourself, “What would I normally eat and how much?” Then do more good. I used to think it would never happen for me, but here I am.

Think smaller, think manageable, and think achievable. Get yourself moving in the right direction and anything can happen. Order the chicken instead of the pork, go with diet soda instead of regular, take the stairs instead of the elevator, and don’t listen to the people who give you a hard time. Those very same people will likely be asking you for weight loss advice very soon.

Better breakfast photo available from Shutterstock

One Way to Lose Weight: The Do More Good Principle

Thomas Winterman

Thomas Winterman is a therapist, school counselor, author, and blogger who lives in Panama City, FL. His e-book, The Thrive Life, is available on Amazon. His blog can be found at

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APA Reference
Winterman, T. (2018). One Way to Lose Weight: The Do More Good Principle. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 24, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 27 Aug 2015)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
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