The Psychology of Losing Weight

(and never finding it again!)

If you struggle with being overweight long enough, you might begin to suspect that the solution may have little to do with what you eat and more to do with how you think. The parade of popular diets never ends because they never work long term. Low-fat, low-carb, low-sanity: The end result is always the same, the diet "works", but you "fail". The truth is it's the other way round. "Working" means a lasting lifestyle change that you can live with.

Using this methodology, the author has maintained a weight loss of over 100 pounds for more than 30 years. Based on the ideas of the late Dr. Burt Bradley, this is a realistic, step-by-step guide to solving a weight problem once and for all -- without dieting and chronicles the author's experience learning to use the technique as well as provide a guide for adapting it to your life.

The Cornerstones Concept provides the infrastructure to lose weight permanently, but more importantly it contains the tools to re-invent yourself as you truly want to be. If you have tried endless fad diets only to find yourself more miserable than when you started, Losing It? The Psychology of Losing Weight and Never Finding it Again provides the solution you have been seeking.


I am a 40 year old male who has been using (what I have always called) the "Journal" method for the past 12 years - something I thought I had "invented" myself. The secret is having the Journal (writing down such things as "had a "quarter-pound bag" of jelly beans" etc. was, for me, more than I could bear!). Self discipline is essential. Anyone who is disciplined and who uses a Journal FAITHFULLY, Will succeed. When I would contemplate a chocolate bar, and then remember that, later, I would have to enter that in my diary, it just was not worth the effort for me to eat, and then write it down. At 40, I am in better physical shape than ever in my life. The Journal and Self Control ... it does work.

I love it and to my astonishment it is so truth and real. As I was reading this I thought of various ocassions that I went into our cafeteria here at work and saw skinny people getting anything they wanted on the menus and I thought "Why can't I eat everything like they do and still look great", but then I went off getting my soups and salads and other "healthy" items. It's like finding a light bulb that was in me turn bright and shiny, but throughout all this time It was just off. Yesterday I thought "this is easy" but even this morning I had a difficult time starting out the day and rating my hunger between 1 and 10. To my amazement I found out that it is not as easy as I thought because first of all I have no concept of this feeling (the hunger and full levels). But everyday I will 1)think of 3 agreements and try to keep them 2)Be active for 20 minutes and watch my pulse rate 3)rate my hunger from 1-10 4)Take 10 minutes each day to relax and destress my self. I feel that a new me just arose and for the first time I was yielded in the right direction. Thank you

This book was just what I was looking for, something that dealt with the thought process of overeating. As a bonus, which I wasn't expecting, the book includes the tools to begin working on the underlying issues. The fact that the author went though many of the challenges I've dealt with gave him the perspective to write a book of this nature.

This book has got to be the best I've ever read on the topic of weight loss. It addresses the actual issues behind being over weight, treating the over weight as a symptom of deeper issues. Beware, its not for any one that is looking for a quick fix, but it is the only book I've ever read (and I've read many!) that can actually offer a long term solution. Probably more for the person who has done many diets and is ready to consider the root of the problem. Its very exciting and gives real hope for an over haul on your entire life.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Cornerstone Concept

This isn't a diet. It has nothing to do with forcing yourself to eat certain things in order to lose weight. It is a technique to change the way you think so that you can eat what you want, but what you want will change to meet your real goals. Diets never work!

You've lost weight, but that isn't my definition of "working". If the diet had truly worked, you wouldn't be reading this. The proper definition of a diet "working" is whether you lost weight and kept it off. Diets are temporary fixes that change nothing. Even if you had managed to lose weight and keep it off, I would still be reluctant to call that "working" if your life didn't change to meet your real goals.

This concept is based on the ideas of the late Dr. Burt Bradley, a psychologist and talk show host in Atlanta, Georgia who for years taught a course called The Psychology of Losing Weight and Never Finding It Again. I have followed his ideas for 30+ years and wrote this book so that Dr. Bradley's ideas can benefit others even after his passing.

Have you ever seen a person at a healthy weight that doesn't diet?  Of course you have!  Dieting has nothing to do with your weight.  The secret is learning how to live the life you want, and then letting everything fall into place.  You're body will adjust to your life, not the other way around.

This isn't something you apply to your life and fix it. It is a way of living. There is no end to it. You'll be finished when your life is. That is the reason no diet will ever work. They are temporary fixes based on the assumption that once you reach your goal, your life can then improve. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The Cornerstones provide the framework within which you construct your life. They are Journal Keeping, Stress Reduction, Fitness, and Nutrition. Although you may have encountered ideas from these four areas before, combining their effects creates an entirely new result and begins a transformation process. The only requirement is that you do something from each of the 4 Cornerstones every day. It doesn't have to be overwhelming. Even the slightest activity in each produces the desired effect.

No one Cornerstone is more important than the others. It is important to use all 4 everyday. Like the walls of a building, they support the entire structure. If one is missing, the structure will fail. You will find that by including all 4 in your daily routine, you will be able to make it through the rough patches in life rather than having your efforts thwarted by circumstances. What makes the Cornerstones so powerful is that they will protect you when you need it most -- when your motivation is waning, not just when your motivation is strong.

You must do all of the Cornerstones to get the desired effect. Everybody finds certain Cornerstones harder than the others, but those are exactly the activities that will help you the most. You don't have to do any more in any Cornerstone than you can handle, the more important thing is that you do something. The best time of day to do the various Cornerstones depends on you. You don't need to do them all at once, and you should experiment to find the best time. Many people find that doing them in the morning before the day starts is the most effective, particularly the hardest ones for you. That way, they are out of the way for the day and you will feel energized with your accomplishment for the rest of the day.

A paradigm is a filter through which we understand how things in life work. Like a pair of glasses, they adjust, occasionally distort, but ultimately determine how we see things. They are the foundation of our belief systems. We are rarely aware of our own paradigms until something disturbs them.

Part of this approach is to figure out what you think about who you are and what your options really are. You'll need to figure out just what it is that you really are seeking. You need to look past "losing weight" and focus on what it is that you think will be better in your life when you lose it. That is your real goal, it is never only to lose weight. Once you are aware of that, you can use the Cornerstones as building blocks to create that life. The weight loss will follow your goals, not lead them.

You are a part of other people's lives, just as they are a part of yours. You are part of their paradigms, and if you start making changes to yours, you will be changing theirs as well. This change may not always be welcomed. Even though people may claim to be supportive, you have to be prepared for problems. When a paradigm changes, people experience the "grief cycle". Just knowing this and recording it in your journal can be very helpful. In the end, everyone will reach the acceptance phase. The most important thing is to stay the course. Use your journal to process the experiences.

Most of us are able to keep commitments to other people, but rarely to ourselves. Over time, we become people we don't trust and it takes a toll on our self-worth. Agreements are a deceptively simple tools to rebuild that confidence and keep us moving down the right path. They sound so simple that it is tempting to dismiss them, but you will be surprised to see just how difficult they can be and how empowering they are if done properly. At one level, agreements are the power tool that you will use to sculpt the new you, but at a deeper, almost unconscious level, agreements rebuild your self-confidence.

Think of agreements as the mortar or glue that holds the Cornerstones together. They are used in all 4 Cornerstones.

Agreements will provide the leverage to keep elevating your life to the level that you are really seeking. If you think of a building built around the 4 Cornerstones, agreements will allow you keep adding new layers or floors to your construction project.

If you are breaking your agreements, you need to drop back a level and make easier agreements that you can keep. You need to rebuild your trust in yourself. Once you have done that, try increasing the difficulty again.

No. When you make an agreement, you must keep it absolutely for it to have the desired effect. Of course, that isn't realistic, especially if you are striving to reach a new level. You will break agreements, but that doesn't make it okay. If you are breaking too many agreements, they will work against you, not for you. Don't ever agree to something that you don't think you will be willing or able to do.

A good agreement needs to be able to be judged by the question "Did I keep it exactly?". That means it should be designed with a specific action and a specific time frame. It can't be open ended in any way. It must come down to a "yes" or "no". There can be no hedging or excuses.

Your body will know what it is. Your weight will follow your life, not determine it. Don't let anybody tell you what your "ideal" weight is. Don't think in terms of an endpoint, that will always get you in trouble. This is a continuous process just like life.

That can vary based on many factors. The most important thing is start living the life you want right now, not worry about how much weight you've lost. Your weight will quickly fall in line with your life goals. Get your mind there first, your body will follow.

The purpose of the journal is for you to get to know yourself. It also serves to monitor your behaviors before they become problems. By recording your experiences with all of the 4 Cornerstones, the journal helps to keep you honest and not slip into denial. It can help you work through problems, or serve as an early warning sign for troubles down the road. Patterns will appear over time that are extremely enlightening.

It matters little what or how well you write, only that you do write. You are not writing for anybody but yourself. No one else will see it.

The real value of a journal is in the writing, not the reading. It would be just as valid to write each day and destroy the pages as to keep them. Writing uses a different section of our brain than talking or thinking. It is a way of joining our conscious with our unconscious thought. Exposing these thoughts through the writing mechanism changes our perceptions and enlightens us in many ways.

No, definitely not. A journal is as privledged as a discussion with a doctor, psychotherapist, or even a priest. If you are worried that someone else will see it, you won't get the true value.

Beyond recording your efforts in the other 3 Cornerstones and your agreements and their outcomes, use your journal to write anything that comes to mind about the quality of your life at that moment. It doesn't need to make sense, just write and see what comes out. You can start by recording what happened to you each day, but try to proceed to the feelings that accompanied those experiences.

Eat whatever you want, when you want. Just make sure you record it in your journal.

That is not recommended. A diet is someone elses set of rules, not yours. Your goal is to find what works for you and let your own goals guide you. Once you remove the "rules", you remove the opportunity for your subconscious to come up with excuses to break the rules. If you don't have rules, you can't fail.

Don't thin, healthy people eat what they want to? Do they ever indulge themselves? Of course they do, and they still stay thin. Your job is to think like a thin person, not a fat person trying to be thin. Your body will follow your mindset.

If you're alive, you have a certain level of fitness. Start there. Make a few agreements to go a little further than that. That may only mean changing channels more often while laying on the couch. Your goal is to get your heartrate elevated to get the physical effects. Start where you are and just go from there. As your self-image and corresponding paradigms begin to shift, the idea of physical fitness will take on new meanings for you.

Another mis-belief is that you exercise to use up calories. While that is certainly true, the real benefit is that physical activity resets your body's "appetite thermostat" and begins to regulate your hunger and how efficiently your body uses what you eat. The 300 calories you might burn during a basic workout is nothing compared to the calories you will be burning 24 hours a day by being physically fit.