When it Comes to Weight Loss…it's NEVER Just One Cookie

A new client and I got into a debate the other day over cookies.

Specifically, we got into a debate about a single cookie she ate while packing her child’s lunch before sending him off to school for the day.

She thought that I was being unreasonable by suggesting that if she wanted to achieve her weight loss goals (15-20 lbs before bikini season), she couldn’t be liberating cookies from her kid’s stash. She said….”it’s only one cookie”

And in theory she was right…it was only one cookie. But in her specific case, she was wrong.

She was wrong because:

  • The excess bodyfat she is trying to lose is metabolically active…constantly sending chemical signals encouraging over-eating and fat storage
  • She is insulin resistant…and that cookie will result in a hormonal firestorm leading to cravings for a 2nd cookie…and a grande mocha latte at Starbucks and half a loaf of garlic bread at dinner…
  • She has established a powerful set of eating habits in the basal ganglia portion of her brain. One of those habits is to sneak a cookie while packing her kid’s lunch. This habit (plus others) has led to her putting on body-fat year after year.
  • The emotional soothing she gets from that cookie reinforces all of those mental/physical/hormonal signals that have led her to be unhappy with the state of her bod.

At this point in her transformation… it’s never just one cookie. It’s a whole bunch of terribly unfair side effects that will keep her frustrated that she can’t lose weight.

NOTE – In a couple of months, I won’t be such a jerk. We’ll have her hormones under control and she will be able to enjoy eating a cookie with her son again…and still continue losing body-fat.


  1. Thank you for this reminder! Just as I was about to sit down and eat a 1/3 cup of trail mix (that included m&ms) I started reading this and have decided not to eat the trail mix. Thanks Doug! Can you be my trainer next?! 🙂 

  2. Hey Ellen,

    That’s a tricky question. I have a friend who has been struggling with various hormonal imbalances for years. This guy is very, very active…and is willing to try any diet, supplement, drug, etc to get his hormones back to ‘normal’. Since I have known him, he has spentless countless hours & a ton of cash looking for a solution.

    Unfortunately, his hormones are still pretty wacky and he is still taking drugs, eating clean, exercising like a mad man…and still can’t get his BF where he wants it. Making things worse, he is trying to have a kid and his hormone/drug protocol makes that whole thing a little more complicated than it should be.

    But this isn’t what I normally run into.

    What’s normal is a lot of people with insulin resistance (and to a lesser degree leptin resistance). Even if this problem has progressed to type 2 diabetes, it’s a pretty easy fix with macronutrient manipulation and supplements. Of course this hormone imbalance also means that brain chemicals, neural pathways and personal environment is working against us as well.

    Here’s where I start getting into another group of supplements (incl adaptogens) as well as mind-body techniques, big-time lifestyle modifications and a lot of formalized external support.

    And of course, none of this stuff ever works like it did with another client. It’s a constant balancing act…with me and the client trying to find the right balance of techniques to keep them moving forward.

  3. So did she stop eating the cookie? And if she did, did it have any noticeable affect on her weight loss?

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