Once Upon Your Weight Loss | The Competent

The Question “How to Lose Weight” changes slightly to “How Do I Lose Weight Better?”

The Competent: The Hero (You) has now completed the basic training and are no longer looking for info on weight loss for beginners.

Now, you need info for the next stage.

What stage is that? When you are completing the basics through conscious effort and hard work.

[A quick aside to remember: you, the reader, (not You, The Hero) might actually be at a different stage of mastery, so remember the distinction between you, the reader, and You, The Hero, as you, the reader, learns about the ranks on the way to Weight Loss Mastery. Clear as mud? Ok, let’s dive in…]

Related: Once Upon Your Weight Loss | The Novice

When The Master took The Hero under wing, The Hero was presented with a small book, titled Training Manual Volume 1. And given clear instruction that the only task was to read what was in the book.

(If you’re curious about the actual steps to weight loss, check out How To Stop Failing At Weight Loss.)

At first, The Hero was a little skeptical.

The Basics of how to lose weight were pretty simple, and the book wasn’t so big. Could The Hero really become A Master with such little information?

After much assurance, The Hero shrugged, and started reading.

Is Weight Loss Really This Easy?

The Hero devoured the information pretty quickly. Man! This Hero business was cake! Mmm… cake.

Once The Hero read the information, The Master walked The Hero through the steps everyday.

The Master gave The Hero little room to fail at this point – no cake, but no other temptations either. What The Master said, The Hero did.

They followed the same routine every single day, with The Master modeling behavior and not providing The Hero with any choices.

“So, is this all there is? This is kind of simple,” The Hero, having digested Training Manual Volume 1 and picking up on the basics after just a couple weeks, asked The Master. “Is there, like, a Volume 2 that I can read now?”

Boredom loomed, and Variety called The Hero’s name every night.

“Nope. That’s all you need to know in there. And now that you’ve shown you understand the basics, it’s time for a test.” The Master set off toward the mountains, leaving The Hero without any option but to follow.

As they walked, The Master casually turned to The Hero.

What’s Next, And How Do I Lose Weight Better?

“You’ve leveled in your rank, by the way. You’re now at the level of a Competent.”

The Hero hadn’t been with The Master very long, so wasn’t sure if this was a joke. With skepticism, the newly ranked Competent smiled.

“That was quick. Do I get a Gold Star or something?”

The Master only laughed, and lead The Hero into a dark cave.

“You’re a smart person. The Basics of how to lose weight are easy enough,” The Master walked into the darkness, voice echoing into the abyss. “You’ve shown you can complete the basics at standard requirements. So, now you get to move to the next thing.”

The Hero saw a light, and eagerly jogged toward it to escape the darkness, but skidded to a complete stop when the light illuminated the test within the cave. There, sleeping peacefully, was a large dragon – who, even in sleep, was obviously deadly.

“It’s time for you to Beat The Dragon.”

“Time out!” The Hero cried. “The very first challenge is to Beat The Dragon? Wait, what? Isn’t that supposed to be an end level boss?”

“Not in this story, Hero.”

“Ok… how do I beat the dragon then?” The Hero’s voice wavered, the uncertainty in the ability to complete this task evident.

Challenge #1:  Beat The Dragon

Weight Loss Mastery doesn’t have to be hard.

The Hero is no longer a Novice, and just learning the basics isn’t good enough anymore. The challenge now is in DOING the basics, consistently, with conscious effort.

And that is really, really hard for some of us Heroes.

The Dragon may seem scary, yet for The Master, beating the Dragon is as simple as saying “I choose to beat it.”

We all face our own dragons, and the size of the dragon may be large or small, depending on the power we allow it to hold over us, The Hero.

This Dragon of Weight Loss Mastery will require defeat multiple times a day – every single day.

But every time we defeat the dragon, it gets smaller and less powerful. The hardest part is defeating it the first time, and then staying constant.

The first victory adds strength to the second, and the third, and it compounds until we are strong. Then, sometimes we suffer a set back and lose all the momentum, and we spiral into a series of losses.

So, we must start again, until we have built up enough wins that we can suffer some losses without dire consequence of getting pulled off track.

He is no hero who never met the dragon, or who, if he once saw it, declared afterwards that he saw nothing. Equally, only one who has risked the fight with the dragon and is not overcome by it wins the hoard, the “treasure hard to attain.”

Carl Jung, Collected Works, V.14, par. 756
How Do I Lose Weight Better?
Beat The Dragon of Weight Loss

Here’s an example from my own journey, I followed a prescribed weight loss menu, with the food already listed out, exactly what to eat and when to eat it! Basic, and simple.

And yet, when I tried to follow this through Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers, I completely failed – completely.

I ate out every meal, and then bemoaned that the weight loss programs were so expensive and that I was spending all of my money on foods that I wouldn’t even eat.

Plus also having to buy the food I would eat. Ultimately, I quit both programs never even advancing past the Novice stage. I didn’t realize that I had to Focus and make a Conscious effort just to pick the right food, and that I was going to fail and pick the wrong foods most of the time.

I now understand that every time I picked the right food, I was beating a dragon.

Remember what Yoda said… Do or do not, there is no try. That applies when asking “How Do I Lose Weight Better” in the biggest way.

Challenge #2: Learn The “Secret” Ingredients

In 2020, I decided to really learn how to cook from a Master, so I ordered Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking and began actually making food worth eating.

I learned so much.

So much about making good food, and how to lose weight through food. And I cannot tell you how it opened my eyes to what food can be like from my own kitchen.

I can’t recommend it highly enough, and if you decide you want to Master it, too, you can order it here (I may receive a small commission if you decide to purchase, at no extra cost to you, btw…)

Mastering the Art of French Cooking – Child, Bertholle, Beck

In her section on bread, she explained the secret ingredient to making real French bread.

I’ll let you in on it without needing to buy the book – Time.

But she explains it only the way Julia Child can, so I urge you to read her book. She is the perfect example of a real Master. Ok, enough from this fan-girl on that subject.

Time cannot be forced, and it cannot be sped up or slowed down.

It happens in exactly the way it will happen. What we can do is harness this unmovable force, and use it to help us toward mastery. Knowing that time will happen regardless gives us an advantage.

In a year, we will be a year older anyway. So, why not meet ourselves in the future a few pounds lighter? Following the basics is not a life-sentence. We don’t have to do it forever, ad infinitum.

There is another “Secret” ingredient in how to lose weight, that also feels click-baity – Repetition. Repetition, over Time, can only result in mastery.

There is Good Mastery, and there is Bad Mastery. So, if you chose to master something but the technique is bad, you’ll still be a master at doing the thing just with bad technique.

Always refer back to the basics to determine if you are doing the thing right. If not, start again until the repetition of doing it right makes you a master of doing it the right way.

Challenge #3: Allow The Secret Ingredients to Work

In trying to think of a catchy movie or story chapter that lays out the impossible task of Allowing for Time and Repetition in a lovely visual. But all that came to mind was an 80s movie montage where The Hero practices the skills in a series of fast cut scenes.

We’re shown that The Hero is practicing competency, but it’s so boring that even the movie production machine can’t make it exciting.

In our formative minds, we think we should gloss over it, too, or completely skip this step all together. It can’t be worth the trouble if all it gets is 5 minutes of face time.

Probably the most iconic of the training montages is Daniel, in The Karate Kid (1984, Avildsen). Daniel finds A Master, begins his training, learns to Wax On and Wax Off, and then we basically blink and he is through the practicing stage of competency.

There was a catchy song, and we did see him fail and succeed. But what we didn’t see is how many times there was failure or success.

Because if we had to sit and watch Daniel fail at waxing for 2 hours, we’d turn off the movie the third time he illustrated that he sucked at karate.

But the thing is, we didn’t get to see that 4th time where he actually sucked LESS. Maybe by a minuscule amount, but he got better over time and through much repetition, and we missed it because it’s honestly boring to watch and sometimes boring to do.

The Karate Kid – 1984

The Competent stage is such an important step in the mastery process, that glossing over it in montage format so many times has done a major disservice to everyone in our culture.

You have been done a disservice.

It is important to acknowledge it now, so we both can grieve over what has happened to You, The Hero, in not being given the gift of learning about the competent stage from the beginning, and so having a much harder and longer journey.

Take a deep breath, and let’s both say together “Thank you, God (or whoever your higher power is, be it the Universe or something else), for sending me on the harder and longer journey so that I could learn other things along the way that I otherwise would not have learned.”

Chant that mantra until the anger dissipates, breathe through the anger.

If you don’t understand the anger at this moment, and think I’m nuts for bringing this up at all, it’s ok. Just remember this section when the anger hits you in the future. Come back and re-read it then.

Now, we can move forward.

This time is for practicing accomplishing the basics, and Beating The Dragon. You might fail in this step, but this is conscious, intentional decision making to win.

Keep going! You can do this!


For most of my life I was overweight. In my 30s, I became morbidly obese, tipping the scales over 330 pounds. After trying and failing at every diet, I decided to get gastric bypass RNY weight loss surgery. Since 2016 I have been living a much healthier life, I hit my weight loss goals, but more importantly, understand weight loss now. I am determined to share what I now know.

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