Hi! I’m Leslie.
For 8 years, Leslie has been helping high-achieving professionals who struggle with problematic eating and weight patterns create a blissful relationship with food while losing weight left and right.
Her proprietary system Lean Instinct Formula™ leverages powerful wisdom from Asia which helps people achieve food freedom and weight freedom in weeks by reactivating their dormant instincts.
Besides coaching, Leslie is also a sought-after expert for world-scale media outlet for opinion on topics she teaches on, and she’s an Expert Contributor for Entrepreneur.com — world’s #1 magazine for entrepreneurs.
She’s also a guest at the world’s top 1% podcasts.
A Different Weight Loss Journey: How I Lost 50 Pounds Without Trying
A long time ago, during an expert interview with US News & World Report, the reporter asked me to share my own weight loss journey. After I did it, their readers were enthusiastically inspired by my experience as I kept receiving emails from them for weeks and weeks. That led me to believe it’s worthwhile to share it with you here especially because of how closely relevant it is to your dream, and how dramatically it might shift your belief about real, permanent weight loss.
If you are a friend who first met me in the last 16 years, just by watching at how I look, stand, talk, move, laugh, walk, dress myself, and interact with everyone, you’d had no idea that at one point of my life, I was a 50-pound-overweight, self-conscious, invisible girl with no self-confidence yet uncontainable obsession towards two things: food and diets.
When I moved to the US many years ago from China for college, I quickly put on 30 pounds in 3 months. I struggled to lose the weight and before I realized it, I’ve already dieted myself into compulsive eating disorder.
I remember spending hours and hours everyday researching diets, counting recipe calories, and thinking about food. And for a while, I binge ate three large bagels for breakfast every morning, each loaded with cream cheese and strawberry jam. The trauma was more than just digestive tract overload because along with every chunk of food swallowed was a mouthful of mixed bitter emotions — layered with self-disappointment, shame, fears, anger, and sadness. And for that entire year, I was either doing extremely depriving diets or rebelling through this extreme form of self-sabotage.
You see, the food and diet obsession can drug your mind and turn you into someone you don’t know….If you were ambitious, you lose your ability to dream big. If you loved to socialize, you now hide and become lonely. And have you ever asked yourself who you would’ve been if you’ve never had that trauma to begin with? I know I did during those days — A LOT.
By the end of that year, I put on another 20 pounds despite all the dieting efforts. And the worst part? None of the psychologists or therapists could help me with my ever-growing fears and addictions and the self-sabotaging mindset towards food. I was stuck in the slump of watching both my body and mind going completely out of control. The car was running off road at 80mph, the brake was broken, and I was stuck inside. THAT was the mental picture of the fears, worries, and misery I was going through daily when I kept overstuffing myself at breakfast and depriving myself for the rest of the day.
Things were turned around before I realized it.
That summer, a month back at home in China transformed my life.
And the person who made that change happen was my mother – the strict, demanding, tiger lady who I dreaded so badly after making every single mistake growing up.
Before I met her at the airport, I’ve imagined various scenes where she crushed my already traumatized, shrinking ego. I was petrified! But that just showed how much I didn’t know my mom.
The woman who gave me life, although failing to recognize me within the first few seconds of the reunion, didn’t mention a word about my body. And later, she helped me lose a ton of it.
Through what? Time traveling.
Not by psychic power, simply by restoring the life that I used to live, through treating me the same home-made food I used to have all the time that made me happy, satisfied and fully nourished. So every morning, I woke up to a simple yet nourishing breakfast (generally it’s congee with kimchi or a bowl of noodle with a pan fried egg). At noon time, I had a bowl of rice with 2-3 plates of colorful, delicious stir-fries and a satiating, clear soup. For dinner, we usually ate the leftover from lunch, but my mom has a way of making everything look and taste like just freshly made. During the day, we enjoyed some fruit platters while watching TV or chatting.
This was the best that could ever happen to me at that time. It made me happy, and most importantly, it enabled me to feel like a normal person again. Indeed, when you’ve deprived yourself for such a long time, you forget what living like a normal person feels like.
And there was still one problem: I became even more scared of the scale because I knew I violated EVERY single rule for losing weight, including religiously counting calories, tracking foods, avoiding carbs, and exercising rigorously.
I knew just looking at the scale number would ruin my entire vacation, I didn’t want that. So I cautiously kept myself away from the scale until one unexpected event happened.
On that day, the pair of pants which I wore during the trip back to China, for the first time, needed a waistband to stay on! I rushed to the scale as if I was on fire, and when the needle stopped, I couldn’t believe my eyes.
I was F-O-U-R-T-E-E-N P-O-U-N-D-S lighter.
But wait a minute, only by living a normal life? The thinking blew me away, and I knew one thing right at that moment:
From this day on, I will not encounter another failure on weight loss anymore – just by doing what I’ve been doing.
I did exactly that after I came back to the US after the break ended. Ten months later, the remaining 36 pounds disappeared.
Above is my own path to a 120-pound little-black-dress body that I've effortlessly maintained for 16 years, despite the unbridled freedom I've enjoyed on what I eat and how I eat.
Be ready for a new belief:
Real, lasting weight loss starts from the mind and happens via pleasure, inner-alignment, and nourishment.
It's a cruise, not a grind.
Here’s how I discovered what works for many people with the same goal that I had:
My food and weight struggles ended more than a decade ago. Nevertheless, the demise of my food obsession gave rise to an irresistible new obsession with learning how the brain, the mind, and the physical machine (body) work to put us into — and pull us out of — this self-perpetuating momentum.
I eagerly wanted to know what got me into that crazy diet-fat-obsession cycle and then got me out of it faster than I realized it.
Moreover, I wanted to learn the critical game-changers in my own experience which others can readily benefit from and expand further.
Deep in my gut, I knew food was not the real problem or the real challenge because if it was, most of us who are PhDs in food theories would have solved the problem a long time ago.
In countries especially like the US, what I’ve seen is people’s emotional and behavioral patterns regarding eating and weight loss, as well as the limiting beliefs and self-identity developed around those, dominating their results and keep them stuck for years and decades.
Their psychology keeps them chained and confined, and that’s why many people self-sabotage without knowing why.
In search for scientifically robust solutions, I avidly learned from the world’s best teachers, programs, and institutions. And my observation on how authoritatively mind could limit experiences became even more solidified when I read the following remark from King’s College London, where I’ve been pursuing my Master of Science in Neuroscience. I’m quite blessed to be a student there, as this university boasts the world’s top 2 faculty of Psychology and Psychiatry as well as Europe’s largest neuroscience research center. The professors who I learn from are world-class leaders in the scientific domain — which addresses this every costly problem of a toxic relationship with food and self, that is pushing millions of women down during every minute of their waking hours.
“Every thought that we have, every sensation and emotion and everything that we do, is ultimately a function of our brain and nervous system and other aspects of our biology.”
— Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, KCL
Even though real health and weight loss isn’t a food game at all, so many people not only deprive themselves of food using ‘CICO’ but also organize their world around food.
Here’s why you can never get real success through that path:
Self-deprivation not only drives cravings and anxiety but also trains your brain to form a self-identity and patterns associated with a dieter who’s obsessed with food and weight.
Obsession towards weight loss manifests more weight to lose as it constantly makes you mess with yourself emotionally.
And this dieter’s identity is in every way contradictory to the goal you are after, which is becoming a holistically healthy, lean, and happy person. No matter how much the dieter weighs, she is not living her dream.
By making you chase the wrong goal, most dieting methodologies set you up for failure and you can never be happy regardless how many weight you (temporarily) lost.
What happens together with the psychological conflict is the physical consequence.
For example, doing restrictive diets chronically can hurt digestion and metabolism systems, which are both very crucial for health and weight loss. When your body’s core engine for health, weight loss, and balance is damaged, you are wired for harder weight loss.
All of that leaves you mentally deprived, physically exhausted, and spiritually depleted as you are out of alignment within and without. And you haven’t realized authentic, lasting results only come with the very opposite of what you are going through.
I’m talking about satisfaction, pleasure, nourishment, and ease.
Now let’s look at the solution: what’s exactly needed for you to achieve the outcomes that I and my clients experienced?
Four major elements:
#1. Alignment between how you are living and eating and who you want to be.
#2. Effortlessly maintained routine, which naturally produces satisfaction, balance, and weight loss.
#3. A series of healthy habits — that aren’t forced by willpower or self-deprivation but are enabled by spontaneous shifts in your psychology and body.
And most importantly, a reshaped top-down belief system regarding — in plain words — you and your relationship with you. This change instantaneously activates a deep, profound shift in your relationship with food, your natural psychological and physical responses to food and cravings, and how you deal with circumstances regarding food. The transformation feels automatic and magical, and it’s long-lasting.
When executed smartly, weight loss is a byproduct of these working together. It’s a byproduct of natural physical, psychological, and behavioral instincts reactivated.
I say “instincts” because they are natural responses you can experience when the fundamental physical and psychological ‘algorithms’ on self, food, and health experience a thorough and much-needed reset.
And if you think about it, this is how normal, healthy people live. They don’t live revolving around food and thoughts about weight. They eat naturally in balance and flow despite many happy hour events, and their weight is automatically maintained.
So that leads to an essential distinction here:
You can treat yourself freely with self-love. The pleasure from food has to be a part of your holistic, healthy journey back to a normal weight and a happy life.
That illustrates the essential formula to accomplish food freedom, happiness, and health simultaneously.
I extracted the formula from my personal journey, my coaching experience, and my education experience only with the world’s best programs and teachers. As of the end of 2023, my program Lean Instinct Formula has been revised 12 times to maximize people’s transformation in the simplest ways. And it’s still open to more refinements as I’m always looking for a better, easier way to solve everything.
My clients are deeply in love with Lean Instinct Formula.
You can read plenty of detailed case studies on this website on what they’ve experienced and how they accomplished their goals. In summary, it boils down to the following core shifts:
Their inches start shrinking naturally as their body sees a reset.
The years of food obsession and uncontrollable cravings are gone.
They no longer watch food but eat mindLESSly.
Their bodies start recognizing hunger and satisfaction all of a sudden after years and years of numbness in that aspect.
Their tastebuds prefer different types of food out of the blue, meaning a total shift of their food palette without forcing themselves to.
All of a sudden, energy bounces back.
And their body aches vanish.
Their confidence soars.
The lost weight no longer re-appeared.
Most importantly, they can live a ‘normal’ life now — a life without constant anxiety towards food and eating.
Today, on random days, I’m still getting warm, delightful celebration emails from clients who graduated from a while ago, just like the one below: