Author Archives: William Anderson, LMHC

Jumping Jacks? Are You Nuts?

A serious teacher

Every year at this time, I publish columns to help people get control of their weight, and I also peruse what others are writing on the issue. This year, I read a few columns telling overweight people to exercise with jumping jacks. One said to “start with something easy, like jumping jacks”. Jumping jacks??!! I almost blew my coffee out my nose. Jumping jacks? Is this guy crazy? He has probably never been obese and probably has never had an obese person he has said this to.

As a formerly obese person, I can tell you that jumping jacks are a very bad idea for an obese person. Not only will it hurt, but you are liable to do damage. In fact, the number one rule for obese people and exercise is to take it easy, go slowly, and don’t overdo it. Use the old show-business principle. Only do so much, and leave ’em wanting more. If you get to the point where you think you’ve done enough, you’ve probably done too much. The most intense thing you should do at first is walking. Jumping jacks are the worst idea I’ve ever heard of.

I’m a behavior therapist who discovered how to succeed with permanent weight loss. After 25 years of diet and exercise failure, I finally “got it”, lost 140 pounds and I’ve kept it off for 30 years. I went on to teach others, and I wrote a successful book about it, now an audiobook. I can teach you.

In my behavioral approach, we focus on our behavior rather than our weight or our body. Instead of just trying to use “will power”, we use behavioral science, finding what we can live with, and we “program” in the behavior and habits that will create the results we want and we program out (extinguish) the behavior that made us overweight. Our goal is to make it so what we do to maintain our goal weight is more pleasurable and rewarding than what we did that made us fat.

So, forget jumping jacks and the people who tell you to start with them. Read or listen to my book to learn more about my behavioral approach for permanent weight loss. This could be the year you solve your weight problem.

What to do With Leftovers?

If the picture above is your plan for leftovers, you are courting disaster.

If this is what you are planning to do with leftovers, and you are a food addict like me, you are unconsciously planning to overeat for a week.

When analyzing what went wrong when a client complained about being unable to stop herself from getting up repeatedly at night to eat cookies or chips, I asked her when she got the cookies and chips. She said she picked them up the last time she went shopping. I asked her where they fit in her food plan and when she was planning on eating them. She said had no plans that included cookies or chips and she was not planning on eating them. “They were to have there if I needed them.”

I said, “No, when you bought them, that’s when you planned on eating them for ‘snacks’ which you know is not what we do.” (There is no snacking on The Anderson Method. There are only planned meals and fasting). She had to think about that for a minute and realize that when she bought them, she was unconsciously planning to eat them whenever she felt like it. She had to admit that without realizing it, she was planning on overeating.

She wasn’t conscious of it, but the “inner addict” had a plan to eat cookies and chips for fun at night. Believe me, if you have food in the house, you are planning to eat it, whether you know it or not. You may not know it, but everything in your house is something you are planning to eat sometime. For food addicts, it’s likely to be tonight if it’s not part of one of the meals you’ve planned in the future, especially if it’s not frozen.

What’s your plan for leftovers? If you just fill the fridge, you are inviting a binge, maybe a week of bingeing.

You must plan on what to do with leftovers. If you leave pie or stuffing in big containers in the fridge, your “inner addict” will know they are there and tempt you to go have some …… now.

Plan on what to do with leftovers now. I send dessert things home with the guests, or chuck it down the disposal. I’ve had enough experience to know that if I leave it in the fridge, I’m likely to have trouble. If I tell my self I’m not planning on eating it, I know I’m just kidding myself. There is no room in my non-holiday meal plans for pecan pie.

I put the turkey, dressing, and mashed potatoes in ZipLoc containers in serving sizes and put them in the freezer. That way, I can have a turkey dinner once a week for a while. I do this with all the roasts I have on the weekends.

I try to send all the dangerous stuff home with the guests. If they don’t take it, I chuck it down the disposal. When the evening is over, there is nothing in the fridge that is not part of one of the planned meals for the coming week. There is nothing in there that is one of my addictive foods that I’ve learned I cannot have in the house.

With years of experience and trial and error, I now have wonderful holiday meals  with every holiday season, and I have an easy time eating healthfully in the days between them. It took a while to learn how to do that and get to the point where it’s easy, but it’s doable.

You can win at permanent weight loss. I will work to make it easier for you with what I’ve learned. That’s The Anderson Method.

Have a great Thanksgiving!