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How to Stay Focused on Your Weight Loss Goals in 2017

I’m asked all the time, “What finally made you decide to solve your weight problem?” as if it didn’t bother me being overweight for 25 years. The truth is that I sincerely wanted to solve my problem when I was 12! But I wasn’t successful until 20 years later. It took me that long to learn what I needed in order to be successful.
Bill in 1983 and 2005

(William Anderson, author of The Anderson Method, Secrets to Permanent Weight Loss, in print and audiobook.)

Wanting, even with all your heart, to lose weight does not make it happen, as anyone with a stubborn weight problem knows.

Hopefully, it won’t take you 20 years to learn what I learned. You can learn it from me!

For my first 30 years, I was overweight and out of control, more than 300 pounds as an adult. Only in my early 30s was I finally able to succeed, losing 140 pounds and becoming my ideal body weight. I’ve maintained it handily since. Now I help other people and I wrote a book, now an eBook and an audiobook, about what I eventually learned that made me successful. Here are a few of the most important things, five key requirements to make 2017 the year you solve your weight problem for good:

1) You must make it the priority in your life.

You need to decide that being healthy in body, mind and spirit is more important than anything else and that your weight problem must be solved. Losing weight must become your No. 1 one concern. More important than your job. More important than your favorite pastimes, clubs, hobbies or comforts. You must become like a zealot who forsakes all else, a soldier in the field where losing this battle means losing everything. Nothing else can stand in the way of doing what you need in your effort to solve your weight problem.

Some may criticize this as being unreasonable and off-centered. I understand their criticism, but for most of us, this is one of those things where you will not make it unless you are totally devoted. To enjoy all of those other things you cherish, you’ve got to get this right. Nothing less than total dedication will do. It’s like wanting to make it to the top in a music, sports or business career. Nothing else can get in the way of doing what you need to do to succeed. It cannot take a back seat to anything else, cast aside when something else “comes up” as if it were more important. Controlling your weight is more important.

2) You must respect the science that tells us that we need to eat fewer calories than we burn to lose weight. We must accept the fact that we need to develop habits where we consistently eat within our caloric “budget” to keep it off.

There is no mystery to the science of weight control. It has not changed in eons. Eat too many calories and you get fat. Eat fewer than you burn and you burn it off. Accepting this reality does not by itself solve the problem, but there is no hope until you do. Hoping for a way around this fact will prevent you from ever succeeding. There is no way around this, no magic pill or surgery that will relieve you of having to limit your caloric intake. Fight this reality and you’ll never succeed. Accept it, and you’re on the path to success. In over 20 years, I have never had a client not lose weight when they eat the way I teach them.

3) You must learn how to train your mind to program yourself and master your habits, desires, impulses and feelings. The idea that your behavior and feelings are a matter of just making up your mind or wanting it badly enough is a fallacy. We are not born with well-developed “will power” and conscious control over the things that go on in our mind and body. In fact, most of what goes on is unconscious and a product of conditioning and programming that we were not even aware of. Habits and impulses were not chosen and they can seem to have a life of their own beyond your control. However, you can learn the programming and conditioning techniques discovered in behavioral and cognitive psychology as well as the ideo-dynamic phenomena that hypnotherapies use. The techniques I teach in my method are not unknown to science and behavioral medicine, but we are not born knowing them. They must be learned.

4) Make your goal the development of new permanent habits, rather than weight loss. Don’t focus so much on pounds but rather on the way you are living.

The most common approach to weight loss is doing something out of the ordinary for a while, like eating a special diet or going on an exercise crusade, and then going back to “normal” after a while. This is self-defeating. Even if we lose the weight we want, the “normal” that we have learned is what makes people fat, so we’ll just put it back on.

We are suckers for these diets and schemes because usually, we don’t want to change our habits. We are fond of doing the things we do, snacking the way we do, enjoying our favorite foods and restaurants and not having to think about it. We don’t want to give those things up. We’ve tried and we couldn’t do it or it was so miserable we gave up the idea.

However, we don’t have to give up enjoying food. In fact, one of the keys of reprogramming is that the new behavior must be satisfying. I enjoy food now more than I did when I was overweight. I eat all my favorite foods, don’t deny myself any food I really want, and enjoy it more. However, it is different than the way I used to eat. But just wanting and “willing” yourself to change habits is not the way it’s done. There are reprogramming techniques you need to use. The first step is to realize that our goal needs to be a change in our habitual behavior. When that happens, the weight comes off automatically. Focusing on weight loss instead of a change in yourself and your habits will not work.

5) You must be honest and sincere. I used to say things like “no matter what I do, I can’t lose weight.” That’s crazy of course. If I somehow got myself to eat very little, I’d lose weight. If I kept it up long enough, I’d starve to death. People who don’t have food in the Sudan are not fat. I was telling myself nonsense, lying to myself.

I used to say, “This won’t matter” if I cheated or “I just don’t care anymore” when my self-control flagged. Neither was really true. Everything counts. When I got discouraged and caved, I cried “uncle” and gave up in that moment, but I never stopped caring. I never stopped hating obesity and wanting something better. I still cared. Saying, “It doesn’t matter” was a lie.

Behavioral science teaches us that what we say to ourselves affects how we feel and how we act in an almost magical or mystical way. When we tell ourselves this nonsense, we are literally programming ourselves to overeat and become overweight, just as if we were using hypnotherapy to gain weight. When we say, “I just can’t lose weight,” we are using cognitive therapy techniques to make ourselves feel hopeless and depressed and self-hypnosis to unconsciously sabotage any efforts to succeed.

Changing the way we think and talk is essential to reversing obesity. Getting honest and serious, truly sincere about what we want, is one of the most important keys.

So, what do you think? Can you say, “yes” to these five key requirements? If you can’t, and you are a person who has been overweight and unable to fix it, you now know where you need to start to make changes. We are not going to solve this problem by accident. We need to be very intentional and meet these requirements. If you meet them now, you are on the path to success. That’s progress! Follow me.

Why are women losing the battle of the bulge?

BY ALLIE SHAH
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Frances Traphagan has been battling weight issues her whole life.

For years, the south Minneapolis mom struggled to balance work demands and motherhood. After every pregnancy, her weight problem grew. Her habit of eating on the run also tipped the scales in the wrong direction.

Finally, at 240 pounds, the 5-foot-3 Traphagan chose to have bariatric surgery at the Hennepin Bariatric Center and Obesity Program at Hennepin County Medical Center in downtown Minneapolis.

“It was my very last effort to try to lose weight,” she said.

She’d tried everything before that – from Weight Watchers to the Atkins diet to the grapefruit diet.

“I did have some success, but nothing was ever permanent,” she said.

After a national report this summer showed that women have surpassed men in obesity rates, doctors and obesity researchers are searching for answers to why women are struggling more than men.

For the first time, more than 40 percent of U.S. women are obese, according to the latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The nation as a whole continues to struggle with obesity, with 35 percent of men considered obese. But while men’s obesity rates appear to have stabilized, women’s are still rising, the CDC report shows.

Dr. Maria Collazo-Clavell, an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic who works with overweight and obese patients, has been working in the obesity research field for 20 years. She said the recent findings give her pause about whether public health officials are taking the right approach to tackling obesity.

“All of that makes you question: Are you on the right track?” she said. “The data would say no.”

That so many women are obese is cause for alarm not only because of the increased health risks for them but also for those around them, Collazo-Clavell said.

“That’s kind of the tip of the iceberg,” she said. Women are often the primary caregivers in a family, and their eating and activity habits can influence their children and others in their family.

An example of that ripple effect: Collazo-Clavell is starting to see some of her previous patients’ children and is working with them to help manage their obesity.

It’s difficult to pinpoint what is causing women to struggle more with obesity than men, but doctors say there likely are many factors at play.

Women typically have two times in their lives when they are at risk of gaining significant amounts of weight: childbearing (during pregnancy and after giving birth) and menopause.

Collazo-Clavell hears from many new mothers that they find meal planning and preparation tough after giving birth. Also of concern, she notes that women as a group are going into pregnancy heavier than they were 20 years ago.

It makes it harder to manage a healthy pregnancy weight if they’re already overweight, she said.

An epidemic

One of the country’s leading health problems, obesity can lead to serious diseases, including diabetes and heart disease.

Body mass index (BMI) is calculated by dividing weight (in kilograms) by height squared (in centimeters). Anyone with a BMI of 25 or more is considered overweight, while those with a BMI of 30 or more are obese.

For example, a woman of average height in the U.S. (5 feet 4) would be classified as obese if she weighs at least 175 pounds. An average height American man (5 feet 9) who weighs 203 pounds or more would be considered obese.

Dr. Guilford Hartley is medical director of the Hennepin Bariatric Center and Obesity Program, where 100 surgeries for weight management are performed each year.

He sees many more female patients than men. Part of the reason, he said, is that women are more likely to seek medical treatment for a weight issue than men.

“In our culture, when a man’s overweight, nobody pays too much attention,” he said. “But we have such an emphasis on being thin for women that we’re culturally forcing women to be more concerned about their weight than men. The social pressure if you’re overweight and a woman is higher.”

Those seeking surgery often have struggled with a weight problem for a long time.

“Usually by the time I see them, most of them get here saying, ‘I’ve done this all my life. This is my sixth yo-yo,’” he said.

He found the recent CDC report on obesity rates concerning. “Up until these reports, it was looking as if the so-called obesity epidemic was kind of plateauing.”

In analyzing the new data, Hartley and Collazo-Clavell point to societal changes that have led people to become more sedentary.

“If you were a clerical person, 20 years ago you’d have to get up and put the piece of paper in the file cabinet. Now you never have to get up off your chair,” Hartley said. “We have engineered … physical activity out of our workplace and out of our home place.”

The prescription of “eat less and exercise more” does not address the kind of vigorous activity needed to tip the scales.

“When we tell them to exercise more, we mean get on a treadmill for an hour, three days a week,” he said. “And the kind of exercise that it takes to have a significant impact on weight is more like if you’re a hardscrabble farmer and you’re working up a sweat for eight hours a day just to put food on the table.”

Constant fight

It’s been 10 years since Traphagan had a surgical band wrapped around her stomach to make it smaller. The band makes it possible to consume only 1.5 cups of food at a time. But it’s still possible to overeat, she said, which is why she had to learn how to eat healthfully to control her weight.

Today, she has poached eggs instead of doughnuts for breakfast and drinks plenty of ice water throughout the day. She has maintained a healthy weight.

“It’s been real hard, though. It’s not easy,” she said.

“I got down to 155 pounds. My goal weight is 124. I’m still working on that, and I hope to achieve that this year.”

(This article first appeared in: http://www.bradenton.com/news/local/health-care/article95803902.html)