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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.

Say “Yes!” to Goals for 2017, Not Resolutions, Especially For Weight Loss!

student_success

(This article was originally published in The Huffington Post, written by William Anderson, LMHC, author of The Anderson Method, explaining important aspects of the ground-breaking method he developed, losing 140 lbs. and keeping it off for 30 years)

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As the New Year’s Holiday approaches every year, the subject of New Year’s Resolutions crops up, and there comes a flurry of opinions about it. Is it a good idea or a bad idea to make resolutions?

Most of us have a history of making resolutions, most having to do with diets and exercise. Then we promptly fail to keep them and we feel like defeated failures in the very first week of the new year. It’s an awful feeling I know too well from the 25 years I struggled against obesity, until I finally discovered the solution, lost 140 pounds and kept it off for over 30 years now.

So, here’s my take: don’t make resolutions, which are promises to do or not do something, ever, that you’ll most likely be unable keep. Sticking perfectly to your resolution is unlikely, and with most of us, the failure causes us to say “the heck with it” and give up trying all together. Instead, sit down and write out some hopes and goals for your life, and then for the year. What have you got to lose? You won’t be any worse off if they don’t happen.

I was pretty much an undisciplined wreck as a young person, constantly making vows in the morning to do one thing or another, then losing my motivation and belief by noon most days. I often could not follow through on just about anything that didn’t feel good, whether it was writing a letter, starting a diet, applying for a job or even doing something as simple as making a phone call.  I improved, but not enough. By the time I was 30, I was over 300 lbs., smoking like a chimney, in terrible health, without a college degree, my successful career in flames and having lost the financial means to live a satisfying and secure life.

I had to hear the advice to write down my goals for years before I started actually doing it, but when I did (together with using other Therapeutic Psychogenic technique) my life changed. I solved my lifetime obesity problem and lost 140 pounds permanently. I not only completed a college education, but I completed graduate school training in clinical counseling and psychotherapy. I obtained the Florida Medical Quality Assurance license to be a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and established a successful private practice. I wrote a successful book (now an audiobook) that has helped tens of thousands to solve their weight problem. I created a satisfying way of living in one of the most beautiful places on earth. All of these things were only pipedreams when I first summoned up the courage to admit to myself that I would actually want those things to happen and wrote them down. When I started using written goals, things changed.

I don’t want to suggest that this was all I did to succeed at weight loss and the other accomplishments. There are lots of other pieces of the mechanism that I used and teach. Like the parts of a car, you need them all assembled to be able to get anywhere. Leave important parts out and you go nowhere. But writing down your goals is one of the most important, the foundation and starting point that everything else grows from.

Take the time this week to go off by yourself with a pad of paper and make some lists.

Make a dreams list. If all things were possible, what would you like to have happen in your life? Then make a five year goals list. Five years from now, where would you like to be? Then make a one year goals list. If you were on your way to the five year goals, where would you be and what would you have done at the end of this coming year? What do you want to make sure you do this year?

Then write down what you need to do this month to move toward that. Make a list of what you need to do next week, maybe to study and learn more about what you need to do. Finally, write a to-do list for tomorrow to make it toward what you want to accomplish this week.

Forget about making resolutions, especially to stick to a diet. If your goal is to be a certain weight at the end of the year or to lose a certain amount of weight, what do you think your goal for next week should be?

You can make your life better. It starts with a vision of what you’d like it to be, a picture with the details described. Start using written goals. You’ll be surprised what can happen.