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How to Know When Weight Loss Surgery Is The Right Thing to Do

Bariatric surgery
When I was twelve, after countless days of torment over my weight and inability to control it, I would have given anything to have the surgery that would solve the problem for me. I’m glad it didn’t happen. I went on to discover how to lose weight permanently while enjoying eating more than ever, lost over 100 pounds after years of dieting failure, and went on to teach others how, and to write the book about it, The AndersonMethod.

Some think of me as the weight loss counselor’s counselor who is against bariatric surgery, so people are surprised to learn that I’ve recommended bariatric surgery to a number of clients.

In fact, I’ve worked hard to convince some people that weight loss surgery was something they needed to be open to and look into. At times, I’ve told them I think it must be done ASAP. And while my weight loss method is a behavioral approach, teaching people how to form the habits and unconscious behavior to achieve permanent weight loss, I work with many people who have had the surgery. That’s because, even with the surgery, you still need to change your eating habits and change them for life. More on that later.

A few years ago, bariatric surgery started becoming a big business with magazine ads and billboards advertising the different competing hospitals’ surgical weight loss programs. Smiling doctors and attractive stories enticed people. Free seminars offered all your answers. Before and after pictures and stories excited anyone who has dreamed of solving their weight problem. It really bothered me because I knew that lots of people would be drawn to this and choose it, thinking it would relieve them of the need to change their eating habits. They thought that the surgery would be easier than counseling in behavioral therapy, a way to solve the problem for many without the surgery, not to mention being a small fraction of the cost. Many would ignore the risks and downsides of the surgery. They would choose not to consider that they would need to learn how to change their habits anyway and that many people who lost weight with the surgery had not kept it off. I know that weight loss surgery is not the right thing for most of these overweight people.

So, if I’m so sure it’s the wrong thing in many cases, what makes me think it’s the right thing sometimes? The main factor that leads me to advise people to have the surgery is emergency.

Sometimes, the threat from their obesity is so dangerous that life is at stake and there is no certain way to restore hope and eliminate the risk other than the surgery. Simply said, we’ve run out of time. There is no more time to depend on methods that are not absolutely guaranteed to produce immediate dramatic weight loss to prevent further deterioration we may not recover from.

The cases where I’ve prescribed surgery all involve clients who have made sincere heroic efforts, but have been unable to overcome the forces that prevent them from losing weight. They have all reached the point where they have given up hope that they will ever be able to lose weight. Now, let me be clear, it’s normal to become hopeless, even regularly, for people who try to lose weight, but in these high-risk cases, the hopelessness spirals them downward to a deterioration they might not recover from. With most of us, after a while, we are able to see things differently, learn more, and resume the work to get control of the weight and eventually succeed.

What is this deterioration that I say is so dangerous? In some cases, it is mobility. They are just not able to move around without great pain and difficulty, reducing their movement while destroying their spirit. With some, it is a profound hopelessness where nothing but misery and an early death is imaginable, driving them further down a black hole that is dangerous in itself. Some are so medically compromised with dangerous heart conditions and diabetes that they are a ticking time bomb and time is running out. Nothing has worked and they are getting worse.

In all these cases, as soon as the decision to go ahead with the surgery is made, hope is restored. They are able to believe, without doubt, that they will be able to lose weight, because it is the new physical condition, the alteration of their gut, that will cause them to lose weight. They don’t have to depend solely on their own efforts.

Another characteristic that may be present in those I’ll recommend for bariatric surgery is an unusually powerful eating drive that I am certain is biologically based. It is a drive so strong, like that associated with the worst addictive drugs, that we are unable to overcome it, even with the best behavioral interventions we employ. With most people, we are able to answer the cravings in a way that overpowers them, and also employ methods that will reduce or eliminate them. In these worst-case scenarios, the people are unrelentingly tormented by these drives that cannot be overcome. The surgery acts as an additional tool in their toolbox that strengthens their ability to manage their eating, physically limits what they can process and absorb, and may have an important impact on the production of hormone, as we know it does related to diabetes, that influences eating drive and behavior.

How has it worked? I’m happy to say that I am hearing “I’m doing great! I have my life back, better than ever” more often than ever, more often than when I only offered behavioral therapy in my weight loss counseling work. My clients who were spiraling down are getting better, having hope. They are able to apply the behavioral techniques with increased effectiveness. Like my other successful clients, they are mobile again, with less pain and discomfort, ridding themselves of the diabetes and high blood pressure and the medicines they needed to treat them. They are happier with themselves and their lives.

If you have been chronically overweight and unable to achieve the weight loss you want, rest assured that it can be done. Your habits will have to change for life, but that does not have to be by sheer force of will alone. There is a whole body of behavioral technique that I teach, that can be learned, that makes behavior change possible.

But, if you have done all that, learned all you can from me and tried your best, and things are getting worse and you are running out of time, weight loss surgery might be right for you. So says the weight loss counselor’s counselor who people think is totally against bariatric surgery.

William Anderson is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor who specializes in weight loss, eating disorders and addictions. He is the creator of “Therapeutic Psychogenics”, which helped him lose 140 pounds permanently thirty years ago after years of obesity and dieting failure. He has written a book about it, The Anderson Method, and he is teaching these techniques to individuals and therapists all over the country.

The TGIF! Diet — Why It Works

Group of friends having lunch with glasses of wine at table, smiling

No, we’re not talking about the restaurant. We’re talking about how I lost 140 pounds 30 years ago and kept it off with what has been called the TGIF diet. I wrote the book about it! The Anderson Method

I teach a lifestyle where five days a week we are quite austere, like people on a diet, and then, for two days, we are more relaxed, eating more normally on the weekend. I had tried and failed to lose my excess weight for 25 years until I discovered how to succeed with this method. So can you. We win every day, every week and every weekend, work hard M-F and then it’s “Thank God It’s Friday!” It’s a great way to live.

On the weekends we are able to do the things people normally can’t do if they are trying to lose weight. On the weekends we go out to dinner without denying ourselves, have drinks and deserts without guilt, and we go to parties while not denying ourselves a good time. Then, Monday, it’s back to work, nose to the grindstone. And when Friday comes, it’s TGIF! I lost all my excess weight doing this, 140 pounds in 18 months, and I’ve kept it off for three decades.

I’m not talking about bingeing on the weekend or having a free-for-all on weekends where anything goes, and then feeling lousy about it afterwards. They are not “cheat” days. They are carefully formed habits of eating everything I like and want in ways that prevent me from being overweight. It’s a matter of training and reprogramming, like becoming addicted to healthy eating instead of overeating. Also, I am enjoying the food more than ever before, guilt free! All of the eating habits I’ve developed have been carefully created so that I’ve learned how to eat all the foods I like and want in ways that have allowed me to lose all the weight I wanted to lose, and keep it off.

In order for this to work, you need to learn about the metabolic rate you’ll have at your goal weight (there is no mystery to this) and then learn about the caloric values in all the foods that you like to eat. Instead of learning how to diet and lose weight (only to gain it back when we go back to “normal”), we learn how to eat what we like in a way to become and stay at our desired weight for the rest of our life. We actually train and reprogram ourselves to eat what we like in the quantities that will fit into our caloric budget (low on weekdays, then up to our burn rate, but not over, on weekends) and we practice this until it becomes habit. I’ve found there is almost nothing I need to cut out of my life to succeed. Everything I like can fit into the plan somewhere.

In this way, we avoid the experience of losing weight while we punish ourselves, only to become worse overeaters when the diet is over. In the typical diet approach, people do something strange for a while, lose a bit of weight, get sick of the dieting and then go back to the habits that made then overweight, only worse. They regain more than ever, returning to unstructured, unconscious eating of incredibly caloric foods without knowing it and without realizing what they are doing. Immediately after losing weight, most people begin literally training and programming themselves to become chronically overweight and addicted to overeating.

Needless to say, there is more work involved than having a shake or prepared meal that some company sells, or simply starving yourself for a while. We have to actually learn about the food we really eat, and train like a musician or athlete to act habitually in ways that keep us fit. We develop a kind of “muscle memory” of the mind with our eating habits. And like people who become skilled in sports, it’s a mental game, where the mental techniques to master will, motivation and execution are the most important aspect of the sport. But oh, the glory and pleasure of the victory.

Here’s the link to the article as published on The Huffington Post:      

                          The TGIF! Diet — Why It Works

 

 

Say “Yes!” to Goals for 2015, Not Resolutions

before and after #2This is me, before and after I finally discovered how to succeed with permanent weight loss.

As the New Year begins every year, the subject of New Year’s resolutions comes up, and with it, comes a flurry of opinions.

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 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 personally know of and teach the incredible, almost mystical power of having written goals. I talk about this in my book, The Anderson Method, and I lead counseling clients through a detailed training process in goals orientation that yields almost miraculous results.

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. By the time I was 30, I was over 300 lbs., smoking like a chimney, in terrible health, without a college degree, a successful career or the financial means to live a nice life.

However, I was a good (though painfully pokey) student of psychology. I had become a self-trained scholar in behaviorism, the psychology that studies how we acquire and dismiss habit, experience motivation and shape the behavior that produces the results of our lives. Among the many lessons I learned is that we are naturally goal-seeking, goal-oriented creatures. This is why I want to encourage you to embrace your hopes and dreams and write down your goals. You see, it is our nature to select goals to attain and work to attain them. If we don’t do this consciously, we do it unconsciously. If we haven’t consciously chosen goals to attain, we unconsciously select from those that are suggested to us, like those that our parents, bosses, peers and the advertisers suggest, or we simply act to satisfy the call of our pleasure-seeking reward systems and do what feels good, avoiding what doesn’t. If we are not acting on attaining the goals we’ve chosen to aspire to, we end up acting on other impulses, seeking toys and treats that seem to promise the satisfaction we need in life. We end up working, watching, texting, spending and eating our lives away as if those things will fulfill us. The problem is that they don’t. The satisfaction is short-lived, and we end up needing more, overworked, overweight and poorer for it.

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 completely 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. I created a rewarding lifestyle of living, boating and fishing 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. That happened when I wrote them down.

When I first wrote them down, I actually thought they were too unrealistic to think of as goals, but I was encouraged to admit my dreams and goals. What would I like to have happen in my life, if by some miracle they could happen? There was nothing to lose in confessing my dreams.

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 Therapeutic Psychogenic 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.

I make this point today because you will hear over and over again that you should not make resolutions, and some people will hear “don’t set goals.” That would be a tragedy. A friend’s mother thought that if you didn’t hope for too much, you wouldn’t be disappointed. However, she didn’t hope for much, didn’t get much, and she was still disappointed! I agree that making resolutions is a bad idea, but I think writing down your goals is absolutely neccessary if you want your life to get better.

I also make this point today because you’ll also hear that it’s a good idea to make resolutions. But that sets you up for an almost certain sense of failure when you break your vow, which results in a loss of hope and a reluctance to try again to make things better. Again, I agree that making resolutions is a bad idea, but I think writing down your goals is absolutely neccessary if you want your life to get better.

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? 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? Want to lose weight? Eat healthier? Take a vacation? Write them all down. Things that take effort and initiative don’t happen by accident. Accidents happen by accident. So be deliberate in telling your mind what you want it to do. Don’t leave it up to chance, and certainly don’t leave it up to what others want of it.

When I wrote down my goals, it’s not like they all came true overnight. I would write out what to do this month, this week and today. Most days, weeks and months I only made a little progress, sometimes none. Most years I made only a bit of progress on some. But I started getting better. And look what happened! The year I started writing out goals, things got better, and one year has been better than the last. What if that started happenning for you?

So, 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? Everybody says “I know what I need to do, I just can’t do it.” I guarantee you you don’t know.

What you need to know is not about diets and exercise routines. It’s about your mind and how to retrain it. So, if your goal for the year is to lose weight and keep it off, your goal for this coming week should be to read my book!

You can make your life better. I can teach you how . 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.

Say “Yes!” to Goals for 2015, Not Resolutions

before and after #2This is me, before and after I finally discovered how to succeed with permanent weight loss. As the New Year begins 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 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 personally know of and teach the incredible, almost mystical power of having written goals. I talk about this in my book, The Anderson Method, and I lead counseling clients through a detailed training process in goals orientation that yields almost miraculous results.

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. By the time I was 30, I was over 300 lbs., smoking like a chimney, in terrible health, without a college degree, a successful career or the financial means to live a nice life.

However, I was a good (though painfully pokey) student of psychology. I had become a self-trained scholar in behaviorism, the psychology that studies how we acquire and dismiss habit, experience motivation and shape the behavior that produces the results of our lives. Among the many lessons I learned is that we are naturally goal-seeking, goal-oriented creatures. This is why I want to encourage you to embrace your hopes and dreams and write down your goals. You see, it is our nature to select goals to attain and work to attain them. If we don’t do this consciously, we do it unconsciously. If we haven’t consciously chosen goals to attain, we unconsciously select from those that are suggested to us, like those that our parents, bosses, peers and the advertisers suggest, or we simply act to satisfy the call of our pleasure-seeking reward systems and do what feels good, avoiding what doesn’t. If we are not acting on attaining the goals we’ve chosen to aspire to, we end up acting on other impulses, seeking toys and treats that seem to promise the satisfaction we need in life. We end up working, watching, texting, spending and eating our lives away as if those things will fulfill us. The problem is that they don’t. The satisfaction is short-lived, and we end up needing more, overworked, overweight and poorer for it.

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 completely 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. I created a rewarding lifestyle of living, boating and fishing 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. That happened when I wrote them down.

When I first wrote them down, I actually thought they were too unrealistic to think of as goals, but I was encouraged to admit my dreams and goals. What would I like to have happen in my life, if by some miracle they could happen? There was nothing to lose in confessing my dreams.

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 Therapeutic Psychogenic 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.

I make this point today because you will hear over and over again that you should not make resolutions, and some people will hear “don’t set goals.” That would be a tragedy. A friend’s mother thought that if you didn’t hope for too much, you wouldn’t be disappointed. However, she didn’t hope for much, didn’t get much, and she was still disappointed! I agree that making resolutions is a bad idea, but I think writing down your goals is absolutely neccessary if you want your life to get better.

I also make this point today because you’ll also hear that it’s a good idea to make resolutions. But that sets you up for an almost certain sense of failure when you break your vow, which results in a loss of hope and a reluctance to try again to make things better. Again, I agree that making resolutions is a bad idea, but I think writing down your goals is absolutely neccessary if you want your life to get better.

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? 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? Want to lose weight? Eat healthier? Take a vacation? Write them all down. Things that take effort and initiative don’t happen by accident. Accidents happen by accident. So be deliberate in telling your mind what you want it to do. Don’t leave it up to chance, and certainly don’t leave it up to what others want of it.

When I wrote down my goals, it’s not like they all came true overnight. I would write out what to do this month, this week and today. Most days, weeks and months I only made a little progress, sometimes none. Most years I made only a bit of progress on some. But I started getting better. And look what happened! The year I started writing out goals, things got better, and one year has been better than the last. What if that started happenning for you?

So, 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? Everybody says “I know what I need to do, I just can’t do it.” I guarantee you you don’t know.

What you need to know is not about diets and exercise routines. It’s about your mind and how to retrain it. So, if your goal for the year is to lose weight and keep it off, your goal for this coming week should be to read my book!

You can make your life better. I can teach you how . 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.

 

Welcome Chris Diesen, LCSW, Our Newest Therapist Providing The Anderson Method!

Christina Diesen, MSW, LCSW,  has over fifteen years of professional experience in a variety of settings and age groups, ranging from children through geriatric populations.  She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Work from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale in 1997 and Master of Social Work Degree from St. Louis University in 1999.  She is licensed by the state of Illinois as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

Chris is a professional who helps her clients generate their own unique abilities and potential, focusing on strengths and discovering a new way to live, where healthy changes become a way of life, rather than another diet.  Chris found The Anderson Method to be a remarkably effective way to help people make these changes, discovering it because of her own journey searching for effective weight loss. She is someone who has experienced her own challenges with weight management and is aware of the challenges that this can present, and she has the professional and personal knowledge to help you overcome and realize your potential and health.

Chris currently sees clients at the Alternative Solutions Chiropractic & Wellness Coaching, P.C. which focuses on wellness and health.  The Alternative Solution doctors strive to discover what is truly causing symptoms and inhibiting the body from functioning properly. The doctors utilize kinesiology/reflex testing and/or blood/hair/hormone lab testing to find out what is affecting your body and health.

Chris provides The Anderson Method for those interested in learning new habits for a healthy lifestyle that create permanent changes.  She sees clients who choose to make healthful changes, with the initial consultation being free of charge.  Being a client at Alternative Solutions is not necessary, although is an added benefit to the Alternative Solution clients.

Chris’s practice is located in Aviston, Illinois, and she can be contacted though the listing below.

Christina R. Diesen, MSW, LCSW
4989 Old US Route 50
Aviston, IL 62216
618-322-6424
christinadiesen@gmail.com