Tag Archives: counseling

How to Eat Out and Lose 50 Pounds a Year (or Gain!)

(First published in The Huffington Post)

(The author is a psychotherapist who lost 140 lbs. when he developed his methods, and he’s kept it off for over 30 years. Read about his method in his book at the right, or listen to his audiobook, free sample provided here.)

Consider these selections when dining out for a day:

Breakfast: Egg McMuffin and coffee at McDonalds.
Lunch: Cheeseburger and Diet Coke at McDonald’s.
Dinner: Filet Mignon, grilled vegetables and garlic mashed at Outback.

This would add up to about 1,200 calories. If you are a woman 5’6” with average activity habits (a metabolic rate of about 2000), you’ll lose about 50 pounds a year eating like that consistently!

However, consider what would happen if you weren’t paying attention and made some slight changes:

  1. Sausage Biscuit with egg and an OJ instead of the Egg McMuffin and coffee.
  2. Quarter Pounder with cheese and a regular Coke instead of Cheeseburger and Diet Coke.
  3. New York Strip, chopped salad and loaded mashed instead of the filet, grilled veggies and garlic mashed.

They look and feel almost the same, but with the second example, you’d be at 2,700 calories and gaining 50 pounds a year instead of losing them!

For a population facing an exploding obesity epidemic, the world of fast food, restaurants and convenience food is a minefield, with caloric nuclear bombs everywhere you turn. It’s a miracle we all aren’t over 600 pounds.

Consider this: Did you know that you could gain 100 extra pounds (!!) in four years by overeating as little as one latte per day? It’s true! If you are out of balance, over your metabolic rate consistently by 250 calories per day (an average latte), you’ll gain 25 pounds a year, or 100 pounds in four!

The science is in. Our body burns calories each moment we are alive, awake or asleep. Our organs, muscles and cells metabolize fuel each second we live and breathe. There’s no mystery in knowing why we gain or lose weight. It’s a matter of the energy or calorie balance. Eat 3,500 more calories than you burn and you store them as fat and gain a pound.

Most of my clients who are obese first got that way by being only a little out of balance, creeping up on the scale 10 pounds per year. That amounts to eating only 100 calories more per day than you need, the number of calories in an apple or banana! How can you avoid eating too many calories, and way more than 100, with the way we eat in this country?

When you think about it, with the way food is pushed at us, it’s a miracle that we aren’t all morbidly obese (70 percent of us are now clinically obese). A Big Mac is 563 calories. A Cinnabon Classic Roll is 879. How hard do you think it is to go over a 2,000-calorie budget when breakfast at Denny’s can be 1,000 calories and lunch at McDonald’s can easily be 1400 or more? One of the shrimp dishes at Ruby Tuesdays is 1,475 calories! They have a salad that’s over 1,100!

So how is that 30 percent of us are not overweight, and some don’t even have to try to stay slim?

This is a more startling observation than the obesity epidemic: Many people maintain the same weight, year-in and year-out, without even trying. I find that miraculous. Think about it. A person who burns 2,000 calories per day burns 730,000 in normal activities through the year and consumes 730,000 to fuel that activity. To gain or lose a pound it would be because they were off by no more than 3,500 calories in an entire year! That averages about 10 calories per day! How could a person match their consumption to their utilization that closely by accident, without even trying?

The answer, of course, is that there must be some sort of inner process going on, like unconscious programming, that tells them how much to eat and when to stop so that they end up eating only enough to meet their needs. Dietitians have always told me this and that I should listen to my body. I tried that, but all I ever heard was, “I need something to eat” and “more, more!” If such a self-limiting thing ever existed in me, that programming was deleted long ago, probably by a combination of conditioning, all the food nuttiness in my environment, and 25 years of yo-yo dieting, gaining it all back and more after each attempt.

How to attain and maintain a proper weight automatically even when eating out.

The secret to permanent weight loss is in creating new programming — habits you can live with and enjoy that will produce the weight control you want — habits that will become automatic. It’s like getting addicted to gratifying undereating instead of overeating. For this to happen, these conditions must be met:

The plan must allow the foods you want to eat for the rest of your life. You need to learn how to eat, not diet. It does no good to lose weight by denying yourself what you know you’ll eat in the future. All you’ll do is gain it back and then some, when you go back to what you like.

The plan must be a pattern of eating that achieves the caloric values needed for the desired weight. Believe me, there is a way to create a behavior pattern that includes the food you like and hits the right caloric targets at the same time.

There must be a method of behavioral training employed to install these habits so that they become the new preferred and unconscious behavior. One of the keys to behavior therapy is simply repetitions of meals that are sensually satisfying and hit the caloric target. Other keys, besides positive reinforcement, are mental imaging and cognitive restructuring. It’s a matter of using behavioral science instead of simple will power.

Suck it up

For years while I was overweight and obese, I kept looking for ways to lose weight that were easy. I avoided anything that sounded hard, and paying attention to the calories sounded hard. Or, I’d look for ways to get someone else to do the work and make me successful. I had lost faith in myself. Avoiding doing the work myself just made me gain more weight as the years and failed attempts dragged on.

I get clients who think learning to control their weight should not be as much work as learning to pass tests for professional jobs or getting good at a sport or music. That’s a big mistake. You’ll never be successful with weight control until you decide controlling your weight is your first priority and you’re willing to work harder to develop that ability than the effort you make to grow professionally or highly skilled in sports or the arts.

Quit being mad that it’s not easy for you like it’s easy for those people I talked about who maintain the right weight without even trying. If you are like me, you are one of the people who seem to gain weight naturally and have failed to succeed many times. You need to accept that you’ll never be like them.

However, I think it’s better to be like us. All living things have the ability to learn and change. You have within you the power to get better. There is within you an incredible mechanism that helped you learn to speak and use a vocabulary of thousands of words. That was in you even before you knew who you were. You have within you the power to heal wounds and broken bones and get better when you are sick. That’s not your will power, but another kind of power at your disposal when you don’t lose the faith that it’s there (like I did for a while). I think it’s better to be like us than those people who never had the problem. We can solve this problem and when we do, we have a strength, knowledge and wisdom that they may never know.

Get started

All restaurant chains with 20 or more units must now post the caloric values in what they serve. Most have that info on their website too. Restaurants who want our business will provide that info even if they don’t have 20 units.

We need to be like the formerly obese people, now successful in weight control, who are studied by the National Weight Control Registry. They do not put anything in their mouths without knowing the caloric value. Eating without knowing the caloric cost is like charging up stuff you like at the mall without looking at the price tags. With either practice, disaster is the result.

So, start by getting to know the amount of calories that you are putting in your body. When you recover from the initial shock, you’ll be ready for the next step, which is to plan ahead. All formerly obese people who have become successful, plan ahead. They don’t eat spontaneously or wait until they are at the table with the menu of all those tempting things. They know ahead of time what they are going to order, and with the menus on the websites these days, it’s much easier than it was years ago.

That will get you started in the right direction. You can switch from my example of eating out to gain 50 pounds a year to losing 50 pounds this year. Believe me, it’s worth it!

Why Your Company Should Help Employees With Their Weight Problem

photo: obesity action.org

photo: obesity action.org

Most wellness programs approach weight control with exercise and nutrition programs, which don’t address the underlying causes of and solutions to your employees’ weight problem. Helping them with a clinically sound behavioral solution will help them lose weight and be healthier, and will also help them to be better problem-solvers and goal attainers.

Why Your Company Needs to Help Employees With Their Weight Problem:

1) Weight management is the single most important issue in an employee’s health. Excess weight and obesity is the single greatest cause of preventable disease and premature death in the American workforce. It affects every aspect of their health and well-being.

2) They don’t know what to do to solve the problem. They may think they do and you may too, but chances are, you don’t. Neither do most physical trainers and dieticians. That’s because for most people, it’s a behavioral disorder, similar to an addiction or gambling problem. Just knowing what’s got to change and even wanting to change is not enough. Intelligence, good character and “will power” are not enough. There are other powers at work, and to overcome them, you need to know how. That’s what behavioral therapy training teaches.

3) Because many health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic fatigue and mobility impairment improve greatly with weight loss, your employees who lose weight will exhibit more energy, positive attitude and higher productivity, as well as less illness, diminished productivity and absenteeism.
A sound behavioral approach, including pyschoeducation and training in cognitive behavior techniques, will help them become better managers of their emotions and attitudes and the behavior related to them.

4) The problem-solving, time management, stress management and goal-setting skills learned will be applicable to all the problems and objectives they have, on and off the job. They will become better at handling problems and getting things done.

5) The improved health, sense of well-being, self-confidence, self-esteem and personal mastery will make them more effective and motivated on a long term basis.

6) The biggest reason to help them is that they need the help and there are few able to give it, other than your company. And it’s the right thing to do. You’ll be proud and thankful that you made it happen.

By all means, promotion of exercise, gym memberships and nutrition classes are a great benefit to the employees who take advantage of them, but the very best way to help overweight and obese employees is to give them access to comprehensive behavioral approaches to weight management.

This article first published at ThriveGlobal.com

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)

*   *   *   *

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.

 

The Anderson Method’s Methods Are Scientifically Studied And Confirmed Effective.

psychcentral-2015-08

Academia is catching up with The Anderson Method. My methods, developed and refined over the last 30 years are now getting recognized as effective in studies that refer to my ideas as “Acceptance-Based Behavioral Treatment” and “Standard Behavioral Treatment”, calling them the “Gold Standard” in weight loss treatment and something now even better.

Read the article in PsychCentral.

Here’s the full text of the article:

New Weight Loss Approach Helps People Keep It Off
By Rick Nauert PhD

Losing weight is often not as difficult as maintaining the weight loss over time. A new study suggest a new behavioral treatment method can help people lose more weight and keep it off longer than traditional methods.

The new approach is called Acceptance-Based Behavioral Treatment (ABT), a strategy that links the weight loss effort to a larger personal value beyond weight loss for its own sake. This approach was found to help people adhere to diet and physical activity goals better than a traditional approach in a randomized clinical trial.

Traditional weight loss strategies or Standard Behavioral Treatment (SBT) classically encourage reduced caloric intake and increased physical activity.

The study was part of the well regarded Mind Your Health trial, and is one of the first of its kind. Investigators found that participants who received ABT (which includes all behavioral skills taught in SBT) lost 13.3 percent of their initial weight at one year, compared to 9.8 percent weight loss at one year for participants who received SBT only.

This difference represents a clinically significant 36 percent increase in weight lost for those in the ABT group. In addition, the likelihood of maintaining a 10 percent weight loss at 12 months was one-third greater for ABT with a rate of 64 percent versus 49 percent for ABT alone.

As Thomas Wadden, Ph.D., FTOS, and Robert Berkowitz, M.D., FTOS point out in their accompanying commentary, weight loss with ABT is among the largest ever reported in the behavioral treatment literature without use of an aggressive diet or medication.

“We’re excited to share this new proven therapy with the weight-loss community, and in fact this is one of the first rigorous, randomized clinical trials to show that an alternative treatment results in greater weight loss than the gold standard, traditional form of behavioral treatment” continued Forman.

The ABT sessions emphasized the following principles with the participants to achieve adherence to diet and exercise goals in order to lose weight. Principles include:

Choose goals derived from freely-chosen personal life values, such as living a long and healthy life or being a present, active grandparent.

Recognize that weight-control behaviors will inevitably produce discomfort (such as urges to eat, hunger, cravings, feelings of deprivation, and fatigue) and a reduction of pleasure (such as choosing a walk over watching TV or choosing an apple over ice cream).

Increase awareness of how cues impact eating and activity-related decision making.

In the study, 190 participants with overweight or obesity were randomly assigned to SBT alone, or ABT (which fused both behavioral skills from SBT with acceptance-based skills). Participants attended 25 treatment groups over a one-year period, which consisted of brief individual check-ins, skill presentations and a skill-building exercise.

All interventionists were doctoral-level clinicians with experience delivering behavioral weight loss treatments.

“These findings are a boon to clinicians, dietitians, and psychologists as they add a new dimension to behavioral therapy that can potentially help improve long-term outcomes for people with obesity,” said Steven Heymsfield, M.D., FTOS, a spokesperson for The Obesity Society.

“This study is one of the first of its kind, and offers promise of a new tool to add to the toolbox of treatments for overweight and obesity.”

This is the second study of ABT as part of the Mind Your Health trial, and it found an even more pronounced advantage from ABT than the first study. Forman offers several potential explanations, including the use of experienced clinicians and a revised ABT protocol that focuses on general willingness and accepting a loss in pleasure and less on coping with emotional distress, cravings and hunger.

“These are exciting findings for which I congratulate the authors,” said Wadden in an accompanying commentary.

“Like all new findings, they need to be replicated by other researchers before ABT can be considered a reliable means of increasing weight loss with SBT,” he added. Wadden noted that treatment comparison studies of different psychotherapies have shown that when researchers feel strongly that their therapy will work best, it can influence outcomes.

Therefore, Wadden believes future research should be conducted by therapists who did not develop ABT. Additionally, he said, “Future studies of ABT would be enriched by reporting on changes in depression, susceptibility to food cues and motivation for change in both the ABT and SBT groups.

Long-term follow-up after treatment would also be beneficial to determine if ABT improves weight-loss maintenance compared with SBT.”

The study and its accompanying commentary appear in Obesity, the scientific journal of The Obesity Society (TOS).

Source: The Obese Society