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The 7 Elements of Easy Weight Loss


Can weight loss ever be easy? Many people I work with have said just that. But there are reasons that they are able to describe their success as easy. What sets them apart from those that have been unable to succeed?

1) Focus on behavior and personal change, not weight.
Our body and weight is a result of our everyday habits, the way we think and act, today and for the rest of our lives. Changing habits and attitudes is the way to lose weight permanently, not getting hung up on pounds and the scale.

Many people are very attached to their pleasures, favorite snacks, favorite restaurants and party friends. Using diets and products to lose weight while continuing the same way of living and thinking will only make matters worse.

When we decide we want to change and are willing to give up the things that stand in the way, we’ve taken the first step. When we’ve decided to measure our progress by looking at our behavior and beliefs instead of the scale, we’re on the second step. But just wanting to change is not enough. We need to learn how.

2) Mastering behaviors, not willpower.
Most people think that the way we act and feel is a matter of choice and that personal change is a matter of will power. The reality is that most of us are not aware of why we feel and act the way we do and we don’t know how to change.

The way we are is a product of conditioning and programming, most of it unconscious. We are like a pet that perks up and comes running when it hears the can opener. We do the things we do because we have been conditioned or programmed to. It’s reflex. It’s automatic. That’s the way a part of your brain works that’s been in control of your feelings and habits. Changing that is not just a matter of willing yourself to feel and act differently. You need to be reprogrammed, and that will take practice and effort using known techniques and principles. Weight loss and good health needs to become automatic. That’s the province of behaviorism.

3) Be willing to work hard to make things easy.
When I and my clients say that permanent weight loss has become easy, we are not saying that we did not have to work at it. We are saying that it has become automatic. It’s like learning to ride a bike or drive a car or play a musical instrument. At first, it may feel awkward, uncomfortable and unnatural. But after a while, some difficulty and practice, it becomes automatic and natural. You just jump on the bike or in the car, and your hands and feet know exactly what to do, without effort or thinking. It’s like something else is taking you where you want to go. In the past what we felt like doing made us overweight. Now, it feels natural and satisfying to do the things that keep us at our ideal weight.

4) Being Responsible 
Because we’ve tried and failed and lost faith in ourselves so many times in the past, it often occurs to us that if we could get someone else to make it happen, then we might be successful. So we hire a personal trainer or a coach. Or we ask a friend or family member to take on the responsibility. It may even seem to work for a while. But it doesn’t last. We cancel or change our mind and stop doing what’s necessary to succeed.

To succeed, you must accept the job of being responsible for your success. No one else has as much to gain or lose. You are the only one, and if you don’t take the job, no one else will. There is only one person in the world who has so much at stake, so much to gain, so many reasons to create your success.

You are in the driver’s seat of your life, and you need to own that job. No one else can take the wheel for you. But to succeed, we need to learn how.

5) Gaining the knowledge and skill sets to get where you want to be.
Are we born knowing how to drive, how to master will, how to be healthy and successful? No. Not on your life.

But we are born with potential, the ability to learn and the ability to acquire knowledge, skills, beliefs and behaviors. As babies, we are like little programmable robots, ready to be outfitted with the data and programs to take us to the stars.

Unfortunately, most of us had some bad programming and learned how to be unhealthy instead of healthy. Are we doomed to follow our early programming, stuck with the bad information and behaviors we’ve been trained with? No.

Regardless of our age, we still have the potential we were born with. We still have the equipment needed to learn, that can rid us of bad information and behaviors and replace them with healthier ones.

6) Faith in the potential and power within you.
All living breathing things, including you, have a power in them that generates their life. You did not make this. It made you. It predates you and has a wisdom beyond our comprehension. It beats your heart, channels impulses through your brain and nervous system, had instinct from the day you were born, and has the miraculous ability to heal broken bones and wounds. While philosophers and psychologists try to understand and discover how it works, we do not fully understand it. But we know it is in us.

Sometimes, we lose sight of this and doubt our potential. This is crucial, because the part of us that runs our programs and runs our life will act out what we believe is possible rather than what it is really capable of. So, if we believe we do not have this power and potential within us, it’s like we are turning it off. If we do that, the wisdom, genius and miraculous is being told to stop working.

If you are alive and breathing it is there. Have the faith that it is always there. We may have let ourselves down in the past, lost faith in our own little self, but it is essential to believe that the power that generates the miracles of life is still there, at work, coursing through your every cell. It is ready to respond when you are ready to call on it and put it to work. That Faith is not only rational, but absolutely needed for that power to be active in your life.

7) Desire
The word desire is derived from a root word that means star, like the sun, a source of energy. Some people have said that desire is something to shun. I certainly think a desire for unhealthy things causes suffering, but I know that a desire for healthy things causes good things to happen. A strong desire is absolutely necessary when the object of your desire is difficult to attain, requires work, or has obstacles to overcome.

Don’t be afraid to kindle a burning desire for your success. It will give you energy. You need that energy to accomplish what we want here. If the dream of being at a weight you’d love stirs you, dream it. If the thought of doing what you’d like to do at your desired weight, wearing what you’d like to wear, feeling how you want to feel excites you, stoke it.

Successful weight loss was an elusive goal for many of us for many years, but it certainly is possible, and for many of us, it’s become easy. It most certainly is worth everything you can muster to put these elements in place. Think of what your life would be like if you could solve this problem.

William Anderson is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor who specializes in weight loss, eating disorders and addictions. He is the author of  The Anderson Method.


Weight Loss Secrets of Success



Those familiar with The Anderson Method know that it’s a program of training in behavioral methods to “install” the habits that make people lose weight “on automatic” by employing behavioral reprogramming techniques. What are the habits we want to install?

The National Weight Control Registry

When I first set out to create my program, I studied the work of researchers at Brown University who were becoming known as experts in weight loss research. They were studying people who were successful at losing weight and keeping it off and they developed a huge body of knowledge about how they did it. This was immensely valuable because rather than being someone’s idea of what they thought should work, this was a collection of information about what actually did work. I structured my training to model the behaviors of success, added techniques from behavioral psychology and was successful at solving my own weight problem. I then went on to become one of their study subjects and then to start helping others. The result was The Anderson Method.

The researchers at Brown went on to become the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) now the largest and oldest longitudinal study of weight loss success in the world. It now has 10,000 study subjects and has been in existence almost as long as I’ve maintained my weight loss success, 30 years. I and many of my clients and readers (it’s all voluntary) are among those they study!

Here’s some interesting info about people who have been successful at permanent weight loss, regardless of the methods they used.

From the NWCR:

“There is variety in how NWCR members keep the weight off. Most report continuing to maintain a low calorie, low fat diet and doing high levels of activity.

78% eat breakfast every day.
75% weigh themselves at least once a week.
62% watch less than 10 hours of TV per week.
90% exercise, on average, about 1 hour per day.

We have also started to learn about how the weight loss was accomplished: 45% of registry participants lost the weight on their own and the other 55% lost weight with the help of some type of program. 98% of Registry participants report that they modified their food intake in some way to lose weight. 94% increased their physical activity, with the most frequently reported form of activity being walking.”

My program has evolved in to a comprehensive training program where the client takes a small step at a time, starting with a phone call to set up a consultation. One thing leads to another in a format designed to teach, train and coach without overwhelming.

My book explains what clients learn and has helped many to succeed, even without the one-on-one training.

Explore all the pages and articles on this website and I encourage you to get my book or call one of my therapists if you want to get going on solving your weight problem.

Bill Anderson

Will Losing Weight Make You Happy?

I know that you’ve heard that losing weight is not the key to happiness and will not solve all your problems. But, after 30 years working with thousands of clients and readers losing weight, I can say without reservation, that they become incredibly happy. As they shed the pounds, my clients show an amazing transformation in their mood and quality of life. To describe them as ecstatic would not be an exaggeration in most cases. There is no question that losing weight makes people happy.

What is happiness? Happiness is a state of being. It’s the experience of joy that you’ve known when something terrific happened, like getting that job you were hoping for. Do you remember how great you felt when you finally got the job you wanted, or that great car you had your eye on, or when you went on the best vacation of your life? You were tremendously happy, right? That’s what I see in my clients every week. It’s what my readers write in the mail I get from my them. It’s what I feel everyday as I practice the method that helped me solve my weight problem 30 years ago, losing 140 pounds after 25 years of failing at diets. It’s what my clients feel every day they practice what I teach them. Yes, losing weight will make you happy if that’s something you’ve struggled with.

before and after #2

This is me before and after my weight loss, and believe me, I am much happier, much of which is due to my successful weight loss. (Read about my method in my book, The Anderson Method.)

This is not to say that if you are unhappy weight loss will fix everything. It is not the magic key to happiness.

While weight loss is my specialty, I am a licensed mental health counselor who has helped people with all sorts of problems, from severe and persistent mental illness to the more common problems people face, like depression, anxiety, stress disorders, and adjustments to traumatic experiences like the losses of loved ones, relationships, career, or hopes and dreams.

If you are overweight and unhappy, I’m sure losing weight will make you happy as you succeed, but shedding some weight will not result in long-term happiness if it is done the wrong way or it is the only thing you seek to change. In fact, a focus on weight loss alone can make one more unhappy if it is approached improperly.

For instance, if you don’t like yourself, if you are mad at yourself for one reason or another, you may think that losing weight will fix that. While solving your weight problem permanently would certainly help your self-esteem, fixing your relationship with yourself has got to occur as a priority above and before anything to do with weight. We need to love ourselves regardless of circumstance, fat or fit, with our successes and our failures. That’s more important than weight loss. That has more to do with long term happiness. When we adopt a habit of compassion and forgiveness of people for their human failings instead of passing a judgement of eternal damnation, healing can happen. And that goes for us as well as others. Without it, we don’t get better. Without it, we get stuck in the disorder.

If we go about losing weight the wrong way, we won’t learn how to change ourselves permanently, and we’ll gain it back. In that case, we’ll be making ourselves miserable instead of happy. I know, because I did this for 25 years before I developed the ability to succeed. We need to equip ourselves with scientific, medical and behavioral truths instead of nonsense. If we keep ourselves ignorant of the truth, our head filled with myths, we’ll have no hope of ever solving the problem. Using diets and plans that are not science-based, and plans that are not focused on making permanent changes in behavior and habit, is a prescription for misery instead of happiness.

You may have to undergo a conversion experience, replacing some of your most closely held beliefs with more worthy ones, based on whole health and science rather than diet gossip and folklore.

Here are a few examples of the belief swapping that needs to be a part of this conversion:

1) The way a person looks and how much they weigh is not the measure of them. We need to stop believing that the way a person’s body is made makes one better than another. It’s a superficial and ugly way to think. We need to value and respect all people, regardless of how they look and what they weigh.

2) We need to stop believing that self-control and other personality characteristics are a simple matter of character and “will-power.” It’s a mistake to believe that all people have the same drives to deal with. It’s foolish to believe that we really know what causes our feelings and behavior. There are unknown forces at play. It’s wrong to believe that we are in charge and we simply choose our feelings, desires and other inner experience. Multiple powerful factors cause our feelings that result in a huge appetite or no appetite, attraction to men or attraction to women, preferences in music or sports and other characteristics of our personality. We are born into a body and brain that we did not choose or create ourselves, and then we have to figure out how to live in it. However, we do not have to be helpless passengers in this journey of life, taking no responsibility ourselves. Some things, we can change. Some of us have a more difficult time changing than others, while some seem to have been born into perfect conditions. Good for them. I was not one of them. However, I do not have to be a helpless victim of my unique circumstances and neither do you. Change is possible. We may have it harder than others, but blaming ourselves or anyone else for it is as unhelpful as using our unique characteristics as excuses. The solution is to accept the hand we’ve been dealt and learn how to make our lives and ourselves better.

3) We need to stop believing that failures and a history of quitting makes us defective. I heard a coach say, “Winners never quit and quitters never win.” Hearing that made me sick. I had a history of failing and quitting just about everything that was really hard. In time, I came to realize that what the coach said was not true. Sure, people who were able to persist, who could tolerate the tough trials, did better. But I learned that persistence is not a matter of having never quit. Persistence is getting up and working at it again. Look at how a baby learns to walk. They keep falling and going at it again. Sometimes, they quit trying and go back to crawling. But they keep trying to stand and walk. After a while, they are falling less, and eventually, not at all. It’s the same with finding and doing what makes permanent weight loss. Like a baby, people who are successful fail and quit many times. But they keep getting back up, and eventually, they are doing well enough to be fit for life.

If you are overweight, I guarantee that losing weight will make you happy. I encourage you to go for it. I encourage you to relish the joy and happiness it gives you. At the same time, I guarantee that there are other things you need to change about yourself, and with that, you have a chance at lasting happiness, not just a flash in the pan.

“Health IQ With Heidi Godman” Examines The Anderson Method


On Monday, 4/15, I was on “Health IQ with Heidi Godman“, her new one-hour talk show, to talk about permanent WEIGHT LOSS and The Anderson Method for Permanent Weight Loss. Joining me were client Rennie Carter, who lost 50 pounds four years ago, and Rita Young, LMHC, who lost 35 pounds and went on to become trained as a provider of The Anderson Method.


Heidi is a highly respected medical journalist, currently the Executive Editor of the Harvard Health Letter, former medical editor for ABC7, and a journalism fellow for the American Academy of Neurology.

Please listen to the podcast by clicking on the link at the bottom of this post, visit her website, WSRQ website, home of Health IQ with Heidi Godman, and wish her success in taking her show into national syndication. The show is broadcast every weekday, 3-4pm EST. If you are in another time zone, you need to account for that.


Welcome, Maureen Harper, LMHC!


Our newest therapist certified to provide The Anderson Method is:

Maureen T Harper,LMHC

4400 Marsh Landing Blvd. Suite 6
Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082

This is from Maureen’s website:

“I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor working in a private practice setting at the beaches.  My sessions are comfortable and open.  I utilize traditional and solution-oriented therapies with my patients.  I will help you to resolve trauma, eliminate feelings of anxiety and depression and deal with emotional conflicts.

As a Certified Practitioner in Clinical Hypnosis, I specialize in an exciting new form of treatment pioneered by Jon Connelly, called Rapid Resolution Therapy.  When something is traumatic it slams into your awareness and leaves a lasting impression.  This therapy eliminates the negative behavioral and emotional influence of traumatic events by leading the patient to the realization that past events no longer need to affect the present situation.  People stop clinging to thoughts that do not exist, and start living in the immediate present with clarity and hope. Rapid Resolution Therapy can help eliminate anxiety, depression and the feelings caused by traumatic events in as little as one or two sessions.

I am a certified practitioner in the Anderson Method for weight loss.  The Anderson Method is a weight control program that will help you to achieve long-term weight loss.  The techniques taught in the Anderson Method will help you to understand the dynamics of how to make life changes to begin to enjoy guilt-free, healthy eating.  You will achieve weight loss and a new feeling of being in touch with your true self.

I have tremendous respect for people who come to see me.  I work collaboratively with children, adolescents, individuals and couples.  I conduct both individual and family therapy sessions to help people feel at peace and develop new levels of personal freedom.”

Welcome, Maureen!