Tag Archives: loss

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.

 

Is Vaping Actually the Secret to Weight Control? – No, It’s Not.

(This article first appeared on The Huffington Post)

In a recent article published by Vice Media’s website, the headline asks, “Is Vaping Actually the Secret to Weight Control?” — It looks like a weight loss ad on Google News. Could it be true? In a word – NO!

Vaping may be better than smoking, but it is one problem swapped for another, not a solution, to cancer risk or weight loss.

Any smoker who has blown smoke through a handkerchief knows the crap you are putting into your lungs when you smoke. I hope you have seen the results, the tar build up, the eventual COPD (Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease) and possible lung cancer that comes from smoking. Certainly, it seems to me that if one could stop smoking with an alternative way to ingest nicotine, the addictive chemical in cigarettes, it would be a big improvement. Logic tells me that one would be better off without all that tar in the lungs, the cause of the COPD and likely contributor to cancer. However, other means of nicotine delivery also cause cancer, so continuing the addiction without the smoke may be an improvement, but it is not the answer to good health, not to mention the freedom from addiction. Only ending the smoking addiction offers that. And only changes in yourself —your habits, thinking and feelings about food, will result in solving your weight problem.

Why would anyone think that vaping would be an answer to weight control?

It has long been thought that smoking helps with weight control. Smokers have found that quitting smoking leads to weight gain. Research points to evidence of that. But does smoking really help solve a person’t weight problem? No.

The connection between smoking and weight became evident when researchers observed that people commonly gained weight when they quit smoking. The usual weight gain is 5 to 10 pounds in the first few months after quitting, but some gain much more, as much as 50 pounds after quitting. Some of the weight gain is thought to be from a decreased metabolic rate because the stimulative effect of nicotine is no longer present. However, most of the weight gain is due to switching from grabbing a cigarette to grabbing a snack when the urge strikes. The stressors of life triggered the need to inhale something to relieve the stress, and instead of smoke, it became food.

In addition to those findings, women who had become stress or emotional eaters have found that if they substituted lighting up for grabbing a snack, they could avoid a lot of the overeating that caused their weight problems. For them, smoking seemed like the answer to their problem of gaining weight.

However, the reality is that when you develop a habit of overeating, you are going to end up overweight, even if you smoke or vape. Habits develop and strengthen over time, and overeating habits will grow, whether you vape/smoke or not, unless you learn how to master your eating addiction.

Smoking or vaping is not the answer to weight loss and weight control. Only permanent change in yourself, your habits, thinking and feelings about food will achieve that.

Quitting smoking led me to learn how to lose weight. Weight loss can be solved, but not by smoking or vaping.

I referred to an eating addiction, and while many may question that idea, those who have struggled with self-control with their eating know exactly what I’m talking about. The idea that we easily just decide to eat less, using will-power, and then succeed instantly, is a fallacy for most people. That’s why we have an obesity epidemic with over 70% of Americans overweight. And adding vaping or smoking to your eating habits will not make you less of an addict. You’ll then be addicted to both vaping or smoking and overeating!

I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor specializing in weight loss and addictions, and I got my start in the field with smoking cessation therapy. I was an obese heavy smoker who managed to become an ex-smoker with effective addiction therapy. In my training as an addictions counselor I became aware that my problem with being overweight was really a problem with overeating, similar to other addictions, like smoking. In 1984, using proven behavioral therapy, I lost 140 pounds, and have kept it off since. That led me to the program I now offer all over the world through my network of therapists and my book, The Anderson Method. Believe me, smoking or vaping is not your solution to weight control.

Weight loss and weight control is achieved via changes in yourself, not by will-power, but through “psychotherapy.”

The term “psychotherapy” today usually refers to formal clinical counseling with a psychotherapist. However, I’m using it here in original meaning of the root words, psyche (mind), and therapy (healing). To lose weight permanently, we need to make improvements in our mental processes, our automatic thoughts, habits and feelings, so that we habitually take in fewer calories than we burn. And we need to make it permanent, for the rest of our lives. That means we have to change that part of ourselves, our unconscious mind, that controls our habits, automatic thinking, urges and even feelings. Right now, your unconscious mind is probably set up to make you overeat, no matter how much you’d like to change. Deciding you want to be different and feel different is not enough. Trying to use “will-power” is not enough. Something else is in charge, something like an addiction, and the only way to change that is with the healing of your mind. “Will-power” only comes into play in deciding to learn how to accomplish that, learning the techniques.

So, realize that wanting to change yourself is certainly a big step towards self-improvement, maybe the biggest step, but it is only the first step. You need to learn how. And that’s what my book and lots of other self-help books can teach you about self-improvement and personal growth.

If you want to lose weight and solve your weight problem permanently, quit looking for miracle diets, weight loss “tricks”, gimmicks, pills and potions. Learn how to change yourself.

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

 

Is Obesity Acceptable?

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© OBESITY ACTION COALITION.
(First published in The Huffington Post)

Last week, an article in the Washington Post announced a new program of the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) to fight obesity bias. They want the media to change from portraying obesity in a negative unflattering light, which they are known to do. They want the media to use more positive images when portraying obese people and the OAC is providing them with free stock images to use when showing obese people. The photo with this article is an example of one of these images. As OAC’s James Zervios points out, the headless bodies with plates of junk food often used in the media promote a false stereotype about overweight people that is abusive as well as untrue. Many overweight people are hard-working citizens who eat healthy foods and are attentive to their health needs. They are not fat, lazy and stupid, an image the media is used to promoting.

At the same time there is a fat-acceptance movement you may have heard of that also fights bias and discrimination against overweight people and promotes acceptance of the condition as well as the people who have it.

In the Washington Post article, Zervios maintains that “Obesity is a disease whose sufferers are no different from those afflicted with breast cancer or asthma”. This leads many to take the position that there is nothing that can be done about it, and that people who are overweight should accept it.

Is Obesity Something we should Accept?

I am a clinical member of both the Obesity Action Coalition and The Obesity Society, an association of health professionals that treat obesity and its related medical conditions. I am also a behavioral therapist who solved my own 25-year obesity problem and helps others to do the same.

While I am a staunch supporter of efforts to fight obesity bias and discrimination, I disagree completely with Zervios’s position that obesity is a disease no different from breast cancer and asthma. Obesity can be reversed. By adopting habits of eating less, obese people lose weight and lose the medical problems they have because of it. It is not a matter of “perhaps” it can change. It will change, no if’s and’s or but’s. Cancer and asthma have no similar guaranteed way to get rid of the condition.

While creating change in habitual and addictive behavior can be difficult and complex, it can be done. There is no guarantee that the person can easily change, but it can be done. Like it is with alcohol and drug abuse, when the behavior changes, the problems caused by the behavior resolve. In 30 years, I have never had a patient not lose weight when they are able to eat less.

I and thousands of my patients, clients and readers have reversed our obesity and the medical complications of it. Please don’t let people think that being overweight and sick with it is acceptable. Don’t let them think that getting better is beyond their control. They need not be ashamed or abused because of it, but they need not stay overweight either. There is a sure-fire way to reverse the condition, unlike cancer and asthma.

William Anderson is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor who specializes in weight loss, eating disorders and addictions. He solved his own long-time weight problem, losing 140 pounds 30 years ago and has kept it off since. He is the author of The Anderson Method.