04/24/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Can't Lose Weight?

Of course you can, but maybe you're stuck. The contemplation stage of change is often the most uncomfortable. You are aware you need to lose weight but aren't yet ready, willing and/or able to do it.

Honor this stage. It is part of the change process. Where some people come out of denial, realize they have a weight issue and attack it immediately; far more spend some time deciding how to go about it. They may even go back into denial and decide their weight problem isn't really that bad. They may try a few things briefly and then give up. During this period of time people report a lot of self-loathing and depression. They hate the way they look and feel but think and feel that they are powerless to change it. They have thoughts like: "No matter what I do, I can't lose weight." "All I eat is salad and I'm still fat." "I give up." "I tried (insert any diet, diet program, and it didn't work for me." "It's genetic so I may as well just accept it."

My research and experience on this shows that there is a wide range of time spent in this stage. There are those who spend little or no time here and are immediately in action mode. There are some who have spent 15 or more years in this stage. There are also those who lost weight, gained it back and went back to this stage after having been successful at weight loss in the past.

I was in this stage myself and it was truly awful. I did move out of it and have maintained a 50 pound weight loss for 20 years. You can too. Think about moving into problem solving mode. Try thinking about your weight as if it were a problem that could be solved. Try taking the emotion out of it and just use logic, education, planning and action. You can do it!

If you'd like to participate in the research for Irene's new book about the process of weight loss, please take the survey.