03/30/2011 03:20 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Hacker's Guide to Weight Loss

Today, use of the term "hacker" mainly refers to computer criminals. But many hackers are not lawbreakers. As a matter of fact many hackers are savvy and entrepreneurial. Often, hackers are people who get a kick out of figuring out ways to buck the system.

Now, if we could only figure out a way to hack our way to weight loss. Hackers thrive on finding back door entrances to cryptic systems. Almost always we think of hackers as engineers who hack to find better methods that save time, energy, money or all of the above, but many times in the health and fitness world there are smart techniques we can use to improve our health and fitness level.

Do you think controlling your weight is impossible? Do you find your weight struggles agonizing to deal with or incongruous with the way you are living?

Phenomenal things are often accomplished by regular people who never realized that what they were doing was improbable and if they'd known they couldn't do it, they might never have attempted it in the first place. Hackers have often witnessed one individual or tiny groups make important inventions while bigger businesses were limted by thinking it wasn't worth trying.

Once you realize that you can empower yourself to outfox your own limitations: You start to think of yourself as someone who can lose weight and be healthier, then you are emancipated from your own limiting self-beliefs. You aren't watching your thin life pass you by. You are the boss of your body. You are now a hacker. By getting around the limitations that caused you to gain weight in the first place you are hacking the most amazingly complex system in the universe: your own body.

Losing weight provides an interesting look at the irony of how we deal with our own consciousness; the distinction between mind and body. Weight loss concerns the body at it's most basic level; eat more and gain weight, eat less and lose weight. But the reasons we can't lose weight mostly comes from the nuances of psychology as opposed to the biology of our body.

To stay at your ideal weight, you must eat just the right amount. To eat the right amount, over the long haul of your lifetime, you need an incentive to follow that guidance. Watching the weather forecast doesn't make you dress appropriately for the weather, but it provides the information you need, if you want to dress comfortably.

Whether you've always had a weight problem, have been up and down with binges and purges or have just gradually added a pound or two over the decades, the main tools you need are exactly the same as the main tools you need to get anywhere in your life:

-A specific, measurable, realistic, trackable goal that you can be accountable to.
-A high threshold for discomfort.

The bigger the goal (or the more weight you need to lose) the more satisfying it will be to reach it (or lose it). That's why it's sometimes hard to lose those last six pounds; the satisfaction is not as dramatic as when you lose a hundred pounds. The hack in anything is the ability to delay immediate gratification in exchange for a more lasting and satisfying goal.

This is what it takes to lose weight. If you have a very accomplished life but are obese or overweight the only thing you need to do is make weight loss as important a goal as those other things in life where you've succeeded. Go about weight loss like all the other accomplished areas of your life. Make a specific plan and stick with the initial discomfort until you get there.

It's like brushing your teeth, getting groceries for dinner, or getting the oil changed in the car. You don't schedule an appointment with the dentist and then say to yourself at the last minute, "I really don't feel like going today." You get the job done, and done right, as soon as you can and with minimal whining. That's how we become successful business people and that's what it takes to lose weight.

Dormant within each of us is the power to be at your optimal weight for the remainder of your life. You just need to realize that your weight is within your conscious control. Know that, and you can achieve it.

Once you've felt firsthand how good it feels to weigh what you want to weigh, you will have the self-esteem to stay with it, even if it means giving up that crème brulee for dessert when everyone else is ordering it.

By simply eating a little bit less every day for a year, you can subtract 25 pounds from your weight in the space of that single year -- assuming you weren't gaining weight before.

The only real control we have is over what goes in: what, when, and how much we eat. Weight control can be reduced to a very simple matter of arithmetic and is simply a matter of total calories you eat every day, over a period of time. Of course, if you had just landed on Planet Earth and were trying a diet program for the first time, you'd be very encouraged to hear how simple it is, but we all know differently.

If you have experienced the frustration and impossibility of actually managing calorie intake, you know it is not just the math, but also the mouth. Good luck with that.

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