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William Anderson, MA, LMHC

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3 Prerequisites for Successful Weight Loss

Posted: 08/22/2012 1:10 pm

Can weight loss be fun, pleasurable, natural and even easy? Yes. Many clients, patients and readers using my methods have said so. But there's a catch. I screen my clients, and I make sure they meet the prerequisites before I'll work with them. In my book, I make sure readers know about them.

Since 1985 I have been helping people solve their weight problems with a therapeutic method I developed as a behavioral therapist. As a clinical counselor, I specialized in tough habitual behavior and addictions, and I put my clinical training to work on obesity, solving my own problem first. I lost 140 pounds after 25 years of dieting failure, and I've maintained my ideal body weight since then, for almost 30 years.

Soon after discovering the method, I started training others. I've been very successful helping chronically overweight people lose weight permanently, and I am convinced that anyone can succeed with permanent weight loss. However, there is a big but. Before you can expect to be able to solve your weight problem, there are several prerequisites that must be met.

1) Get honest about yourself and weight control.

For years, I could not accept the truth about myself and weight control. Early in my dieting career, I learned about calories, the calories in what I liked to eat, and how I'd have to change. It was so hideous that I could not live with it. There had to be another truth, another way! There was no way I could live a life without the freedom to eat what I wanted, when I wanted. I used to say things like, "I really don't eat that much." I pretended that I was not the cause of my weight problem. I looked for magical ways to solve my weight problem.

To succeed with weight loss, first we must accept that we have been eating too much -- and that to lose weight and keep it off, we'll have to learn how to eat less for the rest of our lives. We need to accept the science of thermodynamics that defines weight gain, loss and control in calories. In order to solve our weight problem, we must find a way to eat less calorically and be happy with it. If we can, we can solve the weight problem for good.

2) You need to accept that you can't get someone else to create the success. You must own the job of creating your weight-loss success.

For 20 years, from the age of 12, I wanted to be thinner. I tried to lose weight and failed so many times that I lost faith that I would ever be able to control myself and my weight. I decided that I needed to get someone else to make me lose weight. Maybe I could hire someone to make me follow the rules. Maybe I could get someone else to fix the food for me so I wouldn't have to -- I could just eat what they gave me. If I could just pay someone, they would make me successful. But no, it doesn't work.

Weight control is one of those things in life where you can't get someone else to do it for you. It's not like hiring someone to clean the house or give you a tummy tuck. It doesn't matter how rich and powerful you are, or how poor and powerless. You can't buy this success. But you can make it happen.

No one else can cause your success. You must cause it. No one else can do the work. You must do the work. You don't need to be confident that you can do it, but you do need accept the job as your own, no one else's.

3) Your health and weight control must be the top priority in your life. They must come before all other concerns.

To be successful, work can't come first. Church can't come first. School can't come first. Family and friends can't come first. What other people think can't come first. When things interfere with what you need to do, everything else must take a backseat. They can be considered only after you've done what's needed to succeed with your weight control and health goals.

This may seem extreme, especially for those who can control their weight easily. They think it should be easy for us, too. However, in my experience, once a person has developed the kind of chronic weight control problem that my clients and I have had, there's no solving it until it is made the top priority in your life.

Can you take these steps?

If something inside you says, "My work (or whatever) is really important. There's no way that weight control will come first," that's what's keeping you from being successful. If it says, "I really don't eat too much. There's no way I could eat less," that's what's keeping you from being successful. If it says, "I need someone else to make it easier for me, someone to make me do what's needed." that's what's keeping you from being successful. Before you have a chance of winning at permanent weight loss, you need to confront these issues and change what you think.

If you can agree to these prerequisites and follow me, I promise that you'll be able to lose your excess weight and keep it off. Read all my articles here on The Huffington Post, and then read everything I've written that you can find. You don't need to accept the fate of being overweight. You can change. And your life will get be better.

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