01/28/2013 01:36 pm ET Updated Mar 30, 2013

'It's Impossible!'

You know other people lose weight. You may have seen someone like me who's lost a ton of weight and kept it off. You know it's possible, but in your heart you believe that for you it's impossible. You believe you are destined to be overweight.

I've met lots of people who believe that.

I could easily have believed that. My family was all overweight. I lost close relatives to diseases typically caused by being overweight: diabetes and heart disease. I had been much larger than other kids from the day I started kindergarten, reaching 360 pounds by the time I was 17.

I've now been lean and fit for nearly 10 years. If I'd believed it when that voice inside me was telling me it was impossible, then I'd probably be 500 pounds by now, if I were even still alive. But when I heard that voice, I recognized that what I was really hearing was the fear within myself.

Overeating and eating fatty, salty and sugary foods can be comforting. For those of us who are emotional eaters, these foods are the first things we reach for when anything upsets us. Had a bad meeting? Have a candy bar. Your daughter snuck off to date someone you don't like or trust? That calls for a quart of ice cream. The idea that you will no longer have this security blanket is scary. Just the thought of it makes you want to eat some cookies!

Some of us are not emotional eaters, but we eat for taste, pleasure and socializing instead of for nourishment. We're the ones who eat burgers and fries at restaurants, who grab an extra-large pizza on the way home for dinner, who hang with our friends drinking beer and eating nachos and wings. For you, the idea of eating healthfully just seems boring. And what are you going to do when the guys are all drinking beer and eating nachos and wings? Or when you have a family event with tables laden with your favorite fatty foods?

Change is scary for all of us. But if you want your body to be different, if you want to feel better, look better and live a longer, happier, healthier life, it's also necessary. The key is to change the way you look at things -- to change your mindset.

The real cornerstone of my program, the reason I was able to lose 160 pounds of pure fat and keep it off, and the way my clients and readers have been able to lose anywhere from 20 to over 200 pounds and keep it off, is by changing the way we think.

The first step is in understanding that it is possible for you to lose your excess fat, whatever amount that is. You need to understand and truly know that under that fat is a lean and fit you!

The next step is to change the way you think about food. You have to disconnect from the emotions and preconceived ideas around food. Food is meant for nourishment, pure and simple. It has no emotional connection to you, and if you're placing your emotions on it, your emotions are being misplaced. If you have preconceived ideas about having to have certain fatty foods in certain social gatherings, then you're confusing the food with the emotional connection you have with your friends and family.

But how do you end this misplaced emotional connection?

The answer is simple, though not necessarily easy: You decide on the foods you're going to eat ahead of time, and you eat the same things for each meal for two weeks at a time.

When you start eating this way, you begin looking forward to foods you used to dread, because they fill your hunger and provide nourishment to your body. You lose the emotional connection with fatty, salty and sugary foods as you begin to find emotional connection with the people in your life instead. Rather than escaping from life, you begin living it.

Yes, change is scary. But change happens no matter what. Are you the same as you were 10 years ago? What about your children, are they the same? If you continue overeating and eating the wrong foods, the changes you experience will happen to you -- like gaining more weight or getting diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart disease and impotence -- instead of you choosing a positive change, one that will bring you better health, more energy, better looks and stamina.

It is possible for you to make the changes that will bring you the health and fitness you desire, that you deserve. The first steps are difficult, but they get easier and easier until they become second nature to you. Then you'll wonder why you were so afraid of achieving this wonderful life.

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