12/31/2007 12:32 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Tis the Season to Lose Weight

It's that time of year again. The time to do damage control after all the holiday feasting. It's also that time of year when the number one resolution gets made; to lose weight. I am a psychotherapist/eating disorder specialist and have been working in the field of weight loss for over 20 years. Here is what I have learned about why it is so hard to accomplish long term weight loss.

There is a lot of misinformation out there telling people to do things that don't work. Why? Because it sells. If I write a book called say, The Snicker Bar Diet, you will see me on Oprah. If I tell you that you don't have to do any real work but if you buy this cream and rub it on your thighs and they will shrink. I will get rich. If I create a TV show that tells people they can have anything they want if they only imagine it and get people to testify that it's true, again I am rich. We want to believe and we don't want to have to work for it. If only life really worked this way.

I am about to give you all the information you need to lose weight and keep it off permanently. If you follow the instructions below, you cannot fail.

There is only one way to lose real weight and I can sum it up in one sentence. TAKE IN LESS CALORIES THAN YOU BURN. That's it. One sentence. Now, how do you do that?

Next step: FIGURE OUT HOW MANY CALORIES YOU BURN. How: Take your current weight and if you are a woman multiply times ten, if a man multiply times 12. This will give you the approximate number of calories you are currently burning on a daily basis without exercise. For example; if I am a woman and I weigh 180 lbs. I multiply times ten which gives me 1,800. If I want to lose weight I need to take in less than that. You need to deficit 3,500 calories in order to lose a pound of fat. If I want to weigh 130 lbs. I need to take in, on average, 1,300 calories a day. If I walk 3 miles and burn an additional 300 calories I can eat 1,600 calories a day and weigh 130 lbs. It's math.

Next step: WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING YOU EAT. Why do this? How else can you get control and figure out how to change things? Your body counts calories. That is how it determines what to weigh. If you don't, your body will take care of it for you. Keep track and learn the calories and portion sizes of what you normally eat. There are lots of great websites for this. There are sites where you can even keep your food records online if that helps you. There are plenty of studies to show that this one step is the key to long term weight loss and is the one people resist the most. Keep in mind; it's what you do on a regular, daily basis that will determine your weight a year from now. A high calorie day here and there won't matter as long as it is occasional.

Next step: WEIGH YOURSELF EVERYDAY. Once a day only, in the morning, first thing. Write down the weight and average it out over the week. Look at your weekly average weight to track your progress. Weight fluctuations are normal so the average weekly weight is much more accurate than weighing once a week.

That is it. No diet book, no pills, shots, creams or herbal supplements needed. It is simple but it is not easy. Like most things in life though, if you do the work you will get the results. Good luck. Oh and don't forget to cancel that order you placed on thigh shrinking cream.