For 37 years, I was like everybody else. On January 1, I was going to do it. This was going to be the time. It was all going to be different. A new year meant a clean slate. A chance to start over. To begin anew.
I was going to, at long last, lose weight.
Only it never happened that way.
I tried. I started whatever the latest starvation diet was. I joined
many gyms. I was there January 1, working out like a maniac. I went
several days in a row, several hours per day.
everyone else, I burned out and never went back. By Valentine's Day,
the gym was a ghost town and I was back to my old habits.
well, maybe next year. Millions of people take this exact approach and
very few succeed. Why? I certainly don't have all the answers, but
perhaps I can provide a little insight from my own experiences.
First, stop trying to lose weight.
the losing of weight becomes the supreme, overriding goal, the battle
is lost before it even starts. I have come to realize that when I just
focused on losing weight, I was only treating the symptom (not the
cause) of my problem. So what was the problem?
My lifestyle was a
disaster. I could lose weight for a short period of time by taking
extreme measures, but I was not putting any new behaviors in place to
ensure the results lasted. As a result, any weight lost was immediately
You see, most people think you need 3 things to lose weight:
have none of those things. Motivation, discipline and willpower last a
couple of weeks, at most. They will allow you to "white knuckle it" or
"gut it out" for a short period of time. But then what? You're right
back where you were. Temporary sacrifice gives you temporary results.
the course of 3 1/2 years and losing and maintaining a loss of almost
400 pounds, I have realized the 3 qualities that matter most for me are:
Doing the same thing over and over again. Never letting anything or
anyone get into the way of your customized routine.
-Determination. Fall down? Get back up. Gain a pound? Who cares. Get right back at it.
This is the biggest one of them all. Do what you say you're going to
do. For years, I did what a lot of people do. I spent a lot of time
and energy going around telling everyone that would listen what I needed
"I need to lose weight."
"Next year, I'm going to drop this weight."
"I need to start exercising."
then one day, I realized: I was wasting my time. There is no point in
convincing anyone except myself what I need to do. As the famous
advertising slogan says, just do it.
So back to this New Year's Resolution business. What do you do?
about the pressure we put on ourselves. We decide sometime in November
that come January 1, we are going to wake up and transform our lives.
Because of the date on the calendar, we will immediately start eating
better, exercising daily and completely change everything all at once.
here are some common-sense tips from somebody who's been there. Keep
in mind, there is no right or wrong way to lose weight. My way may not
work for you. I'm not arrogant enough to think I have all the answers.
No one does.
Step 1: Stop trying to lose weight.
That's right, I said it. For years, losing weight was my only goal.
But that wears off after awhile. Eventually, the weight loss stops. Or
the scale becomes frustrating. What I had to accept, understand and
realize was that the weight was not my problem. The weight was a
symptom of an unhealthy lifestyle, not the cause of it. Make the changes
in your life that will cause you to lose weight. Changes you can live
with the rest of your life. Nothing temporary.
2: Do not repeat the last time you lost weight. I once lost weight in a
very extreme and unhealthy way. Naturally, I couldn't keep it off. But
I spent the next dozen years thinking that was the only path to
success, "because it worked before." Actually, it didn't work. I
gained the weight back. That approach was a failure and should not be
repeated. Don't be like I was. Study your failures, but do not repeat
Step 3: Get professional help. Make an
appointment with your family doctor. Talk about your health issues, get
it out into the open. Find out what exercise you can safely do. And
then, what was perhaps most valuable to me of all: visit a registered
dietitian. Learning about how to properly eat, what nutrients I really
needed, meals, snacks and portion control is all very boring...but it's
And you want the truth. No more lies. No more impossible diets. No more quick fixes. No more fat burning pills.
don't be like I was and like everybody else is. Don't have a New
Year's Resolution to lose weight. Start your new year off right: by
taking common-sense steps toward a healthier lifestyle.
Ganey is a motivational speaker and author of "Impossible: How I Lost
Nearly 400 Pounds Without Surgery," available in print and e-book from Amazon.com. He maintains a blog at http://www.BryanGaney.com.