As with all changes it starts with motivation and support. And although I will spend very little time talking about motivation and support, if you don’t have these two components, you will likely fail. So do not set yourself up to fail. Learned failure is all too common. If you have the motivation to lose weight then set yourself up to succeed. To succeed you must take on only what you can handle and you must have the support structure to turn to when you are weak. Assume that you will have weak times.
Some will argue that weight loss is about increasing caloric output and decreasing caloric input. While that may be essentially true, however if you do not already exercise I encourage you to first focus only on the input side. You can add the exercise in later after you are successful on the food side. There are a few reasons for this approach including the truth that exercise increases body mass as you convert fat to muscle. But the biggest reason is the prospect of success. Taking on one life-style change is hard enough, at least it was for me. Taking on two at one time is a recipe for failure. As I said set yourself up for success. This gets to my core philosophy I call “Just One More Thing” in which we take on just one change until it is part of our daily life and then add just one more thing, and so on until we have stacked good habit on top of good habit. This is the method I used to learn to drink water, to lose weight, to take supplements, to exercise, to get rid of my disabling pain, in short to go from the emergency room visit in 2000 that changed the direction of my life to climbing several of the highest peaks in California by 2006. Just One More Thing.
This is a powerful tool that if used and applied properly and diligently will slowly steer the user’s life and life-style in a different direction so that at the end of 1 or 5 or 10 years it will result in a very different health profile, a longer and better quality of life. But back to practical weight loss. There are a myriad of different approaches out there to losing weight and most of them work as advertised. What I encourage you to do is to learn to choose food properly, to be able to analyze food for its content and to know what you are really putting in your mouth. The most practical thing here is not to lose weight, but to change the way you eat. This requires education, not a diet. This requires time on your part to invest in learning the value of each bit of food you consume. It is only through the process of motivation, support, education, and application will you succeed in the long term.
So although there are many such programs out there, Weight Watchers is a great program that supplies the support and education side while you bring the motivation and application to the table. It works as long as you heed this last bit of advice. Buy into whatever you do. Whatever program you chose, give yourself over to it completely and do everything they say. Don’t pick and choose what you like, unless you like to fail. Accept it and do it and don’t look back.