The key to success in any weight loss program - whether you pay thousands of dollars for a packaged solution or just do it yourself - requires just one thing: that you follow the instructions and stick with the program.
This may sound too simple and even a bit of a cop-out for a doctor to be telling you this, but it's true. The inability to follow a program is the #1 reason for weight loss failure.
So let's go "behind the scenes" to understand this in more detail, because if we can understand it, then we can work to overcome it.
Let's start at the beginning, way back, before the excess weight even existed. Back when you were your naturally-thin self.
Back in the days before you carried any excess weight, things were different. Back then, your metabolism handled whatever you ate. Your peer group and social context were probably also naturally-thin.
Over time, however, we developed habits and behaviors that no longer matched up with our metabolic rate. The weight came on, maybe slowly or almost imperceptibly at first, but over time there was no denying it - we were overweight!
Although the science of weight loss says that all we need to do is eat less or exercise more, it's not quite that simple.
First, change is hard. Especially when it means not doing something we enjoy (like eating certain foods), or doing something we may not enjoy (like exercise).
Even so, most of us know that we need to lose the excess weight in order to improve our quality (or length!) of life. So we muster up a tremendous amount of willpower and get started. So far, so good.
But more difficult than getting started on a weight loss program, is sticking with it. Statistics show that 98% of all diets end within 72 hours - likely from Monday morning until sometime on Wednesday or maybe Thursday.
There's a reason why it's so hard to stick with it - our old habits and learned behaviors aren't so easily overcome. You may have heard that it takes 21 days to form a new habit - but I'm telling you that un-learning an old habit or changing an established behavior is even harder.
Failure to make changes to existing habits and behaviors is the #1 reason for weight loss failure. Adding new habits and behaviors is somewhat easier and very helpful for weight loss, but is not enough.
Armed with this knowledge, it is no wonder that even the most highly-touted and thoroughly-researched weight loss programs fail. Unless that program can help you change a lifetime of bad habits and unhealthy behaviors, getting back to your naturally-thin self - and staying there - is nothing more than a marketing promise.
So what to do, and what's my recommendation?
Before you start any weight loss program, think back about how that excess weight came to be. Think about the bad habits or family traditions that contributed to your weight gain, and then look for a program that will not only help you lose the weight, but also help you change those habits and behaviors.
Your naturally-thin self is still there, but it's just waiting for you to change.