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We often have a picture in our heads of what successful weight loss looks like.

It might go like this:

New Diet + Short Period of Time = Skinny Me

We convince ourselves this is how it works and, when it doesn’t work, we blame ourselves.  Or the diet.  But usually ourselves – as if any diet EVER worked!

With a 99% fail rate and a 108% regain rate, diets are so not the way to go.

Break Up with Food

Once we realize this, some really big opportunities open up!  As one of my clients recently said, “There really are 50 ways to leave your lover!”

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It’s the start of another year. That means lots of new faces at the gym!

Why this is good: It’s boring to see the same people all the time. It’s great to have new energy infusing the place.

Well, maybe.


Why this is bad: Sometimes, those new faces behave badly!

Case in point: I was working out on New Year’s when I approached a pull-down cable machine. Yes, you can do numerous exercises on this piece of equipment. But not if other people are waiting!

Dude #1, using the equipment, must have noticed the seven exercises pictured on the front of the machine and decided to do them all, one after the other.

RULE #1 – No one has exclusive rights to any piece of equipment. Think “COOPERATION”!

So, after a couple of sets, it was obvious I was standing nearby, in the middle of the room because I was WAITING! He glanced at me and ignored me.

So, as he puffed through a set of (very poor form) overhead tricep extensions, I said: “Excuse me, I’m waiting to use that too. Is it OK if I work in?”

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The weight loss industry loves to make us feel bad about ourselves.

Born with a wide-hipped bone structure? Bad girl!

Did you diet so much in your teens that, even though you feel healthy and can maintain your weight easily, you still weigh 30 lbs more than those “magic” weight charts in the doctor’s office? Terrible you!

Despite constant dieting, is your waist roughly the same size as your hips so the latest fashion hip-rider jeans just don’t work for you? Shame on you!

I know I never would have lost over 70 lbs., or maintained that weight loss for over 10 years, if I stayed hooked into the diet biz OR bad feelings about myself. It took me a long time to disengage from commercials and advertising that shows EVERYONE with long legs, taut arms, tiny waist, and big boobs. In real life, every body is unique and very few meet the advertising world’s criteria for beauty.

Instead of feeling bad about ourselves, we should feel bad for them. What a boring, pathetic, lying world they depict!

Take note of this new commercial for Jenny Craig where the absolutely beautiful actress Sara Rue talks about not being able to leave the house (oh, the shame!!) when overweight:

The reason this lovely woman is in for a rude awakening (and I hate to see that) is the route she’s taken in order to lose that weight and fit into those “skinny” jeans. My research taught me that dieting is the key to regain. The body is programmed to regain after sudden loss. (If you don’t understand this, see this audio class.)

The very first Principal in the Catalyst Weight Loss System is “Don’t do anything to lose weight that you can’t do forever” because otherwise you are just setting yourself up for regain.

Do you want it now or do you want it forever?

The approach is different.

Here’s what I also learned losing all that weight. Women (some men, but especially women) buy the skinny=happy equation and waste precious TIME, ENERGY and PASSION worrying about it, pursuing it, failing at it, running their lives by it (staying home!) and making u-turns in life.


Just think what we could do collectively if we harnessed all that energy and passion and used it to care (really care) for ourselves!

Thanks for all the comments to the “Sick & Tired of ‘Food Decisions?’” post! Emails and tweets abounded. It was great to hear from you!

The quest for permanent weight loss MUST eventually become non-diet weight loss. Our willpower sooner or later deserts us. In fact, willpower was not equipped for long-range quests. In other words, diets have to morph into intelligent, sustainable lifestyles in order for the change to last. Diet mentality, on the other hand, has us yo-yo-ing our weight and repeatedly coming back for more dieting.

Feeding the body when it is not hungry builds more fat.

Feeding the body when it is not hungry builds more fat.

Many of the themes I heard from reader responses were from diet mentality and clearly centered on controlling food or controlling behavior with food, rather than focused on real needs. Let’s have a look:

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I just had my heart ripped out by a new client. Janet* came to me because she is tired of losing and gaining weight. Her latest experience was with a diet doctor who was fixated on dietary fat. He gave her a very low fat diet and, feeling desperate, she began to eradicate fat from her diet. Janet is an all-or-nothing kind of gal. She made every attempt to be “perfect” on the diet. When her weight loss slowed, she’d cut fat further. Most reasonable, healthy diets suggest approximately 30% of our daily food intake should be fat. Janet wound up making 10% of her weekly diet fat.


She lost weight. She was elated. She lost 80 lbs in 6 months. When I heard her say this, I held my breath. I knew what was coming.

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Last week, I posted a notice about this story to twitter and facebook. V Magazine had had the audacity to use plus sized models (size 12, not very plus to the average size 14 American woman) in a sexy fashion story! Whoa! Stop the presses! What are they doing?


Well, most people responded favorably. Not surprisingly, women were thrilled.

Today, I was at the gym and, when I looked up from the treadmill, one of the entertainment shows featured a string of commentators who had negative reactions to the magazine layout.


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As we move from one year to the next, it’s fun to look ahead and make resolutions or set goals. But, before doing that, it’s important to take a look back and celebrate the wins of the year we’re leaving.

Here are my wins of 2009.

1. Maintaining my weight loss of 70+ lbs.

When I set out to lose weight, I was determined to keep my new weight. I was tired of “renting” weight loss and having to give it back at the end of the diet. So, I set about losing weight differently. In March, I will celebrate 10 years at my current weight!

2. Spreading the word about Permanent Weight Loss.

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Holidays bring stress to most of us. Also trying to lose weight? More stress!

And what if stress is a major food trigger for you? Consider that stress quadrupled!

Often, after a period of successful weight loss, we develop expectations of how our holiday should go, or what we can accomplish during this frantic time. Those expectations can be unrealistic, given the pressures and demands of family, friends, celebrations, the social calendar, etc.

On one hand, it’s not productive to use the holidays as an excuse to abandon healthy goals and routines.

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