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7 Keys to Permanent Weight Loss Success, Part 1

by Jeremy Likness - Natural Physiques
from Tom Venuto's Fitness Renaissance


Terrorists are aptly named because their tactics are designed to strike fear into the hearts of the people. This fear is often irrational. Many people bide their time suffering anxiety over the next unlikely attack while falling prey to a monster that kills more people every week than those murdered on September 11th. This killer has no hidden agenda and destroys without prejudice. Those who are unfortunate enough to meet this nemesis often suffer prolonged pain before eventually succumbing and “giving up the breath” as death was described in ancient Egypt.

What could possibly be so terrible? In the year 2000, the leading preventable cause of death was tobacco. Only a few decades ago, doctors and priests would smoke during commercials and share their favorite brand of cigarette. Today, there is a stigma associated with smoking because we understand the link between tobacco and death. Unfortunately, there is a new competitor who is rapidly gaining ground. This competitor claimed thousands lives in the year 2000, and was the second leading preventable cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Who is this deadly threat to society?

Poor diet and lack of exercise

Surprised? Thousands of people die every day due to poor eating habits and lack of regular exercise. The death certificate won’t mention their favorite fast food combo meal or the fact that they would rather watch the latest golf tournament than take a stroll through the park. Instead, one of the many degenerative diseases that have been conclusively linked to nutrition and exercise will stake its claim over another life.

Society spends more time and energy worrying about violent threats than dealing with this leading cause of death. While the popularity of products and services designed to address the situation is growing – in fact, the health and wellness industry is en route to become the next trillion-dollar industry according to economist Paul Zane Pilzer – the rate of obesity, overweight, and conditions related to poor diet and lack of exercise such as type II “adult onset” diabetes is increasing. In fact, adult onset diabetes is now being diagnosed in enough children that most medical professionals simply refer to it as “type II.”

Perhaps one reason why this epidemic is so hard to combat is that people are focused on the solution as a product or service, rather than a process. To quit smoking, many people receive counseling, join groups or follow systems because it’s not as simple as tossing the last pack (the author is one of the fortunate few who was able to stop smoking “cold turkey” but found it far more difficult to overcome his poor eating habits). Overweight and obesity is a condition related to behavior and patterns that have taken years to create, so the notion that some magic product will suddenly undo the thousands of days of programming is absurd. Successful, permanent weight loss is a process, not an event.

During a recent seminar that I conduct, participants explored the concept of just how powerful the mind is and how this relates to losing fat. After a serious of powerful exercises, they were asked to create an action plan based on what they learned in order to successfully lose fat and keep it off. The result of this workshop was seven keys that addressed what most diet programs or weight loss systems do not: the fact that fitness starts inside.

Here, then, are seven keys to permanent weight loss success that start on the inside.

Key #1: Be Positive

You’ve probably heard this one before. It’s a popular cliché. In order for it to work, however, you have to move beyond a catchy statement and integrate this as part of your life. In order to truly “be positive” you must start with an understanding of the mind. Your reality is perception, and perception is influenced by your thoughts. Thoughts create reality. What you think about expands.

A good friend and client of mine was a pilot for many years. After the terrorist attacks on September 11th, he was out of work. He went through a period of extreme grief, pain, and anger. His health suffered. It wasn’t the money that struck such a powerful blow. It was something else, a mistake many people made.

You see, my friend’s reality could be summed up with this statement: “I am a pilot.”

Can you see the danger in this? He defined himself by what he did, not who he was. By losing his job, he lost his identity. In reality, he was there all along, but his ego kept getting in the way of finding his true self. He had to learn how to let go and be himself, and define who he was on his own merits, not by his actions, level of success, or how others perceive him.

Many people who are overweight create the same situation. Most will create the statement, “I am fat.” Of course, the desire to lose weight might exist, but if your definition of self-worth is based on the amount of fat you carry, what happens when it’s gone? If you’ve lived with “I am fat” for months or years, who do you expect to become when the fat is gone? This subconscious fear of losing your identity can sabotage your process.

What we think about expands. If you focus on the fat you carrying, or the difficulty you have losing weight, then expect more of it. Expect more fat, and expect a difficult time losing the fact. On the other hand, if you focus on releasing the fat, on your success and the process, then this is what you will receive more of. The fat won’t go away overnight. However, if you spend just one day eating healthy foods and exercising – even if it’s just taking a short walk – would you consider that to be an improvement? Could you call that a “healthy day” compared to your previous habits? What if you decided to be, “I am healthy,” and give the fat some time to let go?

Be positive means be realistic, and focus on the positive progress. Focus on abundance – get more of what you wish to receive, instead of thinking about what you don’t want.

Key #2: Forgive yourself

Forgive yourself already! ENOUGH!

You are only human. Whatever decisions, choices, or even mistakes resulted in your current position, get over them. Successful people recognize that in life, there are no mistakes or failures. There are simply undesired outcomes that offer a learning experience. Most people operate from the realm of “what if” and live either in the past or the future. You decide that past failures dooms you to repeat these mistakes in the future, or you struggle with the concept of “what if” and contemplate a future that is pure fiction. It doesn’t exist.

Get real. Live in the present. As long as you continue to dwell on your mistakes, you are simply creating elaborate excuses to share. You can continue to beat yourself up, or do something about it. So what if you were a binge eater? So what if you knew you were going to gain weight, but gave in anyway? Those were all choices that happened in the past. You are in the driver’s seat. You have a brain. You also have the power to control it. No matter how difficult it may seem, you can choose to be different. It only takes an instant to change your mindset. Dwelling on the past is only an excuse to delay the process.

The first step is to forgive yourself. Remember that forgiveness is not an event. It’s a process. It takes time. You’ve spent a long time telling yourself you are bad, lazy, fat, ugly, or other nasty things that just aren’t true. You can continue to do the same thing, or recognize that for things to change, you must change. One easy way to do this is to simply stand in front of the mirror several times per day, look yourself in the eye, and say out loud: “The more I love the way I am, the more I am the way I want to be.”

Does this feel silly to you? It’s not. That discomfort you have isn’t because you’re doing something stupid … it’s because you’re not comfortable with you. In fact, the more excuses you make to not do this exercise, the more reason you should. You’ll find that, over time, you will become more comfortable with who you are. Soon, you’ll look forward to greeting yourself. Eventually, you could even learn to love yourself again.

Key #3: Stop making excuses

If you’ve already talked yourself out of the exercise described in Key #2, then you need to read this and go back to it.

Do you feel that bulge in your pocket? No, not the one with your wallet or makeup kit tucked away. I’m talking about the one you carry around with you all of the time.

In a nutshell, everyone faces challenges. It is popular to define ourselves by comparing what we have with someone else, but in the end, you can’t please everyone. I’ve heard every excuse in the book.

“I’m too old.” I’ll show you an 80-year old bodybuilder.

“I just got out of heart surgery.” I’ll introduce you to a man who lost dozens of pounds after quadruple bypass surgery and improved his healthy tremendously.

“I’m too overweight and out of shape.” Listen to my interview with Rob “Former Fat Guy” Cooper who lost almost 400 pounds of fat.

“I’ve had too many children to get a flat stomach.” I’ll show you pictures of women with half a dozen kids who win trophies in figure and bodybuilding competitions.

“I work two jobs and go to night school.” I’ll share the story of a woman who was working full time, studying to become a fitness trainer, and teaching her husband how to walk and talk at the same time (he was recovering from brain surgery) while losing over 100 pounds.

The fact is there are always excuses. Instead of wasting your time and energy finding one that sounds good, why not just admit you’re not up for the challenge? Ultimately, you must make the decision to change. If you’re not ready, then just admit it. Stop feeding us the sad drama and save it for someone else. Find someone else who wallows in their excuses and you can have a grand time exchanging all of the reasons why you’re not going to change. The rest of us, we’ve got a different plan. You see, we all carry the same victim cards, but we’re not going to play them. Instead, we’re going to stop being a victim and get on with the business of doing what we set out to do.

Part 2 of Jeremy's 7 Keys to Permanent Weight Loss Success is found here.

Author Tom Venuto - Fitness Renaissance

Tom Venuto is a bodybuilder, gym owner, freelance writer, success coach and author of "Burn the Fat, Feed The Muscle" (BFFM): Fat Burning Secrets of the World's Best Bodybuilders and Fitness Models. Tom has written over 150 articles and has been featured in IRONMAN magazine, Natural Bodybuilding, Muscular Development, Muscle-Zine, Exercise for Men and Men’s Exercise. Tom's inspiring and informative articles on bodybuilding, weight loss and motivation are featured regularly on dozens of websites worldwide. For information on Tom's "Burn The Fat" e-book, click here.

The mission of Team Beachbody is to motivate you and to educate you about health, fitness and nutrition and the benefits of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
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