I love to eat. For years, I thought that was the reason I had my weight problem. As a kid, the so-called experts told me I’d have to deny that part of myself to succeed —I’d need to stop enjoying myself and get used to doing what I hated. To solve my weight problem, they said I’d have to make myself stick to hateful diets and exercise routines. I tried, but I just couldn’t do it, and I always thought of myself as a weak-willed failure. But it turns out the so-called experts were wrong. They didn’t know what they were talking about. To succeed, I needed to get better at enjoying myself. I have, and as a result, I’ve solved my lifetime obesity problem, and I’m getting more enjoyment from eating and from my life as a whole. Today, I’m helping others do the same thing, and if you want to lose weight permanently and make your life more enjoyable, keep reading.

We are hard-wired to seek pleasure and shun unpleasant things. As a student in the sciences that prepared me as an expert in behavioral medicine, I learned a law, often overlooked, that you must respect if you want to make permanent changes in your habits. It is this: A behavior that is rewarded will be repeated. If you ignore this or try to thwart it, you will fail, as surely as if you tried to ignore the law of gravity. You have as much chance of sticking to an unpleasant diet or exercise plan as you have of floating across the Grand Canyon by using will power. It won’t be long before you crash.

Behavioral science also teaches us how to kill a behavior or habit: make it unpleasant (they call this punishment). In other words, when the so-called experts were forcing me to exercise in ways I hated, and follow diets I didn’t like, they were training me to avoid the things that will make a person fit and healthy! Then, after I’d had enough of the punishment, I’d eat things that were good, overeat them actually, which was very pleasurable, and I got trained to be a habitual and compulsive overeater, a food addict!

Yep, you’re right. The phys-ed teachers and dietitians did a harmful thing to me as a kid, and I went from being an average “chunky” kid to being obese, a chronically miserable overweight yo-yo dieter, and a seemingly hopeless case as an obese adult. However, by the grace of God and/or good fortune, I found myself later in life studying psychology, habituation, addiction, and behavioral medicine, and I discovered how to solve the problem, something unknown to all those experts. Today, I’m fit and happy, and I love showing others the way.

Remember this: you will get nowhere trying to make yourself do things you hate to do. You will fail if you try to give up everything you like. You cannot forever thwart your God-given tendency to do what feels good and quit the things you hate. To succeed in permanently changing your habits and yourself, to solve your weight problem once and for all, you must find ways to enjoy what you like in ways that make you fit instead of fat. Believe me, there is a way. I train people everyday how to do this. Truly, you will succeed by getting better at enjoying the food you like to eat. We always find a way. And with the right methods and work, we make it habitual. If you love to eat, success will come by getting better at it.

To succeed in developing an exercise routine, you must find something you can live with and eliminate every unpleasant, painful or humiliating aspect of it. You must build into it every pleasant and fun thing you can possibly imagine. If the health club leaves you cold, keep looking for one that’s warm and friendly. If the personal trainer is disrespectful or unsympathetic, fire her or him, and find one who is kind and inspiring. If something hurts, stop it and do something else. Go slow and don’t overdo it. Get a new outfit that is comfortable and bright. Listen to great music, or play a great video. If you start something, and find that a few weeks later, you’ve quit, analyze what was punishing about it and what was rewarding. Accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative, and then try again.

Years ago, I was over 300 lbs, and I was always either miserable and dieting, or miserable and gaining. Today, and for the last twenty-five years, I’ve been right around 180 lbs., just where I want to be, and I love my life. I eat everything I like —Italian, Mexican, steak, potatoes, desserts. I go to parties and have drinks, and go out to dinner at great restaurants. I deny myself nothing that’s really good to eat. There is a way. I train people in it every day. To be sure, there are big changes that have to be made, and there is work, but it is doable.

You don’t have to accept defeat and obesity, misery and early death. You can change things and make your life better. You can be happy. And you do it by making your life more enjoyable, not less. Make the decision to follow me and get better at enjoying life. I’m happy, I still love to eat, but now I’m at a great weight and I’m healthy too. Follow my lead, and you can make these changes too.

Author's Bio: 

William Anderson, MA, LMHC, is a licensed psychotherapist residing in Sarasota, Florida, specializing in weight control. He is the author of the revolutionary new weight loss self-help book, The Anderson Method (Two Harbors Press, 2009, $14.95), and he is training a growing network of licensed therapists in his successful weight loss program. Anderson developed his approach when, as a behavior therapist, he permanently lost 140 pounds over 20 years ago after 25 years of diet and exercise failure. More information can be obtained at http://www.TheAndersonMethod.com