diets.jpgA recent study published in the February 26, 2009, issue of The New England Journal of Medicine looked at four common diets and found that weight loss was pretty much the same: two years, average loss 9 pounds.

“’What matters most is your level of motivation and your willingness to change,’ said Kelly D. Brownell, psychologist and director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale.” (New York Times, July 4, 2009, “For a Frugal Dieter, Weight Loss on a Sliding Scale.”)

If you are a bit short in the motivation department, here is a sliding dollar scale to help you buy a bit of pump priming in the habit-changing department:

– $0 Do it yourself: eat less, exercise more

– $ Buy a guide book: $20 or so gets you “The Best Life Diet” or “The Step Diet” or “The Volumetric Weight Control Plan” or “The South Beach Diet”

– $$ Try a formal group (Weight Watchers or Jenny Crag provide support, education, and peer pressure)

– $$$ Enroll in a hospital program

Make no mistake: If you want to lose weight AND keep it off, you MUST CHANGE YOUR LIFE-LONG EATING HABITS. If you don’t permanently change the way you eat, if you do not make a fundamental shift in your relationship with food, with how you approach eating, odds are you will regain any weight you have lost on a diet.

A diet can help you lose weight, it is a foundational change in your eating habits that keeps the weight off. And if you really, really want to keep the weight off (and live a long, healthy life) you will find a fun, interesting way to exercise 30 to 45 minutes, three to five times a week.

Three principles of change:

– Motivation matters most. “Where there is a will, there is a way.”

– The willingness to go outside yourself, to ask for help, to find the push you need to move forward. So go find support, find a source for the emotional will to team up with your mental will, an antidote for “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” syndrome. You are not alone!

– The realization that true change requires a life-long commitment.

These three principles apply pretty much across the board to anything new you wish to create in your life. When you are ready to create that change, remember the importance of finding a way to tap into a strong source of continuing motivation.

The quotation, “So easy when I want to, so hard when I don’t,” is true. The “smart key” is first to find a way to create and sustain a “want to.” Do that and you’ve made a huge step toward your goal.