Different methods work for different people. But there are certain actions common to almost every person who achieves weight loss goals. These steps work because they have to do with lifestyle and programming, not unreliable willpower.

Clean up your environment.
Think about it: If you go through your house and remove everything that is counterproductive to the program—such as impulse foods, prepackaged foods, snacks high in sugar or fat—you'll be less prone to eat those foods. You're more likely to eat a cookie at 11 p.m. if it's sitting on your kitchen counter than if you first have to get dressed and drive to the store to buy that cookie. It's a simple environmental control, but it makes a huge difference. You can also make superficial changes to remind yourself that it's not too late to start again—rearranging your furniture, getting a new haircut, or waking up at a different time. While these actions seem to have nothing to do with weight management, they can help you feel different and reinforce that it's a new day.

Move it to lose it.
Exercise is crucial. You can't lose weight and keep it off without awakening your body and your metabolism. If you get off the couch with some regularity and increase your energy output, you will dramatically alter your body's efficiency.

Timing is everything.
Most people who slip up while trying to lose weight do it during a narrow window of time and place. Audit your day and determine when you tend to make the most destructive eating decisions. Arrange to do something else during that time, something incompatible with eating. If you usually snack in the kitchen when you get home from work, come in a different door, take a shower first, or, better yet, use that time to exercise.

Mix it up.
The problems with diets are too numerous to list here, but certainly one of them is the tendency for people to rebel against a plan that's too restrictive. You don't need to give up ice cream forever, run from carbohydrates, or count every calorie. Instead eat a variety of healthy foods—fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, good fats, and, yes, some starches—in manageable portions. It's about being flexible, creating a plan that works with your life, and practicing moderation across the board.

Don't go it alone.
If you want to lose weight and keep it off, you need the people in your life to be supportive. Educate your loved ones about the changes you are making, what your needs are, and how family and friends can help. Break free from those who weigh you down (pun intended). And don't be afraid to make new friends—people with similar values who don't feel threatened by your changes and won't urge you to eat.

Of course, there will be hard times when you make the wrong choices or when you're stuck in a rut. You need to behave your way to success. I knew I was undertaking a major task when I said that I wanted to start a movement in America, but I am seeing it happen. Millions are turning away from misleading diets, learning to get real about why they eat what they eat, and changing their lifestyles. I hope you are among them—starting now.


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