1. The Cheat Day

For years, I was lulled into the moderation trap, a bedrock of nutrition advice that works flawlessly for some women but is a disaster for others. Supposedly, as long as I limited myself to a few bites here or there, I could eat onion rings, rice and chocolate cake—anything, really—and not gain weight. Trouble is, I never ate just a few bites. A couple chips led to the whole bag, and, before long, I was out of control again. Ditto for the oft-advised "cheat day." For me, rewarding healthy eating with unhealthy foods was akin to an alcoholic celebrating a month of sobriety with a beer. It didn't work. When it comes to eating, I was not blessed with the moderation gene. Once I stopped struggling with moderation, my life got a whole lot easier.

2. The 7-Day Fix

I don't have enough fingers or toes to count the number of quick fix and fad diets I've tried, but they all failed me. Overweight people need hope—I get that—and you can't walk past any newsstand without seeing a magazine promote one gimmick or another. TV shows promote miracles, too. The truth is, that many of them do work; you will lose some weight—but only if you follow them to the letter (which, from my experience, is often hugely difficult) and accept that you may not lose that much weight (the timeframes could be ludicrously short). Not to mention, the diets are often unsustainable or unhealthy over longer periods. I realized that I could no longer try to lose 10 lbs. in time for that wedding, which, oh-by-the-way is this Saturday. By giving myself the luxury of time—and not putting an end date on my efforts—I was able to make big progress.

3. The Blame Game

As a child, food was comfort, and my obesity just was. But as I got older, I played the blame game: My mother filled the house with cookies and junk food. Fast-food restaurants had fatty cheeseburgers. I had fat genes that had been passed down to me. The idea that someone (not me) was to blame for my mess was front and center in my mind. But I came to understand that assigning blame serves no purpose. No one decides what I eat except me. I now own my choices. So, if you've struggled and failed to eat healthier, ask yourself: Where did you go wrong, how can you be fully accountable and what specifics steps can you take to solve your dilemma? That's far more empowering and leads to pretty powerful results.

The Shift Good Morning America contributor Tory Johnson is the author of The Shift: How I Finally Lost Weight and Discovered a Happier Life (Hachette).


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