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Weight Loss Dos and Don’ts

I get it. You're tired of hearing it. You've grown cynical. Endless failed attempts to lose weight, late night infomercials hawking this product or that diet. Empty promises that if only you'll buy their miracle solution you'll be gorgeous, sexy and fantastic and never have another problem in your life.

So let's do this. Forget all that. Start here: Is your body fatter than you want it to be? No? Bye bye then. No help needed from me. There. Wasn't that easy? If the answer is "yes", however, then the last thing you need to hear is sensational, confusing nonsense.

You need simplicity, clarity, and words that have the ring of truth. And that's exactly what I have for you. So read on! Here are ten simple dos and don'ts to get you off on the right foot:

Don’t get discouraged that you haven’t succeeded yet. You simply haven’t found the right plan and followed it consistently for the time it’s going to take to get to your ideal achievable body composition.

Do be honest with yourself about the level of commitment and time you’re willing to put into the effort.

Don’t be fooled by flashy quick-fix approaches. They’ll lighten your wallet but ultimately put more inches on your waistline.

Do make sure you understand how you accumulated the excess fat you now carry in the first place. Fixing the root cause so you can keep the fat off after you lose it is more important than losing it initially.

Don’t tie your efforts and motivation to a person, event or reward of some kind. You have to be up for a permanent change in mindset that redefines your relationship with your body. Anything less is a trip up or down (probably both) with the yo-yo.

Do watch for patterns of self-sabotage. Self-esteem issues usually play into excess weight unless you’re happy at the heavier body weight. If you wouldn’t let a friend down who asked you for help or you’d be upset if your friend let you down, why don’t you give yourself the same respect and loyalty?

Don’t get enamored with complicated philosophy and doctrine. This is not a college term paper or a fascinating summer read. There are a few basics you need to know that make good sense, then the rest is about fine-tuning for yourself through practical application. If you needed me to drive you to LA this weekend, would it be helpful to you if I spent the weekend telling you all about my car?

Do embrace your fluctuating commitment by putting aside judgment and renewing it when, and as often as you feel positive and constructive about your effort. A life-long sense of optimism and compassion towards your crooked path is the best source of renewed motivation when you’re ready to finally make it a priority.

Don’t adopt a rigid, restrictive, radical approach to exercise, eating or both. You’ll feel terrible and put yourself in a worse new starting position to get to your end goal.

Do get guidance from someone who has expertise, a track record of success and is singularly dedicated to helping you to not just lose the weight but learn how to do it independent of them for the rest of your life. I wouldn’t represent myself in a lawsuit or treat my own broken arm. Why do you think you should be able to figure this out for yourself?

Dan Taylor, ACE, NASM-CPT, is owner and head trainer at Pleasanton-based Tri Valley Trainer. They offer personal training and small group fitness solutions and an innovative, medically endorsed web-based group healthy eating coaching program.

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