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Which Exit Leads To Weight-Loss Success?

Your guess is as good as mine! Every month, there's another diet/fitness book touting 'breakthrough' advances promising the Golden Key to the City of Fit Forever! Here are a few teasers that you may have seen and I'll break them down for you:

The 'Flat Belly Yoga, No-Crunch Workout'

Promises to deliver a sexy belly in just weeks (er, how many?) without doing a single sit up. Of course, you will have to do other work, but none of the annoying crunch kind. It requires a mat, a minimum of 15 minutes per session and a DVD player so you can insert the DVD you must BUY in order to follow along.

Pros: Improves posture, body awareness, can relieve arthritic pain, improves flexibility, over-all tone.

Cons: You have to get up and move. You will have to make changes to your diet and then you will have to stick to your diet.

Or, alternatively-you can just do like this guy did (yes, I mean the one on the right). But, I don't think hottie on the left did the no-crunch yoga approach.

The 'Walk Yourself Slim'

This is basically a 96-page journal to track what you already know how to do. While it promises to blast fat off your belly, butt and thighs-in as little as a month-this does not come without some caveats (see Cons below) and of course, you will have to BUY the guide to make sure you are doing the walking program properly (isn't it just put one foot in front of the other and repeat?).

Pros: Can help strengthen your heart, if you move fast enough, can lower the risk of certain diseases (high blood pressure, diabetes and certain cancers though I believe this is due to the changes in your diet they assume you will make to coincide with your new exercise program), can help tone and lose weight, improves mood.

Cons: To get the benefits above, you will have to get up and move quickly to experience an appreciable calorie burn; it neglects upper body and there's a reduced after-burn effect when compared to say, circuit training. And-you will have to make changes to your diet and then you will have to stick to your diet. Otherwise, you end up like the little guy below, moving your feet but not really getting anywhere because all that work (seems strange to have walking and work in the same paragraph...) means nothing if you open your mouth and put the same stuff in it. And, you have to buy a guide for walking?!

The 'Get Fit in Ten'

Pretty self-explanatory-if you have 10 minutes, follow this simple routine designed to be done anytime (anytime you have 10 extra minutes) and almost anywhere (anywhere there's a DVD player because of course you must BUY the DVD that shows you what to do) and you will be rewarded with "...absolutely amazing results." (Yes, their exact words)

Pros: Just 10 minutes-who doesn't have that! Can help strengthen the immune system (yeah, in our lookist-oriented society, I'm sure that's your #1 goal when choosing a weight-loss program, LOL), burn extra calories and improve your mood.

Cons: The reality is this: Ten minutes is designed for the person who insists they don't have time to workout. It is hoped that you will continue with the 10-minute program long enough to be motivated to go beyond that limit to realize the best results. Also, if you believe you really don't have time to exercise, the chances that you will stick with a 10-minute plan are slim because the reality is that you probably just don't want to exercise. And, you will have to make changes to your diet. Then you must stick to that diet. That being said, I am a huge fan of starting with small steps as long as they keep you on the journey. Remember-the Chinese philosopher, Laozi, in all his wisdom- "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."

While this one doesn't have anything to do with exercise, it is one of my faves:

The #1 Thing You Can Do To Lose Weight

Avoid dining out. I love simple. Most of us recognize that dining out is not a nutritionally sound idea-there's excess portion size, excess sodium, excess calories. And, having been a cook myself in a couple of restaurants, what goes on behind the scenes can be scary. All the jokes about pissing off a waiter leading to unknown atrocities ending up in your food? Not so far-fetched and no, I never did this but I did witness it. Lost a position after calling one of the cooks on it.

Pros: You have control over everything that goes into your meal.

Cons: You will need to make the time for preparing meals. You may have to learn to cook. You will have clean-up. You will still have to regulate portion and ingredients. You will have to make changes to your diet and then you will have to stick to those changes.

I was reminded of a trip to California a couple years back, where the restaurant industry is required to post nutritional info for each item on the menu. What a serious eye-opener. Went into an IHOP, hoping to have a short-stack of whole wheat pancakes and even though I wasn't really watching my weight, the posted calorie content made me change my mind. Couldn't find any pancake offering under 1,100 calories! I ended up eating oatmeal and this was from a package I brought along from the hotel. No wonder the General Public is so confused about which way to turn for help-marketers have us believing the answer lies outside ourselves and can only be had for a price. We have already paid the price: lack of belief that we can do it on our own and that we already possess that which we need to succeed.

Bottom line: you must change yourself and your habits and that is as simple as it gets. Don't be fooled into thinking there is one right way to reach your goals, or that there is a quick-fix. We're talking about lifetime success and eliminating diets. Practice patience and creating new habits while becoming the person you want to be-the one that isn't controlled by food and preoccupation with your weight. You CAN become the person who is able to maintain a healthy weight for life. Releasing yourself from the bonds of cravings is hard work but you can do it. Don't get caught up in berating yourself over past failures and try to recognize that most of your cravings have come about by the evil food industry that puts sugar in practically everything-sugar, a highly addictive substance that has turned you into an addict practically without your knowledge. Seeing this helped me say "No more." It's not easy to fight addiction but an addiction placed on you without complete knowledge is just cruel. While this also will take work to overcome, and work you must stick to, you are worth it! It won't be easy-if it were, everyone would be in perfect health and awesome shape and that's why those that are stand out and inspire us. Take back your health, starting with what's inside and the desire to become the best you can be!

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