I Failed So Many Times

Fail. Fail. Fail. That’s how I always felt when I weighed 300 pounds and had failed to achieve any weight loss during the holiday season. January would roll around on the calendar and I’d stand dejectedly on the scale. Instead of losing a few pounds like I had hoped, I usually gained about 10 pounds between November and January.

Fail. Fail. Fail. That’s how I always felt when I weighed 300 pounds and had failed to achieve any weight loss during the holiday season. January would roll around on the calendar and I’d stand dejectedly on the scale. Instead of losing a few pounds like I had hoped, I usually gained about 10 pounds between November and January.


Like many of you, I’d try again in January to gain some semblance of control over my weight and my life – and for 10 years I failed. I’d join my reputable weight-loss center just down the road from my house. I’d take all the little booklets they gave me, certain that this time would be the time I’d get it right.



Unfortunately, the month of the year didn’t matter to me. January or June – it didn’t seem to make a difference in my success. In fact, when I started losing weight successfully, it was in the spring!


The nice thing about starting afresh in January is that everything is new; there’s new year to write on your checks, brand new calendars, new fashions and oftentimes, new snow on the ground.


As you contemplate your weight loss and life goals for the upcoming year, I’d encourage you to think in terms of success and not failure.

Here are some ways I stopped making goals that were so difficult there was no way I could possible achieve them:

  1. I avoided setting number goals. No longer did I say, “I’m going to lose 10 pounds a month.” Instead, I told myself I was going to make good choices as many times during the day as possible. I let the scale move downward on my body’s own schedule – not according to a date on the calendar.
  2. I set life goals as well as weight goals. I chose several areas to focus on, such as friend and family relationships, house projects and career aspirations.
  3. I set goals realistic to my current level of fitness. Of course I wanted to run a marathon, but at 300 pounds, that wasn’t going to happen. What could happen was that I could be active for 10 to 15 minutes a day instead of sitting on the couch.

I’d encourage you to look at this time in your life as an opportunity to set realistic life and weight goals regardless of whether November and December were successes or failures in terms of weight. Get out your brand new journal, or open a file on your computer entitled “Success Goals.” Make a short list of attainable goals for yourself and read your list each day until they become part of your life.

What's Really Causing Your Obesity: Nature or Nurture?

It's more complex than too many calories and not enough physical activity.

The American Medical Association officially recognized obesity as a disease in 2013. But in the past 13 years, there's not been much of a shift in the understanding of what causes obesity — not in the general public, in people who contend with the condition or in the practice of medicine. Most people still think of obesity as a character flaw caused by too many calories and not enough physical activity. But it's much more complex than that.

A study analyzing National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data found that even though US adults' BMI increased between 1988 and 2006, the amount of calories adults consumed and the energy they expended were unchanged. It also appears that the quality of calories consumed (low versus high glycemic index) is as important a consideration as the total quantity. And genetics only explains about 2.7% variation in people's weight, according to a study in Nature. That all adds up to this: The two most common explanations for obesity — calories in, calories out and family history — cannot, by themselves, explain the current epidemic.

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