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It may sound crazy to start a weight loss program in October for the next year, but hear me out.

Think about what happens every year around Jan. 1: New Year’s resolutions. And this leads to a trillion ads on TV, radio, billboards, websites and social medial about weight loss. Right?

By then everyone you know has gorged themselves for the past three months and is then fervently searching for a magic answer to the extra weight they have added. People are willing to spend thousands of dollars for a weight loss program — as long as they can lose 50 pounds in 30 days.

I’m not going to spend much time in this article discussing that rapid weight loss is simply a combination of emptying the digestive tract and dehydration. This doesn’t really help you lose the fat you have accumulated. Deep down, most people actually know that and the ones that don’t know it already will not believe me anyway.

Most readers realize that the “weight” they really want to get rid of is accumulated excess fat. That change takes time. Any “weight” lost quickly is usually simply the result of emptying the digestive tract and excreting more water, both of which are temporary. This cruel little trick sells billions of dollars worth of ineffective weight loss programs each year.

A decade ago, I researched weight loss extensively in preparation to offer a weight loss solution for our patients. We offered a successful weight loss program in our office for a number of years and many patients lost body fat in a very healthy, sensible way. What I learned during that time surprised me with the simplicity of successful fat loss. I also learned a lot about human psychology that makes the problem much more complex than it has to be. 

Some people including many healthcare providers tend to overgeneralize weight loss and conclude it is simply a math problem. More calories in adds weight — restrict calories and lose weight. Or they may add exercise by saying use more calories through activity and lose more weight.

In theory, this works. And for most people it really can be this simple. Eat fewer calories consistently for several months — lose fat.   Although this approach doesn’t work well for everyone due to a wide range of possible atypical metabolic conditions, it is the simplest approach for most people and is worth trying for most readers.

There are the three clues you need to consider in order to be successful in losing accumulated fat now instead of trying so desperately in January and falling prey to over-hyped, exorbitantly priced weight loss plans.

1. The real goal is “fat loss.”  Rapid weight loss is never actual fat loss. It just isn’t. And it is unhealthy.  Don’t do it. You will make your situation worse.

2. Most people can succeed in losing accumulated fat slowly over time by simply being truly diligent about significantly and persistently restricting the calorie intake for a period of several months.

3. One important key is being very intentional about literally everything you choose to put in your mouth. Everything. All day. Every day. Make intentional choices. Don’t accidentally eat anything. Every time you make a decision to snack or overeat, you are deciding that the instant gratification from that moment is more important to you than accomplishing your intended goal of shedding fat.  (“Overeating” is eating the amount of food you are eating right now. In order to lose fat, you will need to actually eat fewer calories and make better choices with each meal.)

The reason today is the best day to start this realistic and typically successful approach to fat loss is that if you don’t, you are likely to actually gain weight during the next three months.

So, the choice is yours. Choose to be a healthy, self-determined person making wise decisions every day about the food you consume for the next few months or follow the crowd, snacking incessantly and gorging on unhealthy portions of holiday and cold-weather offerings and wait for the New Year’s weight loss ads.

Dr. Mark Kestner is a licensed chiropractic physician in Murfreesboro. His office is at 1435 NW Broad St. Contact him at mkestner@DrKestner.com

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