With the vast fitness marketplace of workout gadgets, supplements, fad diets, and celebrity fitness endorsements, how is it possible that over 125 million Americans are overweight according to CDC Body Mass Index studies, and over 60 million of them are in the obese category? There’s little argument that we are squarely in the midst of an obesity epidemic. It’s a problem that kills over 300,000 annually and costs over 100 Billion according to the American Obesity Association. So what are we doing about it? Where are the Virtual Magician Hire fitness pills? How come the things we are doing are not working?

The sad fact is that most people are doing nothing about it. And a large percentage of the ones you think are doing something about it are just fattening their own pockets while taunting you with hopes of a slimmer you. They promise magic fitness pills but can’t deliver. Without some serious help, the only part of you likely to get thinner is your wallet.

Here’s my advice: forget fad diets, dump the ridiculous workout gadgets, turn off the TV, and flush those dangerous weight loss supplements right down the toilet. Stop looking for quick fixes to your health and make up your mind to take immediate action. No, you can’t have one more donut and start your healthier lifestyle tomorrow. It needs to be right now. Ok, maybe you can wait until you finish reading this article. But as soon as you’re done, you need a plan of action to get in shape and stay in shape, and you need to take at least one step on that plan without delay.

So why aren’t the popular fitness approaches working? Have you noticed that joining a gym and not actually going doesn’t contribute to a healthier lifestyle? Sure, having the fancy card dangling from your keychain looks cool, but, believe it or not, that card does not reduce your risk for heart disease, diabetes, or other illnesses that exercise may help prevent. You may think there’s some complex physiological reason why your body is keeping fat stores, and that it’d probably take a medical doctor to understand the real science behind it. Let me open your eyes and show you how remarkably simple it really is.

Here are my top three questions about fitness and some answers:

1. How do I lose weight? (No matter what I do, it seems like I can’t ever lose weight.)

First of all, let’s address the specific statement of “losing weight” and society’s obsession with scales. To say you want to lose weight indicates you might want to find it again someday. Perhaps it’s in the cupboard next to the Oreo cookies. From a psychological standpoint, the perception is that losing weight is a temporary condition instead of a permanent lifestyle change. And seriously, does it really matter what you weigh? In the extreme cases one could argue that your joints aren’t able to support excessive weight, but keep in mind that muscle is more dense and therefore heavier than fat. So if you commence a program to build muscle and lose fat, some people may gain weight at various points in their training program. Still, their body fat will decrease, they will look much leaner, and they will be healthier. Unless you’re a fighter who has to stay within a weight class or you’re at the “Guess My Weight” booth at your local carnival, weight really doesn’t matter to anyone but you.

You wanted unadulterated science, so here it comes. If you are a human being, and I hope you are if you’re reading this, you will decrease body fat if, over time, your body expends more calories than you take in. This is undisputed scientific fact. Clearly there’s a lot more to developing a complete nutritional plan than just counting calories, but this is the first step in understanding. Incidentally, if you’re that obsessed with losing weight you could also opt to move to the moon, where you’d instantly lose 5/6ths of your body weight. It’s an option if you have the budget. Russia is charging about $100 million for the airfare.

2. Why isn’t my diet working?

Merriam Webster defines the term diet in this context as, “a regimen of eating and drinking sparingly so as to reduce one’s weight.” The problem with most any regimen one would term a diet is that it’s simply not maintainable. Virtually any diet, regardless of how healthy or unhealthy it is, will cause a person to lose weight IF they stick to it. But as soon as they stray or give up, the weight comes back. Abandon the term diet forever, and change your lifestyle. This means developing entirely new eating habits that you can and will maintain for a life time. Moderation is the key, not total abstinence. Abstinence leads to cheating, which defeats the purpose. A nutritionist or registered dietician should be the person

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