New Year’s weight loss requires goals and a plan

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, January 7, 2016

It’s that time of year again. Time to celebrate a new year. Folks have practiced this for thousands of years. For the western world, it started back in Roman times. In fact the word January was actually derived from the word Janus. Janus was the Roman god of beginnings and endings.

Every January, millions vow to finally lose weight and get in shape. Although this custom is nothing new, most people don’t succeed to the degree they’d like, because they don’t have the proper plan. As the old adage goes, “People don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan.”

I’m going to help you with that. The first thing to remember is that you can succeed. I’ve had clients lose 50, 65, 72, and even 108 pounds. However, we came up with the proper fitness/diet strategy.

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When clients first come to me, I require they keep a food journal. Even before they start recording their eating habits, I tell them that in the front of their journal I want them to write an entire page of what it will cost them in the near and distant future in terms of health, money, relationships, self esteem and anything else they can think of if they do not make the health and fitness changes to their bodies.

I tell them this is the only time I want them to feel bad, but I really want them to get those feelings. This is crucial.

Next, I want them to get out of that bad emotional state completely, and write an entire page of what they will gain in those same areas of their life if they make those health and fitness changes. This method is often referred to as “the carrot and the stick.”

Remember, everything we do in life, we do for only one of two reasons: to either gain pleasure or avoid pain. Here’s the thing though. Most people will do much more to avoid pain than they’ll do to gain pleasure. When someone smokes, for example, they choose to focus on the pleasure they get from that cigarette. If they focused on the pain that might come later, they would probably never smoke.

So, by writing these two pages on pain and pleasure, individuals get clear in their minds why they need to make changes and get in shape.

Remember the “why” is much more important than the “how.” If you get a big enough reason to do something, you can usually figure out the “how,” and follow through.

In this article I’ve described why it’s important to have clear strategies for getting fit, losing fat and making the changes you’ve really wanted and needed to your body.

In my next column I’m going to show you how to get started.

Diet or exercise question? Email me at David Crocker of Landrum has been a nutritionist and master personal trainer for 29 years. He served as strength director of the Spartanburg Y.M.C.A., head strength coach for the USC Spartanburg baseball team, SC state champion girls gymnastic team, and the Converse College equestrian team. He served as a water safety instructor to the United States Marine Corps, lead trainer to L.H. Fields modeling agency, and taught for four semesters at USC Union. David was also a regular guest of the Pam Stone radio show.