09/17/2014 05:46 EDT | Updated 06/16/2017 00:54 EDT

Losing Weight Is as Easy as 1-2-3? Nope

fresh apple and dumbbells tied...

There's another video going around telling us that abstaining from five specific foods will get us thin and keep us thin.

If you lose excess fat -- and keep it off -- after someone tells you what not to eat, you didn't have a weight problem, you had an information problem.

Those of us who have a real problem with weight, compulsive overeating, and/or food addiction have been trapped in the loss/gain cycle for years, despite knowing exactly how to eat well and what the weekly recommendations for exercise are. So why do we still have a weight problem? We still have weight problems because our struggle has nothing to do with a lack of solid nutritional or exercise-related information. The problem is our apparent inability to be consistent with the choices we make in the service of our health. We know what to do. We know what "Five Foods To Never Eat," we just can't seem to do it. Period. And it drives many of us crazy.


The author, 307lbs in 1998, imagining a diet will be the solution

Of course we get sucked in when the pretty nutritionist tells us that losing the weight is as simple as 1-2-3! Optimistic, we watch her video. We share it with friends. We let ourselves imagine that she really has the solution to this thing that's haunted us since we began forming memories, something that's brought us pain, misery, embarrassment, shame, heartbreak, and frustration.

Inside us a small voice asks "If it's as easy as she says, why can't I lose weight? What's wrong with me?" By then end of the video we're thinking "Well, maybe this time will be different. I'll start tomorrow. In the meantime, I deserve one last hurrah." And of course tomorrow comes and goes, and nothing changes but the start date,

That peppy little video -- and every message like it -- is useless to most of us with serious weight and food issues. If anything, watching them makes us gain more weight. And that will continue to happen, unless, and until we recognize and deal with the real problems: Self-sabotage. Loss of motivation. Indifference. Self-consciousness. Shame.


The author in 2014. Can you see the rage? It's in there -- trust me.

It's almost never simple as 1-2-3 for people like me. If it was, we'd all have gotten thin long ago (at the latest, shortly after this nutritionist first spelled out her revolutionary "Five Foods" solution), and we'd all have stayed that way. But despite what we want to believe, we know that being told what or how to eat isn't the solution. Being told what and how to eat does not help us lose weight and keep it off. It just doesn't work. Period.

Until people like us address the roots of our weight and food issues, all the best nutritional and exercise-related information in the world is, and will always be, essentially useless. Because until we learn to disempower the thing that keeps making us sabotage our efforts to get healthier, nothing, absolutely nothing, is going to work long term -- even if it's really terrific, scientifically sound advice.

Until we learn to address the root cause of our inability to stay committed to the choices we make in service to our health, all our efforts to change will make the problem worse.

Learn from someone who's been where you are, gotten where you want to be, and stayed there for over 10 years. I teach BS-free solutions and strategies in my Pleasure Principles course, which begins in October. Later, once you have the tools you need to become consistent with the choices you make in the service of your health, then, by all means, sign up to work with whatever peppy nutritionist catches your eye.