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The no B.S. tips for successful weight loss

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At the start of the New Year, millions of people across the United States will make weight loss a big part of their resolution. Diet books, fad exercise equipment, outrageous marketing claims and extreme weight loss practices will dominate the first three months of 2018. Around March the spark of the New Year starts to fade and gym membership begins to drop off.  This is the time people start to realize once again that when it comes to weight loss, magic doesn’t exist.

There is no magic cure for weight loss but there are proven practices that lead to successful weight loss and the ability to maintain the weight you lose. To successfully lose weight and maintain your weight loss you need to understand three things and how they impact your efforts: personal history, stress management and lifestyle.

Since this column is titled “The no B.S. tips for successful weight loss”, we’ll cut through the manure and give you information you can use.


The first step to succeed at weight loss is getting a clear understanding of your weight loss history.  If life is a journey then your weight loss is a part of that journey.  Make sure your desire to lose weight is reflected in your life history. If not, evaluate the strength of your desire to lose weight. Is it 5 out of 10, or 10 out of 10?

We need to factor in that not everyone who claims to want to lose weight is willing to do what is required to succeed.  You need to know if you are this person.  The next thing we need to do is clear away the myth that people cannot lose weight.  Sluggish weight loss is not the same as the inability to lose weight. Every person that starts a diet will lose weight 100% of the time, even if the weight loss is less than desired.

The real challenge people have is maintaining their weight loss, not losing the weight. Anyone that has lost weight before already knows this to be true. If I could encourage another point of view to assist your efforts I suggest the following example.  Let’s say your weight loss average is conservatively 2-3 pounds a month but you worked to maintain this consistency. At the end of one year you would lose 24 to 36 pounds, or 48 to 72 pounds in two years if you needed to lose that much.  Like a great relationship that needs to grow, successful weight loss and management requires discipline. Discipline is the bridge between thought and accomplishment.


Cortisol is the hidden enemy to every successful weight loss attempt, and like the weeds in your garden, you must always work to keep cortisol levels under control, both for health and weight loss. What is cortisol? Cortisol, often referred to as the “stress hormone” is a master hormone that affects the production and function of other hormones in the body. Within the circadian rhythm (the body’s natural clock) the peak time for cortisol production is between 6 am and 8 am.

If the cortisol levels are elevated after this time the other hormones in the body are compromised and don’t work as efficiently as they should. A perfect example is the individual who is chronically stressed about losing weight. Because the cortisol levels are elevated the person’s metabolism does not operate at peak efficiency so the ability to lose weight will be severely hindered no matter how calorie restricted the diet is or how much you exercise. In fact, a calorie-restricted diet that is not followed by medical professionals is one of the fastest ways to raise your cortisol levels and knock your diet plans in the dirt.

There are two more examples related to cortisol I need to mention.  The first is workplace stress.  If you are not able to change your career or your current state of employment then do everything in your power to improve your working relationships. Most situations that involve chronic stress involve people, so if you can improve your relationships at work by addressing issues head on, getting a mediator or simply standing up to the bully or injustice it will make you feel better and decrease your stress.

The second example relates to our current relationship or significant other.  In working with couples I am quick to point out that I am not in the business of facilitating break-ups or divorce, but I do point out that in our one life to live, everyone has the right to be happy.

Intimate relationships are designed to help us evolve and for this reason there will be challenges. Challenges are meant to be solved, but chronic fighting and the stress it produces is a sign of much bigger problems.  Make sure you’re with the person you truly desire to be with and seek assistance if needed. If you are not with the right person, that is someone who brings out the best in you, move on.  Many issues are solved through this simple truth.


Changing unsuccessful habits can be difficult to do, but if you have a history of struggling to maintain weight loss you probably know there is no way to get around it. If you need your toes to help count the number of diets you’ve tried in your life then it’s time to stop dieting and begin looking at the causes that prevent your success.

This may be painful, but it is the truth we all need. The first step in front of us is not losing 10 pounds, or making a million dollars, the first step in front of us is correcting behaviors that prevent the success we seek.  If this is hard to accept keep trying the new diets, restricting your calories or participating in other questionable activities without changing your lifestyle, including how you manage stress and watch your results 6 months from now.


1. Take your time. Be patient with the process.

2. Find a pattern of eating that can be maintained especially as you deal with the challenges in your life.

3. Find an exercise program you can stick to.

4. Keep a food journal. This is critical and the most successful people will have one.

5. Love yourself now, not after you have lost the weight.

If you can follow this advice you WILL succeed.

Success to you! Coach G

Coach G

Greg McNeil is a StrongFirst Instructor, Professional Strength & Conditioning coach, Licensed Clinical Counselor (LPCC), Life Coach, Author, and the owner of Gallup School of Strength (www.gallupschoolofstrength.com)