Growing up as an overweight kid, I lacked self-confidence. Obesity runs in my family. My father was always trying to lose weight. He struggled to change like we all do until we experience a seminal moment of inspiration or desperation. My commitment to change was born out of the latter. I remember being sent to the nurse’s office at school for a sprained ankle and overhearing her describing me as a fat boy. Her words struck me. I don’t know why they hit me as hard as they did, but I am glad they cause me enough pain to take action. I resolved to lose the weight. My plan consisted of just two things, daily exercise, and NO MORE DESSERTS. I decided that I would not eat another dessert until I lost all the weight.

It wasn’t easy, but I went over a year without eating a single dessert. I didn’t know much about diet and exercise; I was only ten years old, after all. My father read countless books on diet and exercise, but knowledge doesn’t change your life. Sometimes too much information and analysis can be a detriment to doing. It is our daily rituals that shape our lives. I committed to doing a little bit of exercise each morning and when I got home from school, inspired by my comic book heroes. My transforming body was a constant reminder of the value of taking consistent action.  Exercise lifted me out of depression and improved my mental focus. I started doing better in school and became more confident. Eventually, I would become a National Honor Society member in high school and graduate from the United States Military Academy at West Point.

I have always enjoyed exercise. I didn’t know it at the time but exercise not only stimulates the production of feel-good hormones like endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin it also improves our ability to learn. Exercise stimulates the production of Brain-derived Neurotropic Factor (BDNF) – often called “Miracle-Gro for the brain,” because it encourages the formation of new neurons. BDNF is a protein vital to the health and function of your brain and peripheral nervous system.[i]

Daily exercise combined with the elimination of desserts from my diet transformed my body. Giving up sweets was the most challenging part made more difficult by my family’s habit of ordering dessert. It was hard not to succumb to temptation and social pressure. My grandmother would bake peanut butter cookies or pies for us when we would visit her. My family shamed me into feeling guilty for refusing her dessert when we would visit, especially as I got thinner, but I didn’t waiver. I connected dessert with being trapped in a flabby body. When tempted, I would pinch my waist. It helped me reconnect with my commitment to lose weight.

I want you to know that you can transform your body and do it faster and easier than you ever thought possible. Certainly, easier than it was for me. I stumbled onto a few techniques by accident in my desperate quest to lose weight. I wish a book like mine had existed back then, but it didn’t. I wrote my book to help those still struggling to lose weight. Not everyone experiences a moment that hurts so much. They can push through the arduous process of change using brute force. The great news is that the Fat Loss Habit formula for behavior change makes it unnecessary.

Most people know what to do to lose weight. The problem is they aren’t doing it. My book gives you some simple tools to bridge the gap between knowing and doing. I used the techniques I am sharing with you to produce my book, writing on days where I wasn’t motivated. I am just like you. My days are full of personal and professional commitments, but I was able to coax myself to write a little each day and eventually finish my first book.

If you are willing to set up a daily prompt to spend a few minutes reading my book, I will make the change process more manageable than you can imagine. Your commitment doesn’t have to be big. In fact, I want you to keep it silly small, like reading 2-pages a day. The reminder could be a daily alarm on your smartphone, a visual cue, like this book on your kitchen table or nightstand with a commitment to read it a few minutes each morning or evening after you finish a habit that is already part of your day.

The time to act is now. Imagine how great you will feel a couple of months from now when you have lost twenty pounds and built your strength and stamina. Imagine how disappointed you’ll be if you don’t. Don’t let another day go by. The secret to your success depends on taking daily action.

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[i] Anita E. Autry and Lisa M. Monteggia, Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor and Neuropsychiatric Disorders, Pharmacol Rev. 2012 Apr; 64(2): 238–258.

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