The sad truth is this: America is fat. Right now 37.4% of adults and 16.7 of children% currently struggles with obesity, and that number is only increasing. To reverse the trend, nationally and individually, we have to think about how we eat and how we exercise. As we know, the equation for weight loss is astonishingly simple: calories burned must be greater than calories consumed. And yet, despite the simplicity of this equation, we continue to struggle. In this section, I will identify some of the main reasons for this struggle and offer tips for making this equation work in your favor.

First, let's examine the equation. We know that to burn calories, we have to move our bodies and exercise. Regular exercise of 30 or 60 minutes a day is essential to the "calories burned" side of the equation (as well as for maintaining muscle tone and bone density), but there are only so many hours in a day that we can dedicate to working out and burning calories. Given this, and the relatively greater contribution of calories consumed to weight gain, the bottom line is that you have to commit to changing your diet if you want to lose weight and change your life. If you find that statement scary or depressing, you are not alone. There is a common (though I believe misplaced) belief that diet change will destroy one's quality of life and that the satisfaction of eating and tasting food is more important than being healthy.

But there is a simple way to address this challenge and make the process easy and painless: before we change our diet, we have to change our minds. So we change our minds to change our diets to lose weight and change our lives.

Changing your mind shouldn't seem like a daunting task. We change our minds many times each day! In this case, we change our mind to consider healthy, fresh foods as preferable, and more desirable than greasy, processed, refined, and/or sugary options. We can effect a complete reversal whereby we crave the healthy option and feel repelled or disassociated from unhealthy choices. Unlike other times when we change our minds in the course of daily life, this change should be conscious and intentional, but does not need to be - and shouldn't be - an overnight process. To understand why, let's take a look at some of the mental processes and associations related to food.

None of us like to be told what to do, or that we're wrong, bad, or deficient in some way. Yet when we try to send the message to our mind that we're going to make a change to eat well, the subtext is that we're eating poorly, making poor choices, and/or doing a "bad" job of caring for ourselves. True as this may be, the ego will take offense and resist or push back against the change. You may be able to avoid your regular or favorite unhealthy foods for a week or two, but the idea that you're avoiding them makes them loom larger. So the next time you're running late or tempted to grab an old-standby snack, your ego will pop up and whisper, "Why shouldn't I have this [cake/cheeseburger/milkshake]? I've been so good, I deserve this. And why do I have to give this up in the first place?" The resistance, even if subconscious, creates a negative feedback loop: you feel resentment about the change, eat something unhealthy to get "revenge", feel badly about eating poorly, and then more resentment that you're being made to change in the first place (even if you yourself are the one "forcing" the change).

The good news is that you can just as easily create a positive feedback loop by not forcing it and making small changes. Small, baby-step changes enable you to feel good about your small successes, which then motivate more small changes and successes. This is the idea of baby steps which will simplify the process of making changes in eating habits. By making minor adjustments to diet rather than wholesale denials or changes, you can change your subconscious mind to be aligned with your conscious/stated desire to change your diet and lose weight. Healthy eating has to slowly become normal while unhealthy eating becomes abnormal. To facilitate these changes, below I discuss four relationships we have with food, all of which have the potential to impede even small changes to mindset, diet, and weight. Understanding the relationships we have with food will help you be aware of them, so that you can use the tips provided to manage potential pitfalls.

Author's Bio: 

Michaelson Williams is the founder of I'm CloudFit, offering "True Anytime, Anywhere" online and interactive fitness training. As Vise President and CEO of HWFnet - a network of Health, Wellness, and Fitness services - Michaelson's goal is to provide alternatives to the traditional approach of health and fitness. Michaelson has been in the fitness industry for over 20 years, having owned, operated, and trained in multiple fitness centers. Michaelson has extensive background in fitness training and consulting, martial arts, and body building.

Some accomplishments include:

* North Carolina State Bodybuilding Champion (1999) * Personal Trainer Certified, Xpert Rating Certified Professional * Personal Protection Specialist (PPS-T3) Certified * Tactical Defense and Tactical Defense Instructor (TDI) Certified * Dedicated student and teacher of various Martial Arts disciplines for over 25 years * Creator of the I'm CloudFit Training Systems Certifications (ICFTS) series