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Four Shifts in Thinking for Greater Health & Happiness by Tory Johnson

On New Years Day 2013, I woke up 62 pounds lighter than I was the previous January 1. For nearly forty years before, I had tried and failed at every fad diet known to man. It finally occurred to me that if I wanted to drop a lot of weight for good, that what I put in my head would be far more important than what I put in my mouth.

I used four main concepts to accomplish that, which I write about in my #1 New York Times bestseller, The Shift.

  1. Abandon the Quick Fix: I literally cannot count the number of quick fixes I sought since I was a teenager, but they all failed me. Fat people need hope—I get that—and you can't walk past any newsstand without seeing a magazine promote one gimmick or another. TV shows promote miracles, too. The truth is that many of them do work; you do lose some weight—but only if you follow them to the letter (which, from my experience, is impossible) and accept that you may not lose that much weight (timeframes could be ludicrously short). Not to mention, the diets are often unsustainable or unhealthy over longer periods. I realized time and again that I could no longer try to lose 20 pounds in time for a wedding this weekend. Healthy living is a lifetime deal—not a temporary pause on bad behavior.

  2. Banish Cheat Days: The moderation trap is a bedrock of nutrition advice that works flawlessly for some women, but it was a disaster for me. Supposedly, as long as I limited myself to a few bites here or there, I could eat onion rings, rice and chocolate cake—anything, really—and not gain weight. Trouble is, I never ate just a few bites. A couple chips led to the whole bag, and, before long, I was binging again. Ditto for the oft-advised "cheat day." For me, rewarding healthy eating with unhealthy foods is akin to an alcoholic celebrating a month of sobriety with a beer. It doesn't work. When it comes to eating, I am not blessed with the moderation gene. And if you’re on Weight Watchers for the eighth time, you probably aren’t, either. Once I stopped struggling with moderation, of thinking that on the seventh day I could rest and pig out, my life got a lot easier.

  3. Ditch the Blame Game: As a kid, food meant comfort, and my obesity just was. But as I got older, I played The Blame Game: My mother filled the house with cookies and junk food. Fast-food restaurants had fatty cheeseburgers. I had fat genes that someone had passed down to me. The idea that someone (not me, of course) was to blame for my mess was front and center in my mind. But assigning blame serves no purpose. No one decides what I eat except me. I own my choices. So, if you've struggled and failed to eat healthier, ask yourself: Where did I go wrong, how can I be fully accountable and what specifics steps can I take to solve this riddle? Answering those questions honestly can yield pretty powerful results.

  4. Embrace the Power of the Pause: I spent my whole life eating without thinking. Hungry? Wolf down whatever you want and worry about dieting some other time. Cookies show up at the office? Must eat them! I never stopped to pause — just for a few seconds — to think about what I was about to put in my mouth. But when I started my new journey, I found a lot of power in the pause. By simply asking myself two words — preference or priority — I was able to stop the mindless eating that had plagued me forever. Did I prefer to attack the assortment of large, chocolate frosted cupcakes that someone had sent as a thank you gift? Absolutely, but my priority was losing weight. By pausing a few seconds, I learned that priority trumped preference every time.

Tory Johnson

TORY JOHNSON Tory Johnson helps women make great things happen. She made the shift from employee to entrepreneur and built two multi-million-dollar career-focused businesses—Women For Hire and Spark & Hustle—after a painful firing. Now, after a second major shift—losing more than 60 pounds in a year—Tory's mission is to help others change their mind for a better life. She is a weekly contributor on ABC's Good Morning America, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Shift, a contributing editor to SUCCESS magazine and a popular speaker. Oh, and she’s a wife and mom, too.