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Blogs are brief, to-the-point, conversational, and packed with information, strategies, and tips to turn troubled eaters into “normal” eaters and to help you enjoy a happier, healthier life. Sign up by clicking "Subscribe" below and they’ll arrive in your inbox. 

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Defining Yourself

I can’t think of better way to start the new year than for you to choose how you’re going to think and act in 2009. You can’t make yourself over in an instant, but you can make decisions about the person you want to become and begin practicing new behaviors right now. Although genetics and environment are powerful factors in promoting or inhibiting change, your beliefs can override them. Of course, after deciding how you want to think and act, you have to immerse yourself in your new attitude and behaviors.

Here are a several major areas in which you need to get your head on straight. And, no, you can’t pick and choose among them. This one is an all-or-nothing affair.

1. You are not defective. There’s nothing so basically wrong with you that can’t be fixed and there never was. You lack effective life skills. You received inadequate training from inept role models and picked up ineffective skills. Now its time to hunker down and skill up. Stop thinking there’s something wrong with you. That thought is what’s wrong with you. Think and act like a person who is basically A-okay.
2. Stop living in the past or the future. Learn from the past, don’t wallow in it. Plan for the future, don’t try to get it ready for your arrival. You’re fine now and will be fine tomorrow, as long as you do what is rational and wise and makes you proud. You will have to tell yourself over and over (and over) to cease and desist ruminating and anticipating. It’s very hard work, but it’s a must and doable with lots of elbow grease.
3. Realize that people create happy, successful lives, they don’t stumble upon them. They make decisions that are in their long-term self-interest, don’t feel sorry for themselves because life is unfair, get help when they need it, and use their cognitive skills (not their emotions) for problem-solving. You have this same ability, but don’t always put it to use. Every moment spent feeling like a victim is a moment wasted.
4. Take care of yourself. My next book, Nice Girls Finish Fat, due out in June (Simon and Schuster), is all about putting yourself first. Doing so will feel unfamiliar and uncomfortable. Discomfort leads to change. Comfort keeps you stuck. You choose.
5. Get help and that includes therapy. Don’t think of all the reasons you can’t go, but why you must if you want to become a “normal” eater and live a joyous life. Help also includes medication if you’re depressed or excessively anxious. An off-balance biochemistry is one of the major causes of eating and weight problems. Fix your chemistry with exercise, nutritional supplements, or prescribed medication.

Okay, read this blog two more times so it sinks in, then go out there and get started.