"Do not try to lose 35 pounds!"

I could imagine the astonishment Ed was experiencing as he read my email response to his query.

Being a proponent of healthier lifestyles has had a side effect I never would have imagined: Folks look at me now and want to know my secrets for being in great shape.

I recently received an email from my friend Ed who wrote: "Bob, I want to lose 35 pounds. What are your suggestions?"

"Imagine that!" I thought to myself. "Someone is asking me how to lose weight."

Yes, I have lost 400 pounds in my lifetime - they just happen to be the same 20 pounds 20 different times.

"Ed," I replied, "the best way I know to lose 35 pounds is to not try to lose 35 pounds."

This is the new me, who has grown tired of yo-yo dieting and committed to a lifestyle, not a diet, to get myself stabilized at a healthy weight. But Ed really wanted to know how to reach his 35-pound weight-loss goal. And he thinks I know the secret because I've lost 44 pounds and kept it off for more than a year now.

So here is my suggestion to Ed and anyone who wants to fulfill a New Year's resolution to lose some of that extra baggage they've picked up over time: "Do not try to lose weight by setting a goal that is way too large."

How small a goal should you set? For me, it is just 2 pounds a month. That seemed realistic considering that normal for me was to be more than 30 pounds overweight.

For those of you who are thinking that is too few pounds to lose and that you will never get to where you want to be with your weight, please consider the following:

Each month I set my goal to lose 2 pounds. The trick is that at the end of that month I reset my goal and now for the next month aimed to lose another 2 pounds. So even if you lose 8 pounds the first month, you still have to lose 2 the next month. More weight lost in a month does not reset the goal for the new month.

So your goal should be to lose 2 pounds a month for 12 consecutive months. That means that you have committed to making small, doable changes each and every month for 12 months. This way your steps forward become much more of a progressive lifestyle change than a diet.

Losing 2 pounds a month takes some very small adjustments in diet and/or exercise - adjustments that are doable and repeatable each month. The best part is that with a small weight-loss goal, you never feel like you are denying yourself reasonable foods or pushing yourself too hard doing exercises that are not sustainable for the rest of your life.

Forget about trying to lose a huge amount of weight. Try using my 2-pounds-a-month method, with achievable lifestyle changes, and you will be hooked on the new you by next New Year's.

Enjoy the journey,


On StarNet: On StarNet: Read Bob Oro's recent columns at azstarnet.com/boboro

E-mail Bob Oro at northwest@azstarnet.com