How Many Twinkies Can You Eat On Your Diet?

(July 15, 2013.  After a months long absence Twinkies are back on the market.  The original Twinkies had 150 calories.   The new Twinkies are smaller and now have 120 calories each.  In the examples below the Twinkies may be multiplied by 1.25 to find the equivalent numbers.  The conclusions remain the same.)

twinkieIn 2010 a college professor named Mark Haub went on a “convenience store” diet consisting mainly of Twinkies, Oreos, and Doritos in an attempt to demonstrate to his students “that in weight loss, pure calorie counting is what matters most—not the nutritional value of the food”. He lost 27 pounds over a 2 month period, returning his body mass index (BMI) to within normal range.[16]    

Professor Haub also said that he would not state whether this diet is either  healthy or unhealthy.  There is not enough data. (You can also read more about the Twinkie diet here from CNNHealth)

I was astounded (not really) that Twinkies were not a part of any other weight loss plan or program.  What’s up with that?  Twinkies have been around since 1930 and over 500 million are sold each year.  I think folks like Twinkies.  (Before you comment about how bad Twinkies are to eat and the bad things that they do to you, please understand that I’m using Twinkies as a metaphor.  That being said, please read on.)

I ate dinner last Sunday evening with friends at an upscale restaurant in Hartford, CT.  The fellow sitting next to me told me that he lost over 60 pounds about 20 years ago by restricting his diet to only health things.  The major thing that he cut out of his diet was cheese.  He loves cheese and just can’t help himself if it is anywhere near him.  He doesn’t buy cheese and he won’t even allow it in his house.  He claimed that by not eating his beloved cheese he was able to not only lose weight but keep it off for all these years. Can you guess what he had for dessert?  If you guessed a giant cheese platter, you would be correct.  He ate every crumb.

Restricting your diet to only healthy foods and denying yourself foods that you crave is one way to do it.  You crave Twinkies! So how many Twinkies can you have on the popular diets plans out there?  That would be zero.  How many Twinkies do you want on these plans?  You would like to eat most of the 500 million sold each year.

Let’s take a hypothetical look at a Twinkie-meister.  Bob is a 50 year old man who’s diet consists of Twinkies and only Twinkies.  Bob is 5’11” and he weighs 240 pounds.  His Body Mass Index is 33.4.  Bob is obese.  Assuming that Bob is lightly active, the total that Bob needs to consume is 2918 calories each day to maintain his current weight.  With each Twinkie coming in at 150 calories Bob needs to eat 19.45 Twinkies every day.  If Bob were to consume only 16.12 Twinkies per day or 2418 calories per day he would lose 1 pound per week.  That’s cutting 500 calories per day out of his intake.  Lets assume Bob continues to cut his Twinkie intake to 500 fewer calories than he needs to maintain his reducing weight for 61 weeks.  He will achieve a normal weight of 179 pounds. If Bob continues eating 16 Twinkies per day he will maintain his new weight.

The key point in Bob’s example is that he continued eating whatever he wanted (Twinkies) he just ate fewer per day. He didn’t deny himself anything.  That’s a pretty easy way to do it.

How can you lose all the weight you want without denying yourself the foods you love and keep it off permanently?  There is an easy way to a slim and trim you.  Its called Relax and Lose Weight.  You can find it here:

How many Twinkies can you eat on Relax and Lose weight?  The answer is:  As many as you want.  The interesting thing is that when you get the correct motivation going in the proper part of your mind you find that you are making better decisions, eating less and you’re satisfied with less because that is consistent with your new found motivation.  You lose weight and keep it off permanently because you have changed your attitude and motivation about food.  You never feel deprived because you can eat what ever you want.

Go to and see how the program works and how it will work for you.

(Please note that we don’t advise folks to eat snack foods to lose weight or to add Twinkies to your diet.  The Twinkie is used as a metaphor for whatever food you are now eating that is not helping you lose weight.  Even if you are eating only the healthiest foods on the planet, if you eat more calories than you need you will gain weight.  If you eat fewer calories than you need to maintain your current weight you will lose weight.  I also realize that for every ten pounds Bob loses he has to cut his Twinkie intake by about 1/2 Twinkie per day to continue losing weight at the same rate. Please don’t comment about how bad Twinkies are for you.  Thanks – Frank)




How To Cut Through the Weight Loss Confusion

This article was written by Mark Dilworth and published on January 29, 2012 for EmpowHER at

This article sums up the reasons that we do not include customer testimonials, claim rapid weight loss or promote diet pills and fads in our program or on our website.  We have not edited this article in any way.  You should read this with interest.

Relax and Achieve LLC

How to cut through weight loss confusion

Written By Mark Dilworth

Published January 29, 2012


The weight loss arena is confusing to people because of outright lies and/or information overload. You are responsible for the health of your body. Do the research to see if the claims on the weight loss product label are true.

If it sounds too good to be true …

A Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report, “Weight-Loss Advertising: An Analysis of Current Trends,” gives us the following information found in 300 weight loss advertisements:

Consumer testimonials – “These testimonials and photos rarely portrayed realistic weight loss. The average for the largest amount of weight loss reported in each of the 195 advertisements was 71 pounds.”

Rapid Weight Loss – “Rapid weight-loss claims were made in 57% of the advertisements in the sample. In some cases, the falsity of such claims is obvious, as in the ad that claimed that users could lose up to 8 to 10 pounds per week while using the advertised product.”

Diet and Exercise – “Despite the well-accepted prescription of diet and exercise for successful weight management, 42% of all of the ads reviewed promote an array of quick-fix pills, patches, potions, and programs for effortless weight loss and 64% of those ads also promised fast results. The ads claim that results can be achieved without reducing caloric intake or increasing physical activity.”

The FTC concludes: “The use of false or misleading claims in weight-loss advertising is rampant. Nearly 40% of the ads in our sample made at least one representation that almost certainly is false and 55% of the ads made at least one representation that is very likely to be false or, at the very least, lacks adequate substantiation.”

As I always say, companies keep getting richer and the population continues to gain weight. Stop buying the products and the companies will go broke!

People don’t know what to believe when it comes to fat loss and weight loss. And, too many people look for quick solutions to weight problems that developed over months and even years.

Permanent fat loss and weight loss takes time. In fact, you never stop sculpting your body.

Here is how to put the fat loss and weight loss puzzle together:

1. Don’t gauge your weight loss success solely by the weigh scale. After three weeks on a strength and cardio exercise program, you could weigh the same (or even a little more) and have significantly less body fat.

You can build muscle mass and shrink your body (be leaner) as your body fat decreases. Muscle is metabolically active tissue and fat tissue is not. So, fat tissue contributes nothing to help you burn calories.

“Muscle is our largest metabolically active organ, and that’s the backdrop that people usually forget,” said Kent Adams, director of the exercise physiology lab at Cal State Monterey Bay. Strengthening the muscles “has a ripple effect throughout the body on things like metabolic syndrome and obesity.”

Exercise regularly with strength training and short interval cardio sessions. Too many long, slow cardio sessions will eat away at your muscles.

It is safe to lose about 2 pounds per week (on average). At the beginning of a new exercise program, you will probably lose 6-8 pounds the first week (especially if you are obese). The weight loss will even out over time.

Don’t become frustrated when one week you lose 5 pounds and the next week you lose no pounds. Growing your muscles increases lean body weight.

More lean body weight increases your metabolism which helps you burn fat! It’s important to check your body fat every week to see if your body is shrinking.

You must continue to build and maintain your muscles or they will atrophy (use it or lose it). Muscle does not ever change into fat. Fat cells will shrink but they will fill up again when you are inactive for a long period of time.

2. You will gain weight and fat if you maintain a daily caloric surplus. A caloric surplus happens when you eat more calories than you burn. It doesn’t matter how hard you work out.

So, eat enough to build muscle and burn fat. That usually means maintaining a moderate daily caloric deficit of about 300 to 600 calories.

If you have one cheat day a week and have a small caloric surplus, that should not derail your fat loss efforts. Just continue to do your regular workouts and get back on track the next day.

3. Start a healthy meal plan that you can maintain. Severe calorie restriction diets cannot be maintained.

When you have rapid weight loss through severe calorie restriction, much of that weight loss will be water weight, and some muscle mass. Too much calorie restriction will damage your metabolism.

You will regain this weight quickly when you begin to eat the carbohydrates, proteins and fats that your body needs. Why? Because you will also replenish water stores in your body’s cells.

Eat small meals of whole, natural foods every three to four hours. This helps maintain your energy and metabolism throughout the day.

Also, eat protein with every meal. Protein will help you feel full for a longer period and help repair and rebuild your muscles.

If you have a meal plan, you are more likely to follow it or at least eat similar foods. And, record what you eat in a food journal until you know what, when and how much to eat.

The weight loss lies will continue but you don’t have to believe and follow the advice.

Should your Beauty Salon or Day Spa offer a Weight Loss Plan?

“Health coaching,” “wellness coaching,” even “eyebrow coaching” — coaching is a concept gathering steam at spas and beauty salons, with new approaches ranging from the very serious…to the simply engaging and fun.

First, the serious. While “coaching” seems to be a term that can get wantonly slapped onto any professional or personal goal, the concept is especially applicable and packed with potential for the spa sector. Integrative medicine leader Dr. Ken Pelletier recently noted that the spa industry is actually in a better position (than the medical establishment) to deliver preventative “healthcare,” i.e., to provide an environment and offerings that can actually help people make long-lasting lifestyle changes — the number-one medically proven path to disease prevention and optimal health. But to fill those large (and potentially profitable) shoes, more spas must “switch” their model from delivering isolated treatments and establish more personal, post-visit connections with clients that could actually help sustain the changes — i.e., “coaching.”

“Wellness coaching” and “health coaching” are, therefore, very serious trends (rather than faddish new marketing terms), and some very high-level institutions are validating that position. Harvard Medical School ( now underwrites an annual conference on coaching’s role in healthcare, while supporting the Institute of Coaching. And one of the many research initiatives being analyzed by the International Coaching Research Forum is developing coaching as a global, academic profession. There are already efforts underway to clearly define the parameters of coaching and help distinguish coaching (which is future-focused) from other professional services like counseling (which delve into a person’s past). Corporations are digesting the power and ROI of coaching: Those ramping up investments in corporate wellness programs, to reduce their crushing healthcare costs, are reporting that wellness coaching is the most effective model to get people to adhere, long-term, to healthy regimes.

Destination spas are taking the lead with both at-the-spa “coaching” models and post-stay coaching connections. For instance, Arizona’s Mii amo (U.S.) spa resort recently integrated coaching, and its “guided journey packages” include follow-up with a guest’s onsite coach. Arizona’s Miraval Resort & Spa (U.S.) “Integrative Wellness Program” offers ongoing, back-home wellness consultations, and San Francisco’s Cavallo Point (U.S.) offers diverse forms of “Life Enhancement Coaching,” where guests can opt for unlimited follow-up sessions. Canyon Ranch health resorts’ (two U.S. locations) “Follow Up at Home” program involves 30- to 50-minute phone, email and Skype sessions with a whole host of practitioners: doctors, nutritionists, “life management therapists,” even Traditional Chinese Medicine experts and spiritual counselors. And Rancho La Puerta (Mexico) has teamed up with technology company, SelfOptima (creators of the website), to adopt its brand-new “WellO” guest engagement platform (featuring health assessments, progress charting, ways to stay in touch with the spa’s experts and peer social networking) designed to keep people connected to both the spa, after departure, and to their health regime.

More “coaches” of diverse stripes, and more coaching language (i.e., “fitness coach,” not “trainer,” etc.), will invade both day and resort spas, as these sectors realize the model’s unique power in keeping customers ultra-close, engaged and spending. And coaching is now hitting the beauty arena, too. Spa skincare brand Skin Authority represents an early pioneer of the concept of after-spa follow-up with online aestheticians. French beauty brand Clarins recently opened its new Parisian flagship, Spa My Blend, and its therapists are now called “beauty coaches,” who “provide support for people to reveal their own essential beauty.” (The brand’s spa also has “pool coaches” for customized aquatic activities, and fitness specialists known as “body coaches.”

New technologies are driving, and will quicken, the trend — email, Skype, texting and apps already make long-distance coaching connections easier and more effective. And a whole raft of high-tech gadgets now makes it possible for people to monitor and share their vital signs, as well as every calorie consumed and burned, with a spa doctor or coach.

Prediction: The big, breakthrough opportunities still lie ahead, as professional “coaching networks” are just getting organized. When this becomes widespread, every type of spa would then be able to enlist coaches, train them in its unique philosophies and have them serve as the critical link between the on-site spa experience and its clients’ long-term wellness success. Companies like (U.S.) already offer certified on-site or virtual wellness coaches for spas, hospitals and businesses. Australian-based The Cosgrove Group, which has offered wellness coaching-certification programs at home and in Europe for a few years, just launched in the U.S., and expects to certify 1,000 American wellness coaches this year. This is all very new, right about where the fitness industry was 30 years ago, and efforts to establish “certification” models will continue to develop.

Look for: greater specialization in coaching approaches (i.e., “states of change,” “mindfulness,” “wellness wheel,” etc.), and for ever-expanding coaching categories, i.e., “nutrition coaches,” “sleep coaches,” etc. New models like group coaching and shorter-term, follow-up coaching will emerge, so that a coaching program of some variety could be within the reach of day spas, hotel/resort spas and more destination spas — and to more people, given the greater range of price-points.

The coaching trend is a serious and welcome one for the global spa industry, and could ultimately prove the key to making the spa that true “third place” (like Starbucks) for so many more people.

How is Relax and Lose Weight different than any other weight loss program?

How many diets have you been on in your life?  Have you lost weight, even achieved your weight loss objective, and then saw the weight return time and time again?

Every weight loss plan, program, and diet has one fundamental flaw.  When the goal is achieved the motivation to continue, the motivation to sustain the weight loss, is gone.

Are you frustrated with having to start another diet or weight loss program? Do you have no will power when it comes to food? Do you want to make better choices but just can’t help yourself?
How many diets, weight loss products and programs have you tried throughout your life only to find that you repeat the process over and over achieving no permanent results?
Why do we find it so hard to stick to a diet? Let’s face it, a diet is just to hard to manage! We feel deprived, distracted, bored and eventually lose motivation. Then we have to start the process all over again! This is not fun!
Did you know that each year Americans spend more than $40 BILLION on diet and weight loss programs? More than $16 BILLION is spent on diet pills, fads and gimmicks. With all that money spent to lose weight, why isn’t everyone at their perfect weight?
Isn’t it time to ask yourself, “Why is it so hard to lose weight and keep it off?” While the weight loss industry is a BILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY, there does not seem to be a one-time PERMANENT WEIGHT LOSS SOLUTION that works for a lifetime! But maybe that’s their plan – to keep you on their weight loss roller coaster forever and keep you forking over your money to them.  
Relax and Lose Weight is the break-through program that will finally allow you to lose all the weight you want and to keep it off permanently.
Most of those trapped on the weight loss roller coaster will continue to invest in some kind of weight loss product, fad, or gimmick and keep HOPING to be slim and trim, but the weight comes back and we have to repeat the process all over again! Are you feeling frustrated yet? No worries.
Here’s the good news! Not being able to achieve your weight loss goal is NOT your fault. Through years of working with thousands of clients we have enabled people just like you to lose all the weight they want and to KEEP IT OFF PERMANENTLY!
Learn how to master your own personal weight loss goals permanently and finally achieve your perfect weight and maintain it FOR LIFE without any gimmicks!
Get started by watching our FREE 3-part informational video series viewed by thousands of people just like you! Just click on the video on the home page (or here ) and learn how you can FINALLY lose all the weight you want and keep it off for good! No fads or gimmicks just using what ALWAYS HAS WORKED – “The Power of Your Subconscious Mind!”
Every weight loss plan assumes you have a goal before you start. However, no one teaches you how to set a proper goal that will give you the impetus to be successful. Set a goal the right way and you will finally and permanently lose the weight and keep it off!
Click the video to the right to watch part-1 of your Free informational video series on how to achieve your perfect weight and maintain it – FOR LIFE! You have nothing to lose but the weight you’ve dreamed about losing for years!

Menopause and Weight Gain/Loss

It has been shown that 90% of all women experience some amount of weight gain between the ages of 35 and 55 during perimenopause and menopause. Here are the main reasons for weight gain during menopause.

Estrogen: It is common for estrogen levels to diminish during menopause causing cessation of ovulation. The decreased production of estrogen by the ovaries causes a woman’s body to search for other sources of estrogen. Another source of estrogen is fat cells, so your body learns to convert more calories into fat, in order to increase estrogen production. This means weight gain.

Progesterone: It is also common for progesterone levels to decrease during menopause. Progesterone’s role in weight gain is more deceiving; low levels of the hormone do not actually cause you to gain weight, but instead cause water retention or bloating.

Testosterone: Testosterone in a women works to build and maintain muscle mass among other things. These muscle cells work to burn calories in your body and cause a higher metabolism. Levels of this hormone decrease during menopause causing the loss of muscle mass and hence result in lower metabolism. This also results in weight gain.

Androgen: Androgen production increases during menopause sending the extra weight to the abdomen instead of the hips and thighs.

These are problems that are just not your fault!  You can’t help it if your body turns on you!

How huge of a weight gain are we talking about, anyway? On average, women gain between 10 to 15 pounds during the 10 year stage of life when menopause occurs as a result of hormones.  That’s 10 to 15 pounds; there are no 1’s or 0’s missing.  That equates to about 1 pound to 1 ½ pounds per year.  That’s it.

Women in their forties and fifties need about 200 calories fewer per day than women in their twenties and thirties or need to exercise a little more and that 1 to 1 ½ lbs. per year is nipped in the bud.

Has your weight gain been more than that?  If so, what could cause that extra weight gain?


Maybe you’re Insulin Resistant.  Insulin resistance causes a woman’s body to incorrectly convert every calorie into fat.  How do you become insulin resistant?  Insulin resistance can be caused, over time, by eating a diet high in carbs.  Simple carbohydrates found in white bread, pasta, processed snack foods, beer and wine all raise blood-sugar levels and effect the metabolism.

Too much sugar in the diet has the same effect as too many simple carbohydrates.  Sugar causes blood sugar to rise, causing the pancreas to release too much insulin which causes the body to turn calories into fat.  The body seems to treat artificial sweeteners the same as it does sugar so artificial sweeteners are as guilty as sugar.

It also seems that the things that cause insulin resistance are things that really pack on the pounds, too.

How do you end insulin resistance?  You stop eating the things that caused it in the first place and exercise a little.

Maybe you have Hypothyroidism:  Women with an underactive thyroid often experience wait gain because their metabolic rate slows down as a result of the condition. In some cases, hyperthyroidism can also cause weight gain, but that is rare. Thyroid hormones essentially regulate calorie consumption in the body. With an underactive thyroid, fewer calories are burned and converted into energy. Instead they are stored in the body.

The good news is that this is a very common condition and your doctor would have diagnosed it when a sudden weight gain or the other dozen or so symptoms were noted.  You have been prescribed a medication to completely turn that problem around and your thyroid is working just fine now.

Maybe you’re getting Hormone Replacement Therapy:  HRT does in fact cause weight gain.  It can cause astounding gains of 10 lbs. per month — of water weight retention for the first months.  Once your body adapts to the treatment, that side effect goes away and so does the water weight.

For Men, menopause is called Andropause.  The effects are essentially the same.  The weight gain causes are the same.  Get over it.  Eat less and exercise more. 

The point is, the main cause of weight gain in menopausal women (and andropausal men) is eating and drinking more and exercising less than they did at younger ages.

How do you get rid of the rationalizations?   How do you lose all the weight you want and keep it off?

To see how go to:

Our Vision, Purpose,Values and Passion

Vision, Purpose, Values, and Passion


We want to help all people, who would like to lose weight and keep it off, to become the fit and trim person they want to be.

Over 68% of the US population is either overweight (34%) or obese (34%).  Americans spend over $40 billion on weight loss and diet programs and over $16 billion on diet pills and fads.  There are over 30,000 diets and countless fitness centers and gyms.   Everyone acknowledges that it is better to be fit than to be overweight.   You can hardly look at a magazine or go on-line without seeing many ads and stories about weight loss, weight control and the epidemic weight problem in this country.  With all this information why isn’t everyone at their perfect weight?


To help people achieve and maintain their perfect weight, we have developed a system that uses the most powerful part of the goal achievement center, the subconscious mind.  It helps one to lose the weight and keep it off without ever having to feel deprived or forcing oneself to stick to a diet or exercise program through willpower.  Once the goal is reached the maintenance of the benefits of the new weight becomes the new goal.  This weight loss process is sustainable and the results are permanent.

The limiting factor in weight loss and weight maintenance success is the type of motivation that one uses to achieve the goal.  All the diet plans and fitness programs rely on the extrinsic motivation inherent in behaviorism models.  That is, they are trying the help the person “do” something based on external rewards.

Extrinsic motivation, by definition, is the impetus to do something based on rewards outside of oneself and focuses on the conscious level of the mind.  Extrinsic motivation can be useful on a temporary basis. Setting oneself a goal to lose a specific amount of weight gives something to aim for and something to be motivated by.   You change your behavior until the goal is reached.

The downfall of this system is that, without going into Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a satisfied need has no impetus to further motivate behavior.  One reaches the weight loss goal through conscious willpower and dieting deprivation so when the goal is reached the old behavior returns as does the weight. The upside, for the industry, is that it is a self-perpetuating business.

Our program uses a different type of motivation altogether and a different part of the mind.  Intrinsic motivation is the impetus to “be” something and focuses on the subconscious mind.  The rewards come from within.

Rather than trying to “do” something, Relax and Lose Weight helps you to “be” something.  When you are striving to “be” something the process of achieving and the process of maintaining the goal is a natural extension of the mind’s belief system.    Moreover, the program doesn’t “do” anything to you, it gives you the tools to help you become something, to achieve your goals, for yourself.



Successful Clients:  We are committed to having our clients succeed and being able to maintain the benefits of their achieved goals.  We will not build or sustain our business through client failure and their need to continue to buy our products.

Innovative Programs:  We are committed to presenting only the most well researched programs using the foremost techniques and technologies and are willing to modify programs if a better approach is discovered.

Respect:  We treat others with the highest degree of dignity, equality and trust.

Integrity:  We employ the highest ethical standards, demonstrating honesty and fairness in every action we take.

Accountability:  We take responsibility for our performance in all our decisions and actions.

Partnership:  We deal with our partners with honesty and respect acknowledging the importance of their contribution to our business.


We have seen our programs make positive changes in the lives of many, many clients.  We want to reach many more with the chance to effect this positive change.



Founder                                                                                                                                 Relax and Achieve LLC


Frank Treybal, Founder
Relax and Achieve LLC

I believe everyone goes through different “eras” in life including finding one’s true career path. When I was a captain of the U.S. Marine Corp, I met a fellow who just completed a course of study that he highly recommended.  I enrolled and did my graduate studies in psychology at the University of Northern Colorado Center for Special and Advanced Studies with a concentration in Psychology, Counseling and Guidance. After  graduate school, I left the Marines for the business world.

Based on my background of studies, I started two self-help programs that included, “weight control”, and a “stop smoking” program.   I was never overweight nor had I ever smoked. However, the program was able to demonstrate how easy it is to become slim and trim without relying on will power and become a non-smoker without weight gain or withdrawal symptoms.  The strategies we used fosters the development of a drive called intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is the resolve that comes from within a person and is the impetus that supports permanent success.   As a result, both programs were very successful. In fact, they were so successful in our private offices that we quickly began coaching employees at major corporations throughout the east coast as a valued part of their employee benefits packages.

Relax and Lose Weight is a dynamic program for weight loss and weight control that will help you lose all the weight you want without struggling with diets, fads, or gimmicks. Most of all, the Relax and Lose Weight program will help you to end the vicious cycle of trying to lose weight over and over again with no permanent results. Watch the free informational videos on the home page and learn more.

The Annual New Year’s Weight Loss Resolution or “How’s the Diet Going?”

We’re well into the yearly “I’m going to lose weight” resolution.  Let’s investigate what’s going on (or very soon will be going on) in the minds of all the annual dieters.

If you read the last post, Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation, you know that if one is focused on losing weight, extrinsic motivation is the impetus.  What’s happening now?

Cognitive Dissonance

The new diet is conflicting with the old self- image.  Even the most willing participant in a diet is running into a psychological stumbling block called cognitive dissonance.  That’s an uncomfortable feeling (frustration, upset, disappointment, anger, etc.) caused by holding conflicting ideas.  The conscious mind is conflicting with the subconscious image.  The actions are inconsistent with the beliefs.  The mind believes that it should be maintaining the self-image.  Even though one wishes to lose weight the mind is rebelling and the old eating habits are trying to make a comeback.  There are some very successful techniques that the mind will use to reduce the dissonance caused by trying to change behavior to effect a change in attitude or image.  The mind is eventually going to win.

People have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance.


If the underlying attitude is not changed, in conjunction with cognitive dissonance one may start Self-Handicapping.  That’s the process by which people avoid effort in the hopes of keeping potential failure at bay.  If the dieter gives up, the cognitive dissonance is gone and it feels much more comfortable to return to the status quo.


On the other hand, dissonance is also reduced by justifying, blaming and denying.  Let’s call this Rationalization.  Rationalization is a defense mechanism.  The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual states rationalization occurs “when the individual deals with emotional conflict… by concealing the true motivations for his or her own actions through the elaboration of reassuring or self-serving but incorrect explanations.”

We all know them: “I’m big boned”. “My weight problem is genetic”. “I have a thyroid problem”.  “I have a slow metabolism”.  “I just can’t help myself”.   These rationalizations may not even be verbalized but these old justifications are very successful in conquering cognitive dissonance.

Intrinsic Motivation

The real way to approach the annual New Year’s resolution is by first changing attitudes and beliefs.  If this is done first, the new diet would be in sync with the new image and cognitive dissonance would occur by not sticking to the diet or fitness plan.  If this first step is addressed the chances of success are greatly enhanced.


The first step to every self-help program, including weight control, is to establish a goal.  What is a “goal”?  One definition is: “A goal is the end toward which effort is directed”.   That’s simple enough.  It goes along with the saying “Plan your work and work your plan”.  Is that enough to succeed with weight loss and weight control?  Wish+Plan= Goal Achievement?

What about this definition?:  “A goal is an observable and measurable end result having one or more objectives to be achieved within a more or less fixed time frame.”  That would define most diets and programs for weight loss.  There are wonderful and effective diets and plans and books and programs all directed to helping the user achieve their weight loss goal.  So why isn’t everyone at their perfect weight?  In 2008 the Department of Health and Human Services statistics showed that about 68% of the population is either overweight or obese and the numbers seem to be trending up.

Why do some people lose the weight and keep it off and others lose some weight only to gain it all back and maybe more?  The missing piece is “motivation”.

There are two types of motivation, extrinsic and intrinsic.

Extrinsic motivation refers to doing something to attain an outcome.  One sticks to a diet or weight loss plan to get to a target weight.  The basic technique is to use willpower to stick to the plan until the goal is reached. Then the old eating habits return because we’re tired of willpower and the weight comes back.  We can stick to the diet with extrinsic motivation because we know the time frame is “fixed” and the diet won’t last forever.

Sometimes, however, sticking to the plan results in permanent success.  That’s because the individual has somehow developed the second type of motivation.

Intrinsic motivation is based on taking pleasure in an activity rather than working towards a goal.  Does this mean taking pleasure in sticking to a diet?  No, it means taking internal pleasure in achieving the benefits of the weight loss: looking better, feeling more energetic, enhanced well-being, etc.

With intrinsic motivation the necessary actions to achieve the goal happen almost spontaneously.  One wants to participate rather than using willpower to to stick to a diet.  With intrinsic motivation the definition of “goal” becomes “An anticipated outcome that guides one’s actions”.  There is no time frame.  Intrinsic motivation is open ended and causes the permanent achievement of not only weight loss but finding and maintaining the perfect weight for you.

The people who are able to develop intrinsic motivation are the “success stories” we read about in the testimonials.  How can everyone develop this type of motivation?

Here’s how: