Fitness fads, diets and quick fixes are not the answer to improving health and well-being. They may provide small temporary results but they will do nothing to change the REAL reason people are overweight, out of shape, or in poor health. It has nothing to do with “fat” genes, or lack of information about nutrition or exercise. Even the assumed high cost of fresh fruits and vegetables and need for immediate gratification are not the evil culprit.

My answer: Lifestyle choices, work habits, and lack of motivation to do the hard work it takes to get what we really want. Americans spend upwards of 40 billion dollars a year on fads, diets and quick fixes. But yet more than two-thirds (68.8 percent) of adults are considered to be overweight or obese. More than one-third (35.7 percent) of adults are considered to be obese. More than 1 in 20 (6.3 percent) have extreme obesity. Almost 3 in 4 men (74 percent) are considered to be overweight or obese (National Institute of Health). These statistics are sad and discouraging. Anything is life that is worthwhile does not come easy. Big change takes big effort, work, dedication, and motivation. Quick fixes, 21-day challenges, and fake food are not the answer.

quick fixesIt’s easy to see how we have developed the habit of overeating. Inexpensive, high calorie fake food is available 24/7 everywhere. Not moving our bodies has become as natural as incessantly checking our cell phones. Many of us sit eight hours a day staring at a computer screen, entranced and reluctant to drink water because it might precipitate a bathroom break. We can’t possibly fit that into our busy schedules.

Is this any way to live? Aren’t we sick of paying the price for our self-neglect? So many people are trying to lose weight and improve their health, but they keep prolonging the agonizing endless cycle of losing and regaining the same pounds because they haven’t changed their lifestyle. Fad, diets and quick fixes don’t change your lifestyle.

So what is the REAL answer? Be a realist. Focus on changing your lifestyle by setting small, achievable goals. Don’t deprive yourself everything you enjoy; just add something new and healthy. Create accountability and ask for support. There a lot of people just like you that want the same thing. Celebrate small victories. They are not really that small; change is hard! Focus on the positive — getting healthier, that is the end goal. Avoid the scale, it is only giving you an abstract number, focus on how you feel. And, most importantly: Don’t waste time making any change that you can’t sustain for the rest of your life!