In 2018, To Lose Weight, Think Like a Savvy Shopper

This can be the year you learn how to solve your weight problem forever!

photo courtesy of at Unsplash

After 25 years of yo-yo dieting and gaining weight, I discovered how to succeed at permanent weight loss, lost 140 pounds, and I have maintained that success for over 30 years. I’ve taught thouands how to do what I did, and here are some of the things I teach:

To Lose weight permanently, what you think is a lot more important than what you eat.

Thinking about calories as if they were dollars is one of the ways that will help you lose weight with more ease. To lose weight permanently, we need to start thinking differently. I can teach you how, and that will make weight control much easier and much more enjoyable. One of the ways to think differently is to think like a savvy shopper.

Calories are good, not bad, just like money is good!

Money is not bad, just like calories. The problem comes when we spend too much, more than our budget allows. We’ll go bankrupt if we are careless and irresponsible with money. If we’re that way with calories, we’ll get fat. Either outcome is painful and entirely avoidable. If we have habits of living within the budgets, we can avoid losing our good credit and avoid being overweight too.

When you find out what your metabolic rate is, you’ll find that you get a very nice paycheck every week. A woman 5'6" with average activity habits burns about 2000 calories per day or about 14,000 calories a week. If you develop the right habits, you’ll find that you can create a lifestyle where you can eat just about everything you like, even go out to dinner and parties on a regular basis, and not gain weight.

Look at the price tags.

What would happen if you just charged up everything you liked at the mall without looking at the price tags? At the fancy mall near me, you’d go broke before you even made it out the door. Who, besides spendthrifts, would ever even consider buying everything they liked without looking to see the cost? Yet that’s what most people do everyday with food. They have no idea what the caloric cost is of the things they normally eat. I know, because I have my clients eat normally the first week of the training, but keep an accounting of the calories. They are stunned! I’ve had clients get a “coffee” on the way to work and then find out they were spending 600 calories of their day’s budget even before they had lunch, a 1200 calorie salad. They were thinking they were cutting back, but in reality, they had been blowing their whole paycheck by noon!

People who are successful at permanent weight loss don’t eat without thinking. We don’t put anything in our mouths without knowing the calories that are in it. It’s just too easy to say “yes” to a snack like a friend’s whole grain muffin (how bad could it be?) and then find out you just blew 500 calories. Look at the caloric price tags, be savvy, and if you don’t know what something costs, don’t eat it. Think of the calories like dollars and remember what your budget is.

Develop the “comfort range” of your spending habits.

Have you noticed that you’ve developed a “comfort range” with your spending habits that unconsciously helps you to stay within your means? Certain restaurants feel right, but in some 5-star $$$$ places, you are uncomfortable. You might consider the 5-star $$$$ place way too expensive, except for perhaps a special anniversary. They are just outside of your comfort range. You probably have the same sixth sense about hotels or resorts. Some feel OK, but some are just not for you. It’s the same with cars and other purchases. Your knowledge about your budget and what things cost automatically keeps you within your comfort range.

You can develop this same kind of savvy mechanism for your weight control when you program in all the information about your caloric budget and the caloric costs of the foods you like.

Find the best bang for your buck (calorie).

It doesn’t take long for us to start seeing food in a whole new light. Some of the things we used to relish now look like a real bad deal. “What a rip-off!”, clients say about an Outback Blooming’ Onion at 2000 calories. “What a great deal!”, they’ll say about a Red Lobster shrimp cocktail at 130 calories. Foods start to look good or bad, depending on the cost in calories. Full-fat mayo looks like a real bad buy at 100 calories per tablespoon. It’s not worth the calories when you can use low-fat mayo at 15 calories. Vegetables start looking better than they ever have, a real bargain at 50 calories a cup compared with rice at 200.

Give yourself a break. Make it automatic. Make it easy.

The key to success with permanent weight loss is trading in the fat-producing habits for fit-producing habits. And the key to that is using behavioral therapy techniques to program in habits that are more satisfying than the old ones. It’s kind of like brainwashing.

That means that you need to eat what you like in new ways to lose weight. That means you have to create ways that are more rewarding than the old ways, not less. Feeling deprived and punished is not going to help. Behavioral psychology teaches us that we will automatically be irresistibly drawn to and crave what tickles our fancy, so we need to learn to eat what we like in a way that feels better than the old way. We need to reprogram our brain to extinguish the fat-producing habits and addictions, and create addictions to habits that make us maintain a healthy weight.

If you want to solve your weight problem, lose weight and keep it off, believe me, you can. Thousands have been successful, and the first thing they did was to learn how to operate their computer-like brain to reprogram our habits. Just gritting your teeth and trying to use “will-power” doesn’t work for most people. We need to start thinking and using our brains in a new way. One great way is to start thinking about calories in a new way, thinking like a savvy shopper. Read or listen to my book for lots of other great ideas.

William Anderson is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor who specializes in weight loss, eating disorders and addictions. He was an obese heavy smoker and workaholic until his early thirties, and burned out, but survived and changed direction. He changed in many ways, among them, losing 140 pounds permanently. Health, in a holistic way, is now his mission. He is the author of The Anderson Method of Permanent Weight Loss.

Originally published at on April 21, 2017.

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