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Let’s take a little walk back in time, shall we?

Before cars, before fast food, before TV dinners, before hover boards and video games – we were a world in which eating fresh foods, walking to the store and playing outside was the norm.

What was not the norm 50 years ago? Obesity.

In the 1950s, only one out of 10 people were overweight. Today, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than one-third (35.7%) of adults are considered to be obese. More than one in 20 (6.3%) have extreme obesity. And it is estimated that 3/4 of the American population will likely be overweight or obese by 2020.

We also didn’t have labels like “low-fat,” fat-free,” or “sugar-free” on our foods because our food was not processed the way it is today. Before agriculture became big business, there were only a few options for food in the grocery store, most of them fresh from the farm. This was before there were over 60 words for sugar, before chemicals and ingredients you can’t recognize or understand became the norm on our food labels.

What will our future look like if we continue down this path? Are our children doomed?

With all of today’s temptations and modern conveniences and only more to come, we must take an active role in our health if we want to live a long and healthy life. But what does that really mean? What does that look like? It’s what I like to call a Healthy Obsession. It needs to start now and it needs to start early. A Healthy Obsession was not necessary 60 years ago because our culture wasn’t what it is today. Today, unless we possess a consistent and persistent Healthy Obsession, we make it next to impossible to live a healthy lifestyle.

A Lesson for Parents

As executive director of Wellspring Camps, a weight loss camp for teens and young adults, I have seen first-hand how the slippery slope of processed foods and inactive lifestyle of today’s kids impact their weight and overall health.

A Healthy Obsession is our most successful tool for creating behavior change in our teens and young adults struggling to lose weight. Because today’s young adults have grown up with nearly everything they need just one click away, we must teach ourselves and our kids how to make healthy decisions in the face of constant temptation.

A Healthy Obsession is NOT a diet. Both parents and kids should forget that word. Getting in a weight loss state of mind means forgetting about ever “going on a diet” again. Training your mind to change behaviors and understanding the reasons behind weight gains will give you the tools needed for creating a Healthy Obsession.

People who possess a healthy obsession describe being able to make choices about food an exercise more automatically without feeling deprived or remorseful when making a decision more in line with their goals. Once you change your mind-set you will desire those cheese smothered foods less and less!

The choices you make as a parent set the stage for your children. You are their ultimate role model and when we are surrounded by temptations of bottomless pasta bowls, foods smothered in cheese and sodas served in nearly liter portions, a daily mindset to live and choose wisely is vital to weight loss and weight management.

3 Tips to Get You Started

There are many exercises that can help move you towards a Healthy Obsession:

  1. Decision Balance Sheet – This exercise gives us the pros and cons to the decisions we make. The Decision Balance Sheet is an important tool because it will keep you mindful of the reasons you’re taking this weight-loss journey and the obstacles that are most likely to get in your way.
  2. Meta-Monitoring Diary – This daily practice will help you discover where you might have a dysfunctional relationship with food and then use the proper tools to change it.
  3. Set a Daily Goal – Set one small goal that is in line with your overall health goals each day. This will help keep you focused on what you truly want. The more you set and achieve small goals, the more confident you will be!

Most of the people who come to Wellspring Camps have a lot of weight to lose, which also puts them at the highest risk for gaining it back. The Healthy Obsession is how you combat that, and while there are many more processes and treatments, this method has helped more than 10,000 Wellspring campers achieve weight-loss success.

And if you are of the scientific mind and need statistics, a professional review of 22 weight-control studies published in the medical journal Obesity Reviews found that behavior-centered programs such as Wellspring’s produced a 191% greater reduction in weight loss at the programs’ end than approaches that did not include behavior therapy.

Years of unhealthy behaviors may be hard to change, but it can be done. Thousands of graduates of Wellspring are proof. And the 11-Steps outlined in my new book, Brain Powered Weight Loss, will help you go about it. Find out more about Wellspring Camps and get you and your kids on the way to long-term weight loss and weight management.