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Science tells us that being thin doesn't make you happy. Science tells us that being happy makes you thin.
Hundreds of millions of women in the English-speaking world owned Barbie dolls when they were children. Barbie had a totally compliant boyfriend named Ken. Barbie was blond, rolled around in a convertible, lived in a huge house, and could change hair styles in a minute or less. Barbie led the perfect life. And one more thing: Barbie was thin.

You may save months of frustrated dieting with disheartening and, in you participate in a commercial weight loss program, expensive setbacks if you buy that outfit or have that makeover before you start you start diet and/or exercise to lose weight. Everything you can do to see yourself in a better light gives you the confidence to stay on your program even if you don't lose weight each and every day—or each and every week.

2. Do a hard weight loss program rather than an easy weight loss program.

Self-esteem helps you stick to your health goals. A weight loss program that requires demonstrated self-discipline and intelligent decisions helps you feel good about yourself, and feeling good about yourself helps you lose weight.

One of the best examples of a weight loss program that is easy to understand but that takes real effort and gets real results is intermittent fasting, popularized by Canadian exercise physiologist and weight loss expert Brad Pilon as "Eat, Stop, Eat."

Short-term fasting, that is, simply not eating for 18 to 24 hours at a time, causes two beneficial changes in your body. Your brain secretes growth hormone to protect the protein in your muscles. Despite what you may have heard, it takes about 48 hours for the body to run so short on specific amino acids that it starts stripping them out of muscle. That's because growth hormone protects your muscles. It also helps your body respond better to sex hormones, reduces anxiety, and rejuvenates your skin. You will lose more weight with less effort if you can simply go 18 hours (skipping either breakfast or dinner) or 24 hours (skipping both lunch and either breakfast or dinner) about twice a week.

Even if you eat too much when you break your fast, if you simply don't eat for 17 to 18 hours, your body will start burning fat as fuel. An 18-hour fast completely stops fat storage—you can't burn fat and store it at the same time—and lets you specifically burn fat calories. Your body will have to create new fat storage enzymes when you start eating again, so you get one meal at which you can eat a little more (after eating nothing at all) and still not gain weight.

But more importantly, it takes real self-discipline simply to skip a meal and not raid the refrigerator until the next day. Because you feel better about your self-discipline, you will also find it easier to follow through on your diet resolutions.

3. Make sure you find time for rest and relaxation.

It's also easier to feel good about the way you look, which helps you keep your diet resolutions, if you learn to handle stress well enough that you can simply have unscheduled time at least one hour a day. This means that part of losing weight may be managing your family obligations, or your working hours, or your hobbies so that aren't constantly on the go. When you have your life under enough control you really can simply relax once in a while, your stress levels will be lower, you'll feel better about yourself, and you will be more resolute about your choices for healthy, lower-weight living.