Its time to check rationalization at the door. While it is one of mans best coping skills, its a dieters biggest hurdle! What does that mean? Simply put, we can make excuses as to why we gained weight or are keeping excess weight on until the cows literally come home. But doing so isnt going to do one thing to help you actually lose the weight. I remember thinking when I was 290 pounds that in some way it was my first husbands fault. I had myself completely convinced that Baskin and Robbins Espresso and Crème light ice cream was in fact a diet food and had nothing to do with the 100 or so excess pounds of me that I was packing. I was sure that the reason I wasnt going to the gym anymore was the fault of that mean aerobics instructor the one who pointed at the mud on my shoes and asked me in front of the entire class if I was a pig. OK, lets take a closer look at my rationalization and how it hindered my weight loss success at the time. 1. Despite the unhappiness that both of us felt in our marriage, my ex did not make me eat unhealthy fast food in excess, to hit up the candy machine every afternoon when I was starving, or to gulp soft drinks by the gallon. It wasnt his fault that I stopped by the bakery every morning and bought a healthy bran muffin. Those were MY choices. I had to take ownership of them, stop rationalizing and improve my food choices or remain overweight and unhappy. 2. Just because a label says something is light doesnt make it a healthy food. You cant gobble light foods and expect to lose weight. You need to stop rationalizing that a food you LOVE is OK to eat, whether it is in moderation or excess. Its time to realize that if a food isnt healthy it isnt healthy. Sure, you can still choose to consume it, but do so with the full knowledge that it is unhealthy for you and isnt going to further your weight loss journey one bit. Its easier to make healthier choices when you stop rationalizing the unhealthy ones! 3. I am the one who walked through mud in my exercise class shoes. When the dancing started and clumps of mud began flying off of my shoes, what kind of reaction did I expect? I had used poor judgment. Regardless of how harsh the instructors response, she had a right to be annoyed with me. I needed to own up to what I had done, get over it and move on. But I spent two years mad at her and didnt work out there. DUH! What good did that do me? Can you see this dynamic and how it plays out? These are just a few of my stories. I am sure you have even better ones. Will you please share them with me? The universal truth is that if we continue to deny to rationalize the WHYs surrounding WHY we are overweight we will be so busy focusing on all of the wrong stuff that we may have trouble seeing the more clear message. That message is, Why are you letting anyone, or anything stand in the way between what you really want and what you have? There are just a few decisions that you need to make if you would like to revamp your thinking and start living healthfully in an excuse-free zone: You cant blame anyone else for your decision to eat a Big Mac, drink a Coke, and skip the gym. NO! Those are your choices and they can only be changed by you. You cant continue to eat the junk in the vending machine or the company cafeteria. You cant eat those foods and snacks and continue to beat yourself up for being chubby or any other choice words that equate with fat. The I want it part of you needs to listen more to the older and wiser I need it girl. If you want to eat something, toss it out! However if you NEED to eat it to sustain life, you get to have it. Out with the bad, in with the good! This is the toughie but you have to shake off stupid past mistakes and to shake off what the scale says you weigh right now. They are past mistakes. Rise up and move forward with dignity, strength and a belief that Yes, I can! Its OK that you got overweight it happens to 75% of us! There is no great shame in it. The only shame would be to learn how easily you can improve your weight, your health and your body but you didnt do it. That would be a huge shame. I know you can do this! I did it too! Fifteen years ago I was morbidly obese and getting unhealthier by the day. I stopped and took a long hard look at me and at my life and said loudly: NO MORE!! Since that day, there has been no more ice cream NONE! No more blaming my ex for my choices. In fact, we now get along better than ever and thats so nice for the kids. And finally, no one can make you stop or start exercising. YOU have to build a determination and tell yourself this is FUN! Encourage yourself to go again and again. You do these things and maybe enlist some really delicious healthy foods as your secret weapon and I promise you that the pounds will peel off as quickly as your self-esteem soars! Julia is the author of the best-selling weight loss books, Awaken the Diet Within (Warner Books) and The Vice Busting Diet (St. Martin's Press) -- which is endorsed by Oprah regulars Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. David L. Katz. She has been featured in Woman's World, First for Women, Glamour, Brides, Essence, USA Today and more. Having lost and kept off 130 pounds, Julia not only offers effective advice, but she also knows firsthand that her advice works! Visit http://www.ViceBusting.com for more info.