7 Reasons Why Dieters Give Up (And How YOU Can Make It Happen This Year)

scaleMost of us understand that “New Year’s resolutions” rarely last into mid-January – much less for the entire year!

What goes wrong?

And more importantly…how can YOU avoid the typical traps?

Here are 7 of the most important reasons dieters give up on goals and on themselves.

1. Ownership

“I wasn’t sure that this approach would work in the first place. I tried it out – I couldn’t stick to it, so it didn’t do me any good. As I guessed, this was a waste of time! “

One of the biggest mistakes in all of dieting is to shift from one approach to the next, trying out one approach or another, but never really sticking to one thing.

Most diets hold out the promise that “this will be easy and painless and make you slimmer.” What people don’t want to face is the real problem. It is seldom the diet itself or the dieter. The real problem is the underlying reason why diets are impossible to follow. That is, almost no one has the willpower to follow a diet consistently.

And that is why diets are notorious for producing only temporary success. But when the diet fails, we blame ourselves. Diets have a 95% failure rate. Yet because we achieved temporary success, we blame ourselves rather than the diet that is near impossible to follow.

The problem with the “this will make you slimmer” approach is that the emphasis is on the “this” and not the “you.” Ultimately only you can make you slimmer and healthier. Healthy eating is a lifelong process. The more you commit to behavior change because you believe in the process, the more the process is likely to work for you.

In other words, change needs to happen internally, without relying on external pressures or limitations. The more you feel the diet is being imposed upon you or that you are just casually “trying it out,” the less likely the process is to work.

Health coaches that have the greatest success in helping clients achieve long-term change have learned a great lesson – don’t work with clients who don’t “buy in” to the process.

Personally, I prefer intentions to goals, because intentions come from “inside” the client and are not just externally imposed without any clear internal commitment. Clients who want to achieve any goal, such as weight loss, know that they are ultimately responsible for their own success.

2. Time

“I had no idea that this process would take so long. I am not sure that it is worth it!”
Dieters have a natural tendency to underestimate the time needed to reach a goal.

Everything seems to take longer than we think that it should! When a goal takes longer than we think it should, then it’s easy to feel defeated, get discouraged and be tempted to give up the goal.

Busy, impatient people who are used to achieving success quickly can be even more time-sensitive than the general population. Harried dieters often want to “check the box” and assume that once they understand what to do, their problems are solved. If only the real world were that simple.

In setting goals, it is important to be realistic about the time needed to achieve a positive, long-term change in behavior. Habits that have taken 48 years to develop will not go away in a week.

Most people want to be 3 sizes smaller yesterday. But when time frames are realistic and as you face challenges along the way with the support of your coach, then you don’t feel like there is something wrong with you.

Setbacks are a normal part of the change process. Ultimately as your behaviors and habits shift to a new normal, weight and health start to change as well.

3. Difficulty

“This is a lot harder than I thought it would be. It sounded so simple when we were starting out!”

Not only does everything take longer than we think it will – it requires more hard work! Dieters often confuse two terms that appear to be the same, but are actually quite different – simple and easy.

We want to believe that once we understand a simple concept, it will be easy to follow a plan and achieve the outcome we want. If this were true, everyone who understood that they should eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly would be in good shape. Diet books are almost always at the top of the best seller lists.

Most dieters know what to do. The steps to getting healthy and in shape are quite simple. But our challenge for getting healthier and in shape is not in understanding what to do. It is doing it consistently!

Long-term change requires real effort. For example, it can be challenging for busy people to have the discipline to change long-term habits. Even when we understand the need to change and have a great desire to change, it is still hard to hang in there consistently to do what it takes to change.

In setting goals it is important to realize and accept that real change will take real work. Accepting the diet promise that “this will be easy” and “this will be no problem for you” can backfire in the long-term when you realize that change is not easy and you will face some problems in the journey.

Change invariably has a cost. This cost is why many people never get started or don’t stick to a plan. The cost may be eating less of foods you love or changing portion sizes and working to become more aware of your emotions and stress triggers that cause the urge to eat. In some cases, other people may not be happy if you lose weight.

Understanding the price of success in the beginning of the change process will help prevent disappointment that can occur when challenges arise later in the change process.

4. Distractions

“I would really like to work toward my goal, but I really have a lot going on right now… It might be better if I just stopped and did this at a time when things weren’t so crazy.”

Dieters have a tendency to underestimate the distractions and competing goals that will invariably show up once you set the goal.

A good coach can warn you that something may come up to throw you off course. This distraction could be an unexpected problem or an opportunity. If you assume that unexpected distractions and competing goals will occur, then you’ll feel more prepared when it happens. By planning for distractions in advance, dieters can set realistic expectations for change and be less likely to give up on the change process when either special problems or special opportunities emerge.

5. Rewards

“Why am I working so hard at this? After all of my effort, no one’s even noticing.”
Dieters tend to become disappointed when the achievement of one goal doesn’t immediately translate into the achievement of other goals. For example, a dieter who loses weight may give up on the weight loss effort when no one takes notice. Or worse, when the attention gained makes you uncomfortable.

There’s usually some desire beyond just losing the weight.

What do you want the weight loss to do for you? Make you more confident, more socially at ease or comfortable in a love relationship?

Sometimes weight loss can help with those things, but not always. And if that is what you are trying to achieve, then you can be going down the wrong road, which will only help you fail faster.

We want what we want for how we think it will make us feel.

If that feeling is not achieved, then it’s easy to get discouraged. To combat this, if you want weight loss to help you feel more confident, then think about what you can do to feel more confident now.

Think of any long-term goal, like weight loss, as an investment in yourself and your own development – something that will give you confidence in yourself over time.

6. Not taking a holistic approach

“I just want to lose weight quickly and not think about anything else.”

Losing weight is far more than “eat less, exercise more.” In fact, I tell my clients that weight loss is about your whole life.

When you set a weight loss goal, all the focus goes on the weight. Unfortunately the number on the scale is not something you can easily control. So it’s better to take a holistic approach and look at every area of your life that may need an upgrade.

Do you need to reduce stress or improve a relationship? Many people need to work on improving life skills, such as assertiveness and managing feelings and stress without reaching for donuts.

Unless you work on these areas alongside the weight goal, the success you achieve may be short lived.

7. Maintenance – not taking a long-term approach.

“I did better when I had a coach, but I have let it slide since then. What am I supposed to do – work on this stuff the rest of my life?”

Once a dieter has put in all of the effort needed to achieve a goal, it can be tough to face the reality of maintaining changed behavior. One of the first reactions of many dieters upon reaching their weight goal is to think, “This is great! Now I can eat again. Let’s celebrate with some pizza tonight!” Of course this mindset leads to future weight gain and the “yo-yo” effect that is unfortunately so common in dieters.

Weight loss is a process – not a state. Even when we get to a certain number on the scale, there are certain challenges. Most dieters say that it’s harder to maintain the weight than to lose it.

Goals like losing weight are more of a marathon, not a sprint. It’s better to embrace the messiness of life and the fact that there is always something to work on and learn and develop in ourselves than just focusing on getting there quickly.

The shift I made:

I used to begin every January with an intense focus and determination to lose weight. This goal meant that I had to try to control many areas of my life. My focus invariably disappeared as the messiness and uncontrollability of life quickly reasserted itself.
When I shifted my focus from losing weight to improving my health and my relationship with food, paradoxically that is when my weight started to change.

Rather than using a weight goal, I focused on upgrading my health, reducing stress and simplifying my routines, so that I could enjoy my life more. I focused on becoming kinder, more compassionate and forgiving while I was slowly learning how to let go of unhealthy habits.

Eating healthy is a lifelong goal. Eating better is something we can work on every day. It doesn’t occur because someone “got better” and stayed in this state of “betterness” forever.

In Summary

You can either set goals that increase your probability of long-term change, or goals that may feel good in the short-term, but lead to disillusionment and “giving up” in the long-term.
In reality there are no “easy answers.” There is only learning about yourself and being willing to let yourself be in the process of learning and growing. Maybe you aren’t exactly where you want to be yet. But you can always be in the process of learning and improving your health and wellbeing.

Real change requires real commitment, real effort and real time. Distractions and stress are going to occur. The “quick fix” is never a long-term fix and probably not a healthy fix at all. Losing weight and getting in shape will not solve all of life’s problems, but they can be made simpler.

And we need to commit to lifelong learning and development of our most precious asset – ourselves, our health and our wellbeing.

Deep down, we know these truths, and yet we are drawn to the promise of the quick fix!
But we are also drawn to want to be our best selves and to make solid changes we can count on.

Weight loss is an issue where most people have had more failure than success. Successful people are not afraid of challenging goals, even when they have failed in the past.

But what’s needed is a realistic look at what needs to change, and then working steadily toward where you want to be. You don’t have to do it alone. You only have to commit to the path. A coach is a mentor who can help you build and maintain the belief that this goal is possible, in spite of distractions, tempting food, and unexpected challenges or opportunities.

This goal is possible both in spite of you and your natural tendency to go off course and because of you, and your determination to be the best you can be.

Don’t settle for the quick answers or the sprint mindsets. Your health and wellbeing are too important.

Mind Over Milkshakes: How Your Mind Can Change Your Metabolism

Ever try to change your metabolism?

Heh – it’s not that easy.

Or is it?

Maybe you just went about it the wrong way.


Psychologist Alia Crum’s research, dubbed the “Mind Over Milkshakes” experiment, shows that changing your digestion, and possibly your metabolism is only a matter of using your mind.

On 2 separate occasions, participants consumed a 380-calorie milkshake under the pretense that it was either a 620-calorie “indulgent” shake (“Decadence You Deserve”) or a 140-calorie “sensible” shake (“Guilt-free Satisfaction.”)

When participants were led into having an indulgent mindset, it actually affected their digestion. They had a dramatically steeper decline in ghrelin than those who thought they were consuming a “sensible” milkshake. Ghrelin is the “hunger hormone” that is responsible for us seeking food and becoming ravenous when hungry.

Ghrelin is the hormone that causes us to reach for another cookie just because we remember how good the last one tasted. People given this hormone in studies become so ravenous that they eat markedly more than their usual food intake. In short, ghrelin is one the driving forces of overeating.

While eating, ghrelin levels normally change, spiking downwards, basically speeding up your metabolism and telling you that you are full.

When ghrelin levels are low after a large meal, we feel satisfied and no longer seek out food. In Crum’s studies, the ghrelin levels of participants who “thought” they were drinking an indulgent 620-calorie shake dramatically decreased. The participants felt more satisfied than those who “thought” they were drinking a “sensible” shake.

In fact, both groups drank the same milkshake. The only difference was how the shakes were labeled. The “sensible” shake was labeled as having no fat, no added sugar and low calorie. Ghrelin levels in these participants were unchanged.

What this means is that your beliefs may have a more significant impact on driving down your appetite than the actual calorie count. This finding shows one reason why “diet” foods do not help us lose weight. They don’t give us the signal that we are satisfied and it’s time to stop eating.

Even though salads can be quite indulgent, for instance, many people can’t get themselves to eat it because it reminds them of dieting. Or it just doesn’t seem like a “satisfying” meal.

Other people think they are eating “light” when they order salad, and then piling on the dressing and rich toppings. If you “think” your salad is rich and indulgent, you may get the added benefit of feeling full and satisfied, regardless of the calorie count.

Food labeling is a tangled mess easily manipulated by the food industry. A product may be labeled “low-fat” (because it is lower in fat than a full fat option) but still be a high-fat food. A food product might be a good source of fiber but still have a sugar content that is exorbitantly high.

What does seem true is that:

1. The old metabolic formula “calories in…calories out” has a few more holes punched in it.
2. Labels are not just labels. They evoke a set of beliefs.
3. There are no idle beliefs. We don’t give them enough credit for how much they influence our physiology.

We’ve always known that our minds are powerful. Maybe now, we just need to practice how we think about what we eat. I’d say that it’s a lot easier to fool your stomach by using your mindset than to change your metabolism using exercise alone.

It may come down to how we think about salad.

Eat healthy. Think indulgent 🙂

My Love-Hate Relationship With Sugar

There are a LOT of reasons to stop eating sugar besides weight loss. eft_for_cravings250

My dentist says if I want to have better dental health, I have to stop feeding the bacteria in my mouth (read: Stop Eating Sugar.)

My physical therapist says if I want to have less pain, I need to reduce the inflammation in my gut (read: Stop Eating Sugar.)

I just can’t.

At least not completely.

So I’ve managed to create my own low-sugar substitutes that are very satisfying.

But give it up altogether?

Not happening…

Here’s what I CAN do – (and what you can do too.)

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My Low Sugar Plan
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1. Choose to eat less sugar (by choice.)

That means less sugar AND less food that turns into sugar quickly, i.e. bread, pasta, potatoes.

2. Choose mostly low sugar substitutes.

For instance, if I want something sweet, I may choose a scone over a cookie because it is half the amount of sugar.

3. If I’m going to have junk food, I make it myself.

It’s amazing what you can make without white flour! (See #2) I make my own scones using almond flour.
Yum!

4. Train yourself to prefer low sugar treats.

Most of the time, I’m not tempted by sweets in the grocery store because I know I can make it better (and healthier) myself.

5. When I do eat something high in sugar, I savor…

That way … I usually need less of it.

Most of the flavor is in the first 2 bites!

None of these strategies are hard. It just takes a
“willingness” to do them consistently.

If this topic interests you, let me know in the comments and I’ll share some of my recipes with you next time.

What Story Do You Tell Yourself?

eft_weight_loss_confidenceYou tell yourself a story inside your head every day.

Our stories are based on past experiences and the beliefs we form because of those experiences. We often create limitations in our minds that are usually untrue.

Our stories can play like a soundtrack in the back of our minds.

If you listen for that small, quiet voice, you’ll catch yourself. The story makes up a big part of who you tell yourself you are. And to a large extent, you play out the story in life.

  • Are you playing small in order to avoid conflict?
  • Are you withdrawing from relationships in order to avoid pain?
  • Is your story worn out and no longer relevant?
  • Is it causing you to feel bad about yourself? To limit yourself?

Your story will either empower you or limit you. If you tell yourself you “can’t” or you aren’t “_________ enough” (fill in the blank – smart, disciplined, strong, etc.), those are all versions of the same dis-empowering “I’m not enough” story.

Or you may tell yourself something about the task, like “it’s too hard.” Do you believe that losing weight is hard? Perhaps that is how you perceived it in the past. But if you continue to echo that story now, you make it a reality.

If the challenge you are facing is big enough, the “not enough” story will show up. That’s because you are venturing out of your comfort zone.

You can do some investigative work and ask yourself “Where did I learn that?” A memory may come to mind. But even if it doesn’t, it serves you to create a new story. (Note to self: you can use tapping to uncover and change old stories.)

One of my favorite stories that I *choose* to tell myself when I’m facing a challenge is this: “If other people can do it, then I can do it too.” This makes so much logical sense to me, that I don’t have any other choice but to keep moving forward 🙂

I don’t worry about “how” I’m going to do it. The “how” is generally revealed after I make the commitment.

You either use your stories to your advantage, or they limit you. If you tell yourself the right story, then you keep moving forward, no matter what. Yes, you may feel more vulnerable, but you will also feel more passionate, more loving and more alive…maybe even unstoppable.

What If You Had To Post Everything you Ate Online?

What if you had to take a picture of everything you ate before you ate it AND post it online for all to see?

I decided to do an experiment and do just that. I wanted to see if it would influence what I ate. Here’s the results:

I started at 6:00 p.m.

This is my preferred meal for dinner. I like to eat my lightest meal at night. I just feel better that way.

Ok … It’s not a great picture, so it may not look so delicious or filling, but it is.

Although the ingredients vary, I usually have a large salad with greens, broccoli sprouts, tomatoes, avocado, walnuts and boiled egg. I use my favorite homemade tahini dressing – very rich and filling. Between the dressing, the avocado and walnuts, there are plenty of good fats that are rich and satisfying. Continue reading

Your Story Matters

You tell yourself a story inside your head every day.  Our stories are based on past experiences and the beliefs we form because of those experiences. We create limitations in our minds that are usually untrue.

Our stories can play like a soundtrack in the back of our minds.

If you listen for that  small, quiet voice, you’ll catch yourself. The story makes up a big part of who you tell yourself you are. And to a large extent, you play out the story in life.

Are you playing small in order to avoid conflict?

Are you withdrawing from relationships in order to avoid pain?

Is your story worn out and no longer relevant?

Is it causing you to feel bad about yourself? To limit yourself?

Your story will either empower you or limit you. If you tell yourself you “can’t” or you aren’t “_________ enough” (fill in the blank – smart, disciplined, strong, etc.), those are all versions of the same dis-empowering “I’m not enough” story.

Or you may tell yourself something about the task, like “it’s too hard.” Do you believe that losing weight is hard? Perhaps that is how you perceived it in the past. But if you continue to echo that story now, you make it a reality.

If the challenge you are facing is big enough, the “not enough” story will show up. That’s because you are venturing out of your comfort zone.

You can do some investigative work and ask yourself “Where did I learn that?” A memory may come to mind. But even if it doesn’t, it serves you to create a new story. (Note to self: you can use tapping to uncover and change old stories.)

One of my favorite stories that I *choose* to tell myself when I’m facing a challenge is this: “If other people can do it, then I can do it too.” This makes so much logical sense to me, that I don’t have any other choice but to keep moving forward 🙂

I don’t worry about “how” I’m going to do it. The “how” is generally revealed after I make the commitment.

You either use your stories to your advantage, or they limit you. If you tell yourself the right story, then you keep moving forward, no matter what. Yes, you may feel more vulnerable, but you will also feel more passionate, more loving and more alive…maybe even unstoppable.

Why Weight Loss Is a Terrible Goal

What does an apple, a football scoreboard and someone loving you have in common?

Weight loss is a terrible goal – partly because it’s not controllable. You can plant an apple tree, water it, fertilize it, nurture it, but you can’t make it grow an apple, not any more than a football player can control the scoreboard, or any more than you can make someone love you…

You can’t control the results.

We think we can…we want to…but we can’t control results. So you don’t want to be attached to getting results in a certain time, in a certain way. Focus less on the results and more on the causes.

1. Weight loss, as your goal, increases pressure. No one needs more pressure in their lives, especially to control something as elusive as weight loss.

2. You can’t control it – any more than a football player can control the numbers on the scoreboard. Willpower gets depleted easily. You can be doing everything right and still not lose weight.

3. You judge yourself by the numbers on the scale.

Do you see this when you wake up in the morning?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or do you tend to judge yourself by the numbers on the scale?

It’s best not to have your self worth tied to something that you can achieve or not achieve.

A better goal is to maintain psychological balance. You do that by taking care of your feelings and taking care of you. Tapping can help you feel more comfortable with saying yes to you and to break free of these patterns.

4. Weight loss is an inside job. Once you set a weight loss goal, all the focus goes onto the weight and how to get rid of it, and is no longer on the feelings that drive the behavior. It goes onto eating less and exercising more, instead of the internal work that needs to be done, and since we don’t like to be told what to do… even by ourselves… we end up in the same old vicious cycle. Until you feel the feelings, name them, deal with them, feel them… it won’t end. Your job is to feel your feelings. If you are going to force yourself to do something, force yourself to sit with your feelings.

5. Losing weight is a marathon… not a sprint – Most people want to be 3 sizes smaller yesterday. But, there are lots of emotional and physical pitfalls. So commit for the long run, change your thinking, learn to manage your moods, and stop fretting about the day-to-day stuff. Work on managing emotions, confidence and perseverance – learn how to get back on track more quickly when you tumble off the track (we all do.)

6. Weight loss goals toy with your identity – your sense of who you are.

  • Who are you as a thin person?
  • Who are you if you aren’t struggling with your weight?

This obsession with food and weight can become such a huge part of your life. So when you start having success, you can start to feel uncomfortable, but you don’t know why. You only know that you keep sabotaging yourself.

Many people dislke getting too much attention and don’t want to be noticed. One client says it this way “As soon as I get the first compliment, I throw in an extra bagel.” Perhaps you are afraid of negative reactions of other people – some people have negative views of thin people, so they don’t want to be viewed as that.

7. Weight loss is an insidious problem. It’s hard to maintain your confidence and easy to become discouraged by slow or inconsistent results and cycles of self-sabotage.

A better goal is tending to your emotional well being – your psychological balance. This is a global factor that will affect everything else. Contentment and peace with your body and getting to your natural weight spring from clarity and a feeling of freedom, not from force or strength.

Weight loss is at least 90% psychological. Tend to your thoughts, feelings and habits. Where are you on the emotional scale? Where are you on the worthiness scale?

Paradoxically, focusing less on the results and more on the causes improves the odds of getting the results you want.

Here are 3 guidelines on goals:

  1. Goals should be activity goals, rather than outcome goals, like weight loss. When you focus on the activity goals that are going to get you to the outcome, then you don’t get worn out and frustrated stressing about the outcome.
  2. Make your goals small. Losing weight slowly is a good thing because it’s something you can maintain. If it’s too big, you just keep sabotaging.
  3. Commit to less rather than more. Eating right is a long-term goal. Eating better is infinitely more doable. It’s something we can do right now.

Why Can’t I Lose Weight?

Actually, you can. It may not be easy. But you can.

The real problem is with keeping it off. Wouldn’t you love to have kept off every pound you have ever lost? We’d all be super thin! And there’d be no need to keep losing the same weight over and over again. No wonder people give up!

Name anything that you want. More money … a slim body … a red convertible.

Now … why don’t you have it?

I’ll tell you why. It has nothing to do with calories, carbohydrates, a slow metabolism, your mother’s physique, how much you don’t exercise, or anything else outside of yourself. It’s in your own mind.

Not even in your thoughts or your conscious mind. The roadblock is deeper – buried in your subconscious mind. When you are trying to lose weight and you aren’t getting there, chances are, your subconscious holds some conflicting intentions.

Simply said — You want something and it doesn’t.

Your conscious (logical) mind is like the rider. The subconscious (emotional) mind is like the elephant you are trying to steer. As long as the elephant wants to go in the same direction as the rider, there’s not a problem. But when the emotional mind wants something else, the rider has very little control.

Think about it – Are you giving yourself contradictory instructions, such as “I want to lose weight” and “I want those double chocolate espresso brownies?”

Notice anything strange about those 2 statements? Those are like orders to your subconscious mind — and they are going in 2 different directions. After years of such frustrating and contradictory messages, your subconscious mind gives up and stops listening to what your conscious mind wants. Nothing changes.

In other words, you cancel out your own request. You think “I want to lose weight,” and right after that, you think “but I HATE dieting, and that would be hard, and it probably won’t last anyway, so why bother?”

As a result, you don’t get what you want.

The subconscious emotional mind wins every time.

But I have good news for you. You can learn some simple techniques to end this mental self-sabotage. It won’t happen automatically. There are processes, like EFT and Z Point that work with the body and the subconscious mind.

Your subconscious habits govern your behavior. As an infant, you learn to cry when you are hungry. As a young child, someone probably gave you sweets when you were upset. You learned that you could feel calmer when you eat them. It becomes a subconscious habit — an automatic response, just like an infant’s cry. But these automatic responses lose their effectiveness as we grow older. If an adult keeps throwing a bigger and bigger tantrum, they just look silly, and alienate other people in the process.

Why? The subconscious habit they learned as an infant now works against them. And soothing yourself with food as you did when you are a child works against you as an adult. For you to be successful at things that seem impossible, those outdated subconscious patterns have to be changed into new patterns that support your ability to get what you want.

And keep it.

Psychology Of Eating

psychology of eating It’s time for the psychology of eating. After all, you’ve tried all the diets. You’ve counted calories, carbohydrates and fat grams.

You’ve studied every food combination ever invented and used your own body as a laboratory. They work—temporarily.

They may even work for months at a time and you think you’ve finally licked it. You have found the answer. But then slowly… insidiously… you start to regain. The pounds creep back on. You do what the books tell you to do. You try to lose it again right away, but you feel it slipping away.

This is the psychology of eating at work.

Continue reading

Faster EFT For Stress and Weight Loss

Last week, I interviewed Robert Smith of FasterEFT.com Robert has done a lot with EFT for weight loss and stress reduction. He explains the concepts in really simple terms. If you could use some stress relief, try using EFT regularly. Robert’s EFT methods are definitely worth checking out. They are fast ways to reduce stress, and they work!

If you aren’t familiar with Robert, he trains people all over the world in his method, FasterEFT, and has a huge following as a life coach and a respected leader in the field of personal growth. He is one of the world’s leading experts on stress, spirituality and healing.

Robert is known for his sense of humor, his ability to simplify the complex and his dynamic training style. His quest is a spiritual one and, accordingly, he is an ordained minister. His message is, “You can live a stress free life and be successful in everything you do.”

Robert even came through with a special offer at the very last minute for my readers only on EFT for weight loss.

Check this out now – not sure how long he will make this available for us.