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How can I keep up my motivation over the long term?

Maintaining motivation is crucial for long-term success. Initially, you might be rewarded all the time, as you see the scale moving daily or weekly, start fitting into smaller-sized clothes, and get compliments on how you look. But the rate of weight loss inevitably slows, so then the motivation must come from within.

You must keep reminding yourself of your reasons for taking care of your body and putting in the effort. Keep a written list of reasons and refer to them often. A photo of yourself at your start weight can be a helpful reminder of how far you’ve come.

It also helps to rely on others who will help you stick to your plan. This could be a personal trainer, or your health care provider, or a support group. The more authority you give them and the more accountable you feel to them, the more likely you are to maintain your weight loss. You may want to find someone who isn’t so polite -- often, the drill sergeant approach is the most effective.

How do I know if weight loss surgery is right for me?

I’m a big advocate of weight loss surgery for people who qualify – they either have a BMI over 40 or a BMI over 35 with a related medical problem. It’s a last resort, but it’s very effective. Still, I think most people would rather try a strategy focused on healthier eating and increased exercise first.

How can I overcome emotional eating?

Almost all of us eat for comfort sometimes, but some people have a severe problem with emotional eating. Ideally, resolving the underlying causes or stressors is the best idea. Many psychologists specialize in this area. Overeaters Anonymous and similar groups can also be very helpful. For many, finding simple logistical solutions -- like getting the junk food or other trigger foods out of the house -- can work really well.

It feels like my friends and family want me to stay heavy. How can I prevent weight loss sabotage?

Almost everybody -- your friends, your family and your doctor -- want you to succeed. But your losing weight can trigger unhelpful responses in some people.

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