I remember changing my life more than four years ago. It was a Friday night. Buzzed on a vintage Chianti, I had just devoured several large slabs of cheese pizza. And if memory serves me, some double-stuffed Oreos, too. I lit a cigarette (that’s right, it keeps getting worse), sunk down low and contemplated the future by having some dialogue with my inner fat girl: What’s the plan, lady? When are you going to change your ways? I am so tired of being fat. All the binging on the weekends. And during the week, I starve myself. Monday through Friday, I kill myself at the gym. Because I can barely breathe during my work out (thanks to our two-pack a day habit). And I’m too scared to weigh myself. I mean, why bother; the jeans are just as tight as last week…

And then another thought popped into my head like a camera flash. There was this pretty girl who sat across from me at work. She had scrawled the name of a web site on a post-it note and had given it to me as an answer to my question. We were exchanging war stories on our battle of the bulge. And I gawked at her incredulously and asked, “How did you get so skinny?”

Frantic, I jumped from the couch and in my drunken stupor, poured out the entire contents of my purse until that yellow post-it note peeked out from the mess. I grabbed it and hopped on-line. “This will be my salvation,” I said to my cat Lydia, who sat on the desk, eyeing me suspiciously. Tears began to well and my heart filled with hope as I logged on to weightwatchers.com.

Immediately, I got “on plan”, signed up and stayed awake until 4 a.m. leaning how to count Points based on portion size and discovering new food options. The program seemed do-able and before I knew it, I was losing one to two pounds each week. I went from 185 (gulp) to 170. Then to 160. And then down to 150. I’m skipping a lot here, leaving out many exciting details including the drama of smoking my final cigarette (I switched over to the Patch and then to Nicorette). Four and a half years later, the fat is gone, no more smoking (never cheated once) and I am still enjoying the lifestyle Weight Watchers taught me. I believe the plan worked for me because I was ready. It all started by me hitting rock bottom.

So now I pose the question to you: Are you there yet? Have you hit your bottom? Are you tired of the diet pills and shakes, the eat-two-bowls-of-cereal-a-day plan, or drink-three-shakes-then-eat-a-sensible-meal program (how can anyone eat a sensible, well-balanced meal after depriving oneself for a full eight hours?). Are you sick of the failed attempts that left you with tight Best SARM Stack for Cutting and Weight Loss clothes and fat rolls? Yes, yes and yes, I presume.

The truth is, to lose weight and keep it off, takes time. Patience. I know you don’t want to hear this, but the standard one to two pound loss per week is realistic; any plan that promises “more” is a scheme — one designed to trick you to spend your money and make someone else richer. Sad but true. As long as there are fat folks who are desperate for a quick and easy answer, the multi-billion dollar diet industry and its bank accounts will continue to swell. While the overweight masses spend money and suffer the consequences from diets that leave you fatter than when you started.

But forget the scam artists and all their hokey ads and empty promises. Let’s get you started on the right foot. So you want to lose weight. Do you want to keep it off? I know the answer, but it’s worth asking anyway. Because any product or plan that promises fast results in record time is trying to sell you something that is impossible to achieve. Remember, if there’s money to be made and suckers to be had, the product or plan will exist. You’ve heard of Photoshop, right? Most of those models in ads have been cut, reduced and snipped in all the right places with just a few clicks of the mouse. And in so far as pre-packaged diets with food that has been prepared, portioned and frozen (gross, yet how convenient, right?) — well, you are paying a price for all that convenience. Not just in money, but chances are once you go back to real food, it will taste so damn good (compared to the frozen pre-packaged crap) that no amount of willpower will prevent you from devouring the whole box. Forget the single serving; you will binge (and I have heard that from so many people who’ve spent hundreds of dollars on such diets). What’s the point of buying a product or joining a program when odds are you’ll gain the weight back (and then some) after the plan ends. That’s the key! The plan can never end! The plan you choose must turn into a lifestyle for you. Otherwise, the weight’s coming right back.