Advice on success in career, weight loss, resiliency and public speaking

Four million people have attended Tony Robbins’ self-improvement workshops. 50 million have bought his books and recordings. He has been a consultant to Bill Clinton, Mother Theresa, Oprah, Mikhail Gorbachev, Princess Diana, and Nelson Mandela. And he’s the subject of the just-released documentary, I Am Not Your Guru.

Dr Martin NemkoDr. Martin Nemko is an American career coach, columnist, author and public radio host who specializes in working with individuals who are faced with a host of professional or personal challenges in their life. Martin is regular contributor for Psychology today and has in the past worked with Time Magazine, AOL, US News and the San Francisco Chronicle. Martin holds a Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of California, Berkeley. He has written 7 books and has published more than 2000 articles.
Editor: Arman Ahmed

Marty Nemko: A majority of Americans are overweight and despite dieting, gain it all back. Indeed, a study of 14 contestants on the TV show, The Big Loser, found that despite getting world-class guidance, 13 of 14 gained all the weight back. What advice would you have for the 13?

Tony Robbins: If you’re going to solve a weight-loss problem–or smoking problem for that matter–you must address both the psychological and physiological.

Regarding the psychological, your goal must not be “I need to lose X pounds” but “I’m going to regain my identity,” whether as an athlete, a conservative, a sexual being, a together person, whatever. The goal of becoming more consistent with your core, authentic self is a much stronger motivator than “I need to lose 30 pounds.” So ask yourself, “Who is the person you’d more authentically be if you were thinner?”


Still on the psychological: For many people, food is a source of comfort, connection, and control. How control? “You can’t make me lose weight. See?!” You must find a more empowering source of comfort, connection, and control than food. perhaps a creative outlet, helping others, becoming active in an organization, whatever.

Regarding the physiological, when you go on an extreme diet, your body’s self-preservation mechanism responds by burning calories as slowly as possible. Of course, that makes it much more difficult to lose weight. And if you do extreme exercise to lose weight, you’ll usually soon stop because you get injured or because it’s simply too rigorous to do for a lifetime.

And weight control does have be for a lifetime or you’ll be yo-yoing. You’re far more likely to lose the weight and keep it off if you lose slowly, perhaps ½ to 1 pound a week, exercise moderately, and find that replacement for comfort, connection, and control. That’s a plan that’s doable long-term.

So now you can see why almost all the contestants on The Big Loser gained back all the weight. They had temporary big-time motivation to lose weight because they knew they’d be on TV. So they ate very little and exercised a lot, something that simply isn’t sustainable for the lifetime after the cameras stopped rolling.

One thing that’s a little less mainstream but I believe in: Some people’s weight loss is impeded by an impaired thyroid. So I think it’s worth testing that at your next physical exam. If it’s off, sometimes, that can be caused by excess metals, such as mercury or cadmium. A qualified MD can help you cleanse your body of those.

Here is a video by Dr. Sadaqat Ali on the topic of weight management: 
Dr. Sadaqat Ali talks about Balancing Weight Solutions