Just like everyone else in the world, I decided my New Year’s resolution is to lose weight. But I’m not going the traditional route and signing up for a yearly gym membership or weight loss program. I’m taking a different angle. Advertisers have a large influence over what we do, buy, and even think about. They control what influences us – they control the conversation. I’ve decided to put an end to that in my life. I’m not going to let advertisements persuade me; I’m going to take control of the conversation.

Step one: unplug. Where does my weight-loss problem originate? Am I watching too much television? Am I eating while watching television? Am I zoned-out using an app on my smart phone? Yes, yes and yes. watch tvThe average American watches 5 hours of television a day. That’s a lot of sitting! In addition to that, we’re being exposed to hundreds of ads that tap into our pizza loving, cookie devouring, bring-me-a-candy-bar subconscious. Marketing is powerful, and the best way to control what enters your brain is to control what you see – even if it means shutting it off.

When unplugging from television and your smart phone, I found that the first week is the hardest. After that, I realized that not only was I not thinking about sitting and eating, but I discovered this other odd thing in my life that I thought had been lost: time! This is how I’ve been able to really focus on starting to lose weight.

Step two: find a positive voice. I’ve decided that even though I want to lose weight in the New Year, I’m not going to focus on it 24/7. Rather, such a goal requires a permanent change in my thinking and lifestyle. With this realization, I left my house empowered and went to library. I spent time looking through books that interested me and my family, and I ended up borrowing some “Biggest Loser” workout DVDs, a Weight Watchers magazine and Cooking Light cookbook with healthy recipes, an audiobook about fat, salt, and sugar in processed foods (and I found a some fun books for each member of my family to read too!).

So far I’ve lost several pounds. The audiobook plays in my car, I’ve made recipes from both the magazine and book, and I workout with the DVD almost every morning. But more importantly I gained time with my family and time for myself; and with the books and materials that I borrowed from the library I’ve found something to talk about with them. Not all days are perfect, and sometimes you have to outsmart the hunger pains from your former couch-potato lifestyle. During those times I take myself to the library again to find another new read (or on cold days download Jillian Michaels from the library’s online service Hoopla). Letting myself unplug has lifted the anxiety I once had about my time and energy, two things it turns out were there all along.