"Taking responsibility for your own choices may be the most important step you take..."

Like many Food Lovers, I had a long history of yo-yo dieting. Every year, I would resolve to "finally" lose weight. I would dive into my diet headlong, hit the gym and do great ... for a month or two. Then, I would start making excuses: "I don't have time to cook," "I'm too tired to exercise," "My family is in town," "I'll start eating healthy when work slows down."

Playing the blame was easy and convenient, but then it hit me: By making excuses, I was simply hiding from the fact that how I live my life is a choice. And every time I made an excuse, what I was really saying was, "I don't love myself enough to do this for myself."

Taking responsibility for your own choices may be the most important step you take to lose weight, and it isn't easy. Living life with purpose requires you to nurture a deep love for yourself. Just like anything else, it's a matter of habit ― by taking specific action, you can create the right frame of mind to succeed. Here are some tips to help you get there:

• Write positive messages to yourself. It can be as simple as, "I can do this," or, "I deserve to be happy and will do what's necessary to make it happen." This may sounds silly, but I'm willing to bet that once you try this out and see how well this works, you won't think it's silly for long.

• Don't dwell on past disappointments. If you've had a hard life or difficulties, don't let it ruin your future. Think about what you want your life to be and focus your energy toward creating that reality for yourself.

• Overcome your fears of failure. Chances are that you've been on several diets before coming to Food Lovers, and you may be afraid that nothing will work for you. Instead of looking at those experiences as "failures," focus what you have learned from your challenges, and how you have changed and grown from them. It doesn't matter if you've been knocked down as long as you get back up again.

• Journal daily. Write about your experiences, good and bad, but make a special effort to record all of the good decisions you make. If you eat a good breakfast, write it down! Recounting your accomplishments ― however "small" they may seem ― will bolster your sense of self worth. Before long, you'll realize how worthy you are of your own love.

• Stop comparing yourself to others. When you compare yourself to others, it opens the door to feeling bad about yourself. Don't allow yourself to sink into a morass of feeling inadequate. Just be the best "you" you can be and love yourself for that.