I’m pretty sure that I, once upon a time, could have been classified as a perpetual dieter.

No, not quite a yo-yo dieter, because in order to “yo-yo,” I would’ve had to have experienced some measure of success. My weight would’ve had to “come down” before it would come “back up,” and that never happened for me.

I was a perpetual dieter. It was always something. One week, it would be a “tea diet” for 10 days, a diet where you only drank tea for breakfast and lunch; and another week, it’d be all-Metabolife-everything, where I subsisted solely on diet pills for as long as I could before my brain started to beg for actual nourishment. A third week, I’d be losing sleep because I’d tried to sleep in a pulsing waistband designed to give my 50-inch waist the abs I’d longed for all my life.

Don’t laugh. I’m serious.

No matter how often or how long I tortured myself, it was never enough. The weight never came off.

It eventually got to a point where I started to question everything. Why do I keep trying methods that just don’t work? Why do I keep doing this, if it’s not giving me the desired outcome? It made me feel a perpetual sense of self-loathing—am I the problem, here? If I follow the instructions on the little box correctly and still don’t lose weight, am I simply destined to be over 300 pounds the rest of my life?

I genuinely believed I’d simply have to accept 330 as a permanent number in my life.

That is, until, one day, my mother suggested something to me that she’d never suggested before. She simply suggested…that I just go to the damn gym.

I was shocked—and surprised—by that. The…gym? I guess. Six months later… progress. Minor progress, but hard-fought progress, nonetheless.

Another six months later, I’d finally figure out that maybe, just maybe, if I gave up the taquitos and sour cream after my workouts, or the pineapple pop and goldfish cracker binges, I might be on to something. And, I was right.

Before too long, weight started flying off. I’d finally experienced what I lovingly refer to as the “come-to-fitness moment.” Following through on it resulted in a triple-digit weight loss.

Your “come-to-fitness moment” is the moment when you decide that there’s no diet, no snake oil, no pill, no wrap that can do for you what learning how to live can do for you. No pill could do what giving up soda pop could do for me. No wrap could do what giving up processed foods could do for me. None of it could make me feel the way being active and fit could make me feel.

Everyone’s “come-to-fitness moment” will be different, and that’s OK. It’s cornerstone, however, is the realization that you only need consistent exercise and clean eating habits to achieve your fitness goals. You may not have a pineapple sodapop fetish – for you, it might be a certain brand of candy – and you may not have an emotional eating challenge, but you still need to address it before you can experience the full benefits of your “come-to-fitness moment.”

And should you have that “moment,” what do you do?

1.  Arm yourself. Find books, DVDs, favorite cooking shows, maybe an awesome blog or two, anything and everything that embodies the traits that you hope to make lifelong habits.

2.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions! You want to learn, and closed mouths don’t get fed. We were all newbies at some point.

3.  Enable yourself. Get excited about going to work out! Give yourself gratification by being proud of your new efforts. Working out, for someone who just had their “come-to-fitness moment” reflects more than the possibility of becoming more fit; it represents the development of an invaluable new life-long habit. It’s important to allow yourself to be excited about it.

4.  Don’t be afraid to explore things that are new and unfamiliar to you or people you know. Believe me, if it were familiar to you, you would’ve done it by now… which is all the more reason to dive in head first.

When you finally reach the point where you realize that nothing is going to bring you what hard work in the gym will, don’t let the disappointment overtake you. Just get ready to sweat your hair out, and look forward to all the new flavors you can explore. As I always say, your body will thank you for it!

Erika Nicole Kendall is the writer behind the award winning blog, A Black Girl’s Guide to Weight Loss, where she blogs her journey of losing over 150lbs. A trainer certified in women’s fitness, fitness nutrition and weight loss coaching, she can be found on Facebook and Twitter.