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Want to lose weight and keep it off? Try being integral with yourself. Yep, good ol’-fashioned self-honesty can really do what millions of fad diets won’t.

But be warned – “That’ll get the first 10 pounds off,” yet it’s not the end of the road, explains evangelist and gospel singer Juanita Bynum. She says that most dieters fail because they don’t keep their word to themselves.

“You can’t sit back and say ‘I’m going to be a great dancer’ and you’re on the couch eating doughnuts every day, because you’re lying to yourself,” says Bynum, 52, adding that you have to press on and meet the goal. And she ought to know.

Over the past eight months, Bynum’s quietly shed 30 pounds, dropping from a size 16 to her current size 8. And she isn’t done. The prophetess, who now weighs 150 pounds now, is 15 pounds away from her goal weight of 135, which would fit her 5-foot-4-inch frame into a size 6. Just after starting her new plan, Bynum was diagnosed with diabetes, which prompted her to want to lose that last 15 pounds.

Bynum’s desire to return to her “original health status” fueled her initial decision to lose weight. When she was in her 20s, Bynum spent a decade as a strict vegetarian, abstaining from eating meat and dairy-products, and felt her healthiest.

“I felt more alert and more in tune with my body and what I was putting into my body,” shares Bynum, who’s led a fairly active life and never struggled with weight before.

She’s currently not a vegan, and because of a contractual agreement with the publisher of her health and wellness book due out later this year, she would only say, “I’m just very, very conscious of what I put in my body and how much of it I put in my body.”

Bynum’s new regimen also allowed her to recover from the 2007 headline-making parking lot brawl between her and then-husband Bishop Thomas Weeks III that led to their divorce.

“All that I had gone through, I felt like it was an opportunity to recreate myself. Not a lot of people get an opportunity to walk in the place where they experience trouble and then have emotional strength and the spiritual support through their relationship with God or even a friendship that pulls them to a place of making a correction,” she says.

To help make her transformation successful, Bynum works out three to four times a week, engaging in various activities like Bikram yoga, weight training, spin class and treadmill walking. She also relies on her self-discipline at the dinner table where she monitors her intake, knowing her limit and sticking to it. With a tour in the works, the Chicago native says there’s no way she could accomplish her goals if she’s not mentally and physically healthy.

For her, it all comes back to integrity. When a person breaks their word to themselves, it causes more detriment than often realized, and makes that individual more susceptible to unpleasantries such as depression.

“Because you’re not depressed about what’s coming at you, you’re depressed because of what you’re allowing to sit inside of you because you’ve broken your own word to yourself and you can’t depend on you,” Bynum says.

To avoid this fate, Bynum advises to stick to your healthy living plan “by any means necessary.”

But even she knows that that can be challenging, a reason why even she recently had to rely on her own form of Jedi mind tricks to keep from falling prey to laziness at the gym.

“I was walking on the treadmill – with people in the gym, walking next to me – and I just started whipping my leg with my hand, saying ‘you are not going to get off this treadmill until you get up to 60 minutes,'” Bynum remembers.

The result? One of the best workouts she’d ever had. “It was almost as if someone gave me an energy pill and I hadn’t taken anything. It was as if my blood vessels, my heart, everything just opened up and my body just came alive. That’s how I know it’s mind over matter,” she continues.

Need help staying motivated? Bynum offers three gems to remember while on your weight-loss journey:

1. Don’t make your scale your only measurement of progress. “Determine it by what your clothes look like on you, your heart rate and what your energy levels feel like. That determines if you’re healthy, getting stronger, or if your body is becoming more vibrant and live.”

2. Remember: life is ever-evolving and often filled with challenges that test our growth. “There will always be challenges. You could lose 50 pounds and 50 pounds being lost, you’ll run into another challenge that’ll send you back to eating again and become non-integral.”

3. Always ‘do right by yourself.’ “One of the best things about losing weight is the ability to know that no matter what the circumstances, you’re doing right by yourself. You take on a different sense of pride.”

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