Weight Watchers CEO: Change your mindset to keep the weight off

(CBS News) Losing weight is number one on the list of many New Year's resolutions and David Kirchhoff knows how hard it is to keep it off.

The CEO of Weight Watchers International used his company's system to get to his goal weight and has kept it off for four years. He spoke to Norah O'Donnell and Anthony Mason about his struggle, as well as his new book, "Weight Loss Boss."

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"I joined as an employee," he said. "I did the program like a lot of people do the program. It took me nine years to get to my goal weight."

But Kirschoff believes the more important part of his story is that he's kept the weight off by getting out of what he calls, the "dieting mindset," and more into the mindset of making permanent lifestyle changes.

"We're surrounded today by 600 more calories in the food system per person versus 1970," he said. "This notion of somehow being strong enough to resist temptation is one that's completely overrated. You're much better off learning how to rewrite your own personal environment."

Kirschoff said the trick is using a system that guides you towards the things you're supposed to eat, like fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains.

"The value of tracking is it makes you more mindful of what you're doing," he said. "So it's less about perfectly managing a calorie equation. It's more about nudging yourself toward healthier choices."

With two out of three Americans now overweight, according to the Centers for Disease Control statistics, there is a public debate raging about what role -- if any -- the government should take in trying to reduce obesity rates by way of restricting portion sizes. Where does Weight Watchers stand on this controversy?

"Obviously, personal responsibility plays a huge role in dealing with a lifestyle health issue such as obesity," he said. "We're big supporters of nutritional labeling on menu boards because giving people better information allows them to make better choices."

To watch the complete interview with David Kirchhoff, click on the video player above.

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