Most of us, at one time or another, have made the decision to lose weight by starting a new diet. Even if your weight isn’t a problem, eating a healthier diet is always something to strive for. Whether it’s a new resolve to eat less junk food, eat more vegetables or get some exercise somewhere in our day, making a healthy change can be difficult.
Your attitude about weight loss affects your ability to succeed. Being honest and thinking about yourself as you really are (not the way you’d like to be) is guaranteed to help you succeed. I invite you to ponder the information below to help you make a good decision.
The things we think about can be a sign of our readiness to make a change in our lifestyle. If you’ve found yourself thinking about improving your eating habits and increasing your activity level, this is a good sign of your motivation. The next step is deciding to assign some time and energy to plan and organize meals and activities in advance. Don’t just “pencil” it in; that might make it too easy to cancel at the last minute. You’re doing this for yourself and no one else, so mean it!
In our society, we can get the idea that being thin and fit will reduce our stress and make our problems disappear. On the contrary, if you have excessive outside pressures in your life, trying to add weight loss to the mix is just asking for failure. Weight loss itself can be a huge stress and create its own problems. Knowing this from the beginning and being prepared for it can be half the battle. I can guarantee that you will slip up more than once in your weight loss efforts; it happens to everyone. The successful people are the ones who realize that falling out is not the end of the world and they just pick up where they left off.
We also place a lot of value on losing large amounts of weight and equate this with success. However, studies have shown that losing and maintaining just 5 to 7 percent of excess body weight is significant enough to reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease. When it comes to successful weight management, slow and steady wins the race. You might be able to lose those 50 pounds by radically changing your lifestyle, but the likelihood of gaining all of the weight back plus more is right behind you. Radical changes rarely stick and can be dangerous at the same time. So, take your time and make small changes that will become part of your lifestyle. Realizing that you’re making very permanent changes will help keep the weight off.
Finally, make a list of the reasons why you want to change your life and keep it with you. Confiding in or enlisting the help of a family member or friend who can offer support can help you along as well. At times when you’re feeling down and defeated, it might just be the motivation you need to keep going.
Mary Koch is a registered dietitian at Banner Churchill Community Hospital and the VA Lahontan Valley Outpatient Clinic. Send your nutrition questions to Mary at firstname.lastname@example.org.