In my first ever group weight loss/maintenance meeting this month, one of the main topics was "What are your road blocks to success?"
Some of the answers from the group included:
• Old patterns ("I'm the fat one in the family.")
• Complacency ("Too hard to make and keep changes.")
• Laziness ("Eating healthy and exercising is just more work.")
• A mean sweet tooth ("People who don't have one just don't understand.")
• Well meaning friends/family who sabotage ("Are you still on that diet?" And my favorite, "How about just one bite?" Oh yeah, that usually ends well.)
And a been-there, done-that attitude, of "I've tried, and tried again, and I always seem to end up right back where I started from...so what's the point?"
Even outside of this particular group of men and women, I know we are far from alone. In fact, only 20 percent of Americans who've attempted weight loss will be successful in keeping the weight off at a year out.
One of the women at this meeting, who works in a salon, remarked that she hears over and over again about how people don't know how she does it (maintaining her 35 pound weight loss). "It's just so hard," they say.
Her reply? "Yeah, you know what? It is hard. But the point is you either do it or you don't do it."
Developing a mindset that you are going to do it is key. Some other tips for success include:
• Have a weekly (but not more frequently) weight check. More frequent weigh-ins can lead to disappointment that the numbers aren't changing as rapidly as you'd like. Daily weighing can also set you up for falsely higher numbers that are due to fluctuating water retention levels.
• Move every day (and preferably all throughout the day). This means anything that gets you up and about. Focused exercise is great, but research shows us that even if you work-out, you must fight against a sedentary routine for the rest of the day to reap all the health benefits you want and need.
• Kill your television. I'm kidding...kind of. To help us reach our health goals, it is recommended that we limit TV and other media to 10 hours each week. (I hear you groaning...wait, that's me.)
• Keep track of calories. Many of us, myself included, tend to underestimate how much we are actually eating. Get educated about how many calories are in the portions you are consuming (and start to create more awareness of what appropriate portions actually are). We, as a society, have supersized portions to the point that healthy portions may look ridiculously small...until you get used to your new normal.
• Try, try again. I always say that weight loss/maintenance is one of the hardest things to approach effectively because we are constantly presented with our challenge: We all have to eat. You can't, as with smoking, just decide to quit food. But this also gives us infinite opportunities to make a more healthful choice next time, if we fall. The key is in the getting back up.
Yes, losing weight is hard. Yes, keeping it off is hard. But not impossible. You are either going to do it, or not do it. I believe I can do it, I believe you can do it. And that's the first step.
"Your belief determines your action and your action determines your results, but first you have to believe." ~Mark Victor Hansen
For even more tips on how to get better health and need the health care system less, check out: The New Prescription: How to Get the Best Health Care in a Broken System by Dr. Cynthia D. Haines, M.D. (Dr. Cindy Haines) and Eric Metcalf, M.P.H. This is a book about getting what you really want: better health on your own terms.
Published On: January 25, 2012