New Year’s Resolution: Commit to Smart Choices

HealthGal Health Guide
  • Among the new habits I’d like to recommend, is the habit that directs you to avoid “failure choices.”  Failure choices are things you do (in this case, nutrition and fitness choices), that literally set you up for failure.  They can include:


    Adopting the diet that worked for someone else

    A diet will only work for you if it’s well matched to your goals, your budget, your schedule (do you have the time to shop or prepare the items), your personality, and your personal food tastes.  Assuming you will have success because a friend did, is a possible failure choice.


    Assuming exercise is the major key to your weight loss program 

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    Exercise will help you to shed pounds in conjunction with a diet that has a calorie deficit sufficient enough to burn fat.  Yes, aerobic exercise and vigorous weight training will help to burn off some calories and build muscle mass, crucial to your metabolic rate, but most experts agree that sustained weight loss is 80% diet and 20% exercise.  You cannot out-exercise over-eating.  If you think you can, then it’s a failure choice.


    Taking weight loss supplements 

    If you are obese or extremely overweight, then it is reasonable to meet with a medical expert in the specific field of bariatrics, who can prescribe certain medications to help you with weight loss.  These medications are under FDA scrutiny, are to be used under medical supervision, and have a limited time frame for use.  They also have moderate to severe side effects that are variable.  Supplements on the other hand have little oversight, can be contaminated with dangerous ingredients, and can be a waste of your money.  The ones that have true thermogenic qualities can raise your heart rate to dangerous levels.  They can also cause loss of lean muscle tissue rather than fat specifically.  These supplements can also be contaminated with dangerous ingredients.  Taking weight loss supplements as a sure-fire way to lose weight, is a failure choice.


    Copying The Biggest Loser approach 

    The participants on this show go off to a secluded location where they exercise for unreasonable periods of time (impossible if you are a working person) and they dramatically cut calories and persist in increasing levels of exercise to counteract any plateaus they encounter.  This approach is just not sustainable for most people and when you “fall off the cliff,” you are likely to regain all the weight you lost plus extra pounds because of the severe and rigorous nature of the lifestyle program.  A ruthless program that has no support system built in, is not in tune with your schedule and requires massive time commitment is often a failure choice.


    The all or nothing approach 

    I do think many people who struggle with obesity or with recurring excess weight, require somewhat rigid strategies in order to shed weight, over a period of months.  That being said, there has to be some joy, occasional treats – be they food or other fun moments – and there has to be an effort to address emotional eating, which are often the cause of dieting setbacks.  There also has to be sensibility and mindfulness at play when you go on a diet.  If you have a single “bad” day of eating, the worst thing you can do is allow it to snowball, into many days or weeks of mindless eating.  One day is just that, one day, and immediately redirecting yourself back to your eating plan will allow that momentary slip to be just a small isolated moment.


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    Making a smart resolution

    There are sensible decisions you can make, that can help you to lose weight and reduce your risk of weight -related diseases:


    • I will commit to some form of daily exercise and re-visit my fitness goals.
    • I will try to budget, so I can consult with a dietician or nutritionist, even on a limited basis.
    • I will involve my doctor or health professional in my decision and efforts to lose weight.
    • I will join a support group and continue to sustain that relationship, even when I reach goal weight.
    • I will pack lunches most days of the week so I can control portions and ingredients
    • I will limit or discontinue drinking sweetened beverages
    • I will choose an eating outline, like the Mediterranean Diet, that offers a healthy approach to eating, with a broad range of food group choices.  I will personalize my choices from the food groups that the diet offers.
    • I will try to sleep for seven to eight hours nightly.

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    Next up:

    New Year's Resolution: Researching diets to find a good fit

Published On: January 12, 2015