As the New Year begins, one of the most popular resolutions is to lose weight and lead a healthier lifestyle. However, it’s not uncommon for many people to have trouble sticking to their weight loss resolutions.
Dr. John Romanelli, medical director of the Weight Loss Surgery Program at Baystate Medical Center, says there are five steps you can take to help make your weight-loss efforts more achievable in 2016.
- Be realistic
Many times people’s weight loss resolutions often fail because they don’t set realistic goals. People shoot for the moon when they want to make dramatic changes in their lifestyles. However, it’s hard to achieve and sustain that. The reality is successful weight loss efforts are slow and gradual and require a balance of diet and exercise.
- Stay on track
The first step to a successful weight loss plan is to make diet changes that are achievable and you can stick to. Many people try to keep their New Year’s weight loss resolutions by following crash or fad diets. However, these diets and the eating habits they propose are hard to stick to day to day for the rest of your life.
A good example of improving your dietary habits in 2016 – one that is achievable and sustainable – is cutting out high sugar beverages like soda from your diet. Stick to water or switch to sugar-free and calorie-free seltzer water. It’s important to make simple changes, one at a time, in order to get used to them before making another change.
The key is to make small changes, one at a time, where you are still eating the same portion sizes, but eating fewer calories. This method is more likely to lead to success. The problem with most diets is that the volume of food goes down, then you are left feeling hungry. Feeling full and satisfied is necessary to keep you from snacking between meals, eating empty calories, and falling off track with your diet.
- Set the bar low
Avoid setting goals that are unrealistic. Some may say, “It’s a New Year and I’m going to lose 100 pounds”. Realistically, there are very few people who can achieve that goal in a safe, healthy way, never mind actually being able to sustain it. Setting the bar too high can cause the constant frustration of falling off the band wagon and will only discourage you and keep you from achieving your overall goal.
Set the bar low by starting off trying to lose 10 pounds. If you achieve this smaller goal, then you can always keep going. The biggest mistake you can make is setting the bar too high, then failing to meet it and abandoning any other attempts at healthier interventions along the way.
- Try, try again…
Nobody is perfect. So, falling of the healthy bandwagon is normal. When people are taught to ride a horse, they fall off but don’t abandon horseback riding. They get up, brush themselves off, and try again. The same thing applies to living a healthy lifestyle. We’re only human and fallible when trying to achieve healthy interventions. Food tastes good and exercise can be difficult to do. However, the reality is you have to stay in the fight and try, try again.
- Get Physical
Losing weight is a two-pronged process that includes diet and exercise. When it comes to losing weight, exercise is diet’s – or best referred to as eating healthy as opposed to dieting – big brother. You need exercise to achieve your dietary goals. The key is to choose an activity/exercise that is enjoyable to you, because if you don’t enjoy it, you won’t stick to it.
However, the exercise you chose must be calorie burning. Walking, for example, will help you maintain your weight by burning daily calories. But, walking is not enough to lose weight in most cases. Try weightlifting, dance fitness, or cross-training – anything where you work up a good sweat.
For those who feel like they may be too overweight to work out, try aqua aerobics. The water will help take excess weight off of joints, in turn helping to prevent injuries. Also, start with a moderate amount of activity that you can actually do, then gradually increase it over a period of time.
For more information on the Comprehensive Adult Weight Management Program at Baystate, click on http://www.baystatehealth.org/services/weight-management.