Patients ask me all the time about the best way to lose weight. They are either requesting a diet or an exercise program that I think is best for them. While I try to educate them about eating less calories, reducing food portions and exercising, there is another aspect of weight loss that they need to learn about. As any other goal in life, a weight loss plan requires what I consider the three essential keys to be successful.
1. Determination. The first step to make any lifestyle change is to actually want to do it. When you have set your mind into making a change, you are actually able to take action and to continue for a longer time to actually see results. Writing your goals makes it easier for you to stay focused and get to your destination. I am not talking about the yearly resolution that people write on a napkin before the clock strikes midnight and forgotten three minute after kissing under the mistletoe. Your best option is to have a journal. Write your goal on the first page and continue entering information as you progress. Looking at the data in print will make you realize your progress and will also keep you accountable of your own actions. It will be a tremendous uplifter when you see the pounds coming off and for those days when you deviate from your plan.
2. Information. You wouldn’t take an exam unprepared, right. Well, the same goes for weight loss. Once you have decided on a goal you should learn as much about the process as you can. But…weight loss is just diet and exercise, right? Wrong! It is about a new attitude, about learning the process and ways that will help you as an individual to actually lose the weight and keep it off. You need to learn about how many calories are optimal for your height, weight, your age, level of activity and so on. In addition, you have to adjust your calorie intake as your weight changes. You also need to learn about what kind of calories you should intake to successfully lose the weight and keep it off. Are you eating more carbohydrates than protein? What about fat? Are you drinking enough water? Do you drink sugary beverages that add calories without realizing it? As you see, there are so many aspects of weight loss beyond eating and exercise that people need to be educated about. You can always find multiple sources of free information online and watch exercise videos. However, the best approach is to consult your physician before starting an exercise program and to consult a nutrition specialist to create an achievable calorie intake plan.
3. Support. This is an essential point that is at many times not practiced. People feel they have to hide their plans from others to avoid shame if they are not successful. However, as any other aspect of life, weight loss is not a straight path from A to B. Dealing with daily life you will encounter many bumps in the road and situations that will deviate you from your plans and interfere with obtaining your goals. Keeping your focus on the goal you are more likely to obtain results. It may take longer than expected but you are more likely to do it if you have someone holding you accountable. Not only that, we all need someone to cheer us up when we do not see the light at the end of the tunnel as it happens when you hit a plateau in your weight for a few weeks straight. Having someone that suggests a healthier alternative to that slice of cake or someone you can look up to who has made a change in their life are ways in which you can find support. Tell your plans to other people that you know will not put you down. Look for weight loss groups and search fitness and nutrition pages on social media. You will be surprised how many people who you don’t even know personally can support you when they are on the same path.
I hope this article helps you in your weight loss plans. Remember to take one day at a time. It is a marathon, not a sprint. You have a whole year to make this happen!