So, you joined the millions of Americans who resolved to lose weight this year. That’s great!
Now, how do you plan to achieve your weight-loss goals? The task might seem a little daunting at first, but the lifestyle changes you make in the year ahead don’t have to be drastic to be effective. In fact, slowly implementing small changes over time improves your chances of keeping the weight off long-term.
- Set small goals. Elisha Poynter, MD, family practice physician with Eastside Medical Group, encourages patients to begin with small goals, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator and walking to and from the mailbox every day. It doesn’t hurt to park far from store entrances when shopping to squeeze in those few extra steps.
The ultimate goal is to get to 10,000 steps a day, but every little bit helps. Taking that first step is always the hardest. As the days go by, it will be difficult to stick with your commitment, but Dr. Poynter encourages patients to push through. Typically, after three or four weeks, you will begin to notice changes in your body shape, sleep patterns, energy level and mood, as well as your feelings about exercise in general.
- Partner up. Having a buddy system in place is crucial. Dr. Poynter notes that if you love food as much as she does and don’t have that accountability, the doughnuts will ALWAYS win. If food is controlling you, remove it from your home completely. Having a good support system in place will encourage you to eat right and exercise—which also is vital to your success. When Dr. Poynter and her husband started their weight-loss journeys individually, they failed. They were successful when they did it as a team. Build your team to help you through your cravings and fatigue.
- Plan ahead. Meal planning is difficult and sometimes unrealistic for busy families on the go. Find healthy staples to serve as your go-to meals and try to include a variety of foods, including fruits and vegetables. Use a calorie-counting application such as MyFitnessPal to assist with meal planning, portion control and overall understanding of caloric intake. Through recording your intake, you learn the balance between food and weight.
- Make time for you. You are never too busy to take a few minutes for yourself. Along with the pressures of day-to-day life, work and home stressors weigh you down, which can cause you to turn to high-calorie comfort foods in times of need. Instead of reaching for the bag of potato chips or cookies (which could give you a stomach ache when you go to bed), get those tennis shoes on and go for a walk or hit the gym—even if it is just for 30 minutes.
Remember, the key to success is setting small, achievable goals and building a solid support system. From time to time, you will eat that chocolate cake, skip an exercise session or even gain a few pounds back. Don’t use these setbacks as excuses to give in and give up. Instead, use them as learning points on your journey to weight-loss success.
Want help with your weight-loss journey? Make an appointment with an Eastside physician near you by scheduling online at eastsidemedgroup.com.