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So What is the Correct Weight Loss Plan for Me? Part 1

December 13, 2013 by  
Filed under Blog

weightManagement2Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  Traditionally with the beginning of a new year, one of the most popular resolutions that is made involves losing some weight and getting into shape.  Many of us have spent the last several weeks since Thanksgiving not following our normal eating patterns, and in many cases eating too much.  We have also been to holiday parties and family gatherings, where we have also overindulged in hors d’oeuvres, holiday sweets, and other less than healthy eating choices.  Add to that, many of us will also drink too much on these occasions.  All in all, it adds up to us waking up on January 1st, not feeling very well, and possibly not liking what we see in a mirror.

The end of the year is time for reflection and self analysis.  Many of us put together thoughts, ideas and goals for what things we are going to change in the New Year, be it our health, our finances, our personal lives, etc.  With respect to weight management, more than likely we have made a decision to change between Thanksgiving and New Years, we are just waiting until the holidays end to make the change.  Between socializing, traveling, and visiting family, we fall out of our routines, and are usually not as diligent about our eating habits.  This leads us to conclude that a change needs to be made.

So when we determine that a change is needed, what do we do?  How do we know what kind of weight loss/weight management system we need?  What ones are good and what ones are not so good?  And is there anything else that we need to consider along with weight management in order to be successful?

Here are some things to consider before starting a weight loss plan, and what to look out for in evaluating which system to follow.

First of all, consider what your goals are and make realistic goals.  What are you trying to do, drop a little weight, learn to eat healthier, or are you looking for an overall lifestyle change?  Why are you making this change – what is your motivation for doing it?  And make realistic goals that you can achieve.  For example, you cannot drop 50 pounds in a month.  By ensuring that your goals are realistic, you will not be tempted to give them up as being too hard.

Second, talk this over with a medical professional before you begin any type of program.  You want to make sure that there are no medical issues that would prevent you from starting a weight management program, or being successful at a program.  In some cases, a person may have a medical condition, like a thyroid or hormonal imbalance that may prevent them from being successful at a program.

Third, consider starting an exercise program to go along with a weight management system.  Do you belong to a gym, or have you ever thought about joining one?  Are you possibly interested in working with a personal trainer?  It never fails – I see a lot of new faces at the gym in January, only to be gone by Valentine’s Day.  Do some homework, and be sure you know what you are getting into before you start.  Exercise is essential to go along with a weight management system, as it will raise your Basal Metabolic Rate, allowing you to burn calories more efficiently.  You will be much more successful in a weight management program if you incorporate exercise as well.  Keep in mind as well that on average, we need 150-180 minutes of exercise a week, which translates into 30 minutes a day for 5 or 6 days.

Fourth, be sure to reward yourself for your success.  Making a positive change requires effort and many times the effort will not be easy.  When you reach a goal, reward yourself by doing something that you want to do or buying something you want to buy.  It will make the goal that much sweeter and provide positive reinforcement for your to reach more goals.

Fifth, don’t beat yourself up if you “fall off the wagon”.  Everybody does as we are all imperfect beings.  Too often however, we use this as an excuse to not continue in a program because it is too hard.  Realize that bumps will happen and we need to be able to navigate them.

Finally, evaluate all of this information and be sure that you are ready to go before you begin anything.  Change is difficult, and it is easy to get discouraged along the way.  With typical weight loss programs, 95% of people gain the weight they lost back in one year, and 97% gain it back within 2 years.  In many cases, someone might do well for a month, then go to a party and overeat, then give up in disgust.  If you are using a weight management system that provides you with the proper education as to how to eat right, and if you have the right mental attitude, you can overcome any setbacks you may encounter.

Come back for my next blog entry about what to look for in a weight management system.

To Your Health!

Dr. Harvey

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