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But I Still Have Five Pounds to Go!

Por Eleazar Lara-Pantin, MD, MSc.* -

It is common to hear people on weight-loss programs talk about how difficult it is to lose those last few pounds. The words “worried” and “desperate” are often used. Because of the anxiety related to this issue, it deserves to be analyzed.

When someone makes the decision to tackle their weight problem, they hope for two things: an easy solution, and to quickly lose a specific amount of weight. Losing weight easily and quickly are subjects that I’ve discussed in previous articles. Allow me to remind you that the important things in life always require some effort. Losing weight quickly is the best way to make sure you quickly regain it. In this article I want to discuss setting goals or targets.

Setting goals is an integral part of life. It is important to try to achieve things and to have a fairly clear idea of what we want to achieve. In this article, we’ll be looking at problems involving clarifying our goals. A lack of clarity about the best way to proceed once we realize we aren't happy with what we see in the mirror can get in the way of our weight-loss success.

Using a scale seems like the easiest and most practical way to measure weight changes and to assess the effectiveness of your weight-loss plan.  However, it is important to keep in mind that weight doesn’t represent all of the positive changes you are making to become a healthier person.  You need to set goals and use measurements that will recognize healthy lifestyle changes, as well as physical changes in your body.

It is very difficult to establish exactly what an “ideal weight” is. Weight tables, which show desirable weights for particular heights, should only be used as an approximation for what our weight may be when eating sensibly and exercising. Try not to focus too much on these numbers.  Do not worry if you stop losing pounds before reaching your “desirable weight.” Focusing too much on your weight can become an obstacle to your achieving better health.

To start out with, try setting goals that focus more on positive lifestyle changes you are making to improve your overall health.  For example:
• Increasing the number of fruits and vegetables you are eating per week.
• Replacing sugar-sweetened beverages with lower calorie beverages such as unsweetened flavored waters or skim milk.
• Increasing the number of times per week you use a healthy cooking method, such as broiling and steaming, versus frying.
• Taking the stairs to your office versus using the elevator.

If you are reaching these types of goals, chances are, your weight is also decreasing. This is not to say that you shouldn’t weigh yourself. Just try not to use the scale as your only measurement of success. Also keep in mind that you may lose fat and build muscle which may cause you to see a plateau in your weight. Take it in stride.  If you continue making healthy lifestyle changes, your weight loss will start back up again.  Also keep in mind that once you have reached certain goals, you will need to set new ones. Maintaining healthy goals will keep you moving on the road to a healthier, fitter you!


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