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A Healthy Goal for A New Year

Por Claudia M. González MS, RD, LD/N* -
A Healthy Goal for A New Year

Are you ready to begin managing your weight? Is one of your New Year's resolutions this year to lose weight?

If you've already made the decision that you want and need to lose weight, that is a good first step. The next step is to gather more information so that your efforts to lose weight will be successful. Most importantly, be sure that improving your health, not your appearance, is your main priority.

People who’ve lost weight and kept if off don’t have a secret "magic formula" for success. People who are successful losing weight include 3 essential components to improve their lifestyle: a healthy diet, regular exercise, and a support system (spouse, friend, organized group).

Whether you want to lose or maintain your weight, you need to have a positive attitude and motivation. If you’re trying to lose weight for a specific event, such as a wedding or a formal evening, chances are your commitment and efforts will vanish over time.

One of the most important aspects of healthy living is realizing it's fun and rewarding. When you lose weight (the right way) you experience an increase in energy, self-esteem, and improved health.

How to kick off the New Year

Forget crazy diets and compulsive exercise. Success comes from changing your habits--one at a time, for a lifetime. These habits include:

  1. Declaring your intentions. Set short-term goals. To do this, focus on your current weight or lifestyle and not where you want to be 5 months from now. The thought of losing 5 pounds at a time is not as intimidating as losing 25 pounds.
  2. Cleaning out your pantry and refrigerator. Discard all jars, cans, boxes and bags of high-fat, high-calorie foods.
  3. Take one small step toward an active lifestyle. Take a brisk walk around your workplace during lunch. On a hot day, go to the pool; try walking in deep water, or swim a lap or two.
  4. Make 1 or 2 positive changes a week. Skip the dessert or choose a green salad instead of a high-fat dressing salad.

Staying motivated

Staying positive, means focusing on your accomplishments rather than on your failures. Recognize that mistakes are a natural part of change. Keep yourself motivated by:

  1. Celebrating when you achieve one of your short-term goals. Call a friend to share the good news or treat yourself to a favorite activity.
  2. Keep in mind that slow and steady weight loss is best. If you lose just 1 pound per week, that’s 52 pounds lost in a year.
  3. If one type of exercise doesn’t suit you, keep trying; there’s no "perfect" exercise. Find more than one activity so you can stick to your exercise goals.
  4. Ask others for support. Be specific: "Please help me clear the table after dinner so I won’t nibble at the leftovers."
  5. Control, not elimination, is the key. If you feel like having a pizza then have it, occasionally! Eat 1-2 small pieces.

Remember that riding the diet roller coaster is one of the least effective ways to manage your weight. The key to lifetime weight control is to enjoy an active and healthy lifestyle. Success is a result of changing your habits--one at a time, for a lifetime.


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