Alas, the holidays have come and gone and if you’re like me, one too many pieces of fudge were eaten and one too many cocktails were imbibed. What better time to get serious about those New Year’s resolutions? For many people, losing weight and getting healthy are at the top of that list. While there are many superficial benefits of losing weight, like looking good when bathing suit season comes around or fitting into our “skinny jeans,” there are many emotional and physical benefits as well. Overall weight loss can decrease depression symptoms, increase self-esteem, decrease risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other obesity related illnesses.
The key to all of this is in fact – losing weight. It may be easy to set that New Year’s resolution of losing 10, 30, 50, or even 100 pounds by the end of the year; but our “new leaf” by the light of January 2nd can seem pretty daunting. This is especially true after we hit the gym on Day 1 of our resolution.
This is what my Day 1 gym routine looks like: Get to the gym in cute gym clothes I gave myself for Christmas, check. Weigh self on gym scale, wow, perhaps it was more than one too many pieces of fudge, but check. Furiously hit the treadmill, then the elliptical, then the weights, then the mat for some crunches, check. Feeling like I’ve put myself through the ringer for the past hour, check. Drag my sorry behind back to the scale, and what? Surely that workout should have shed at least 5 pounds! But, no. And then I’m disheartened. “You mean I’m going to have to keep this up for more than a week? Ugh.”
So here are some keys to success:
1. Be sure to check with your physician before starting any diet and exercise program to make sure it is safe and appropriate for you. I know this may seem like a clichéd liability waiver, but this is a very important step. Your physician knows your particular health history and can make appropriate recommendations as to diet (and possibly a referral to a nutritionist) as well as activities. This is important to avoid injuries and therefore avoiding setbacks to your goals. Ah, there’s that “G” word. Goals?
2. You need to identify a realistic goal that is achievable. If I had a goal to lose 50 pounds by the end of the week, it’s not likely achievable. But, 50 pounds by the end of the year is very doable. That is an average of one pound a week. Not too tough right? Certainly seems a lot easier than 50 pounds. And to make it even easier. . .
3. Get a buddy. Share your goals with someone who is going to help keep you motivated. This could be your best friend, neighbor, or even your dog. A partner will help keep you going day after day, because let’s face it, we don’t want to lose to someone else right? Think of it as, Biggest Loser, Clearfield County edition.
Ultimately remember this, losing weight and being healthy are lifestyle choices. If you think of becoming healthy as a “diet” as something that ends, then it quickly will. It will be that much easier to slip back into our old ways of eating and thinking. It may not happen all at once. It may be a missed workout here and a decadent dessert there, but those are slippery slopes my friends. To really want to be healthy, you must choose to put your health and your life before the cravings for junk. You’re worth it! Take it from me, a former “fast food addict” and recovering carb-oholic, losing weight will make you feel great and the journey will be worth it in the end.
* Note: The author began her lifestyle renovation in December 2008. She has lost nearly 60 pounds and maintained it for two years.
The Women’s Health Task Force meets the first Thursday of each month, beginning at noon. The next meeting will be held January 6 at Children’s Aid Society, 1008 South 2nd Street in Clearfield, and all interested persons are invited to attend.
Jen Shropshire, Performance Matters Associates