It’s the a New Year and you’re thinking of making some changes in your health, namely, losing some weight. Congratulations on taking that first step! Chances are, you’ve made a few attempts in the past with mixed results. The weight loss research shows that a great majority of people who lose weight gain it back again. That’s the bad news. What distinguishes those who keep the weight off from those who don’t? Motivation is a big part of success. Other important factors include having social support, better coping strategies, and something psychologists call “self‐efficacy”—which means how confident you are that you can be successful.
Think about a time you were successful in your personal life, or at work. Did you land a prestigious job, win a medal for your sport as a teenager, get a college scholarship, build your dream house? What did it take to make that happen? You probably didn’t accomplish this goal because someone nagged you to do it. Most likely it came from inner determination, and lots of hard work despite setbacks, injuries and disappointments of some sort.
In every decision to make a change, there will be some initial ambivalence. So it is with weight loss. “I want to fit into my clothes better, but I don’t have time to go to the gym.” “I don’t want to get diabetes, but all those healthy foods are so boring.” “I know I need to lower my cholesterol, but how can I with my husband bringing home all those snack foods?” “I’d love to have my family on a better diet, but they won’t eat what I do and we’ll have to cook 2 different meals.”
When you are in the beginning stages of motivation to make a change, you’ll express a desire for changing, come up with reasons, and gradually move towards making a commitment to take actual steps. As your move from contemplation to action, your intentions will become more concrete. Try not to focus on goals that are unrealistic. Your goals should also be attainable, specific and have a time period associated with them. A goal like “eat 5-7 vegetables and fruits a day” is more likely to produce success than one like “lose 5 lbs this week”.
Experienced nurse practitioners at Health Plus are here to help you succeed with your New Year’s resolutions. What’s holding you back? Ready, get set, go!