It’s mid-January, and your New Year’s resolution is underway. Whether you decided to recommit to your medical weight loss plan, or you’re a newbie, you may have more than one failed weight loss attempt in your past. The thought of past challenges may make you a bit nervous as you move forward with your medical weight loss plan. That’s normal. But there are some ways you can keep the past from haunting—and hindering—your present. Now, while your resolution is still fresh in your mind, avoid these traps and help make this the last weight loss plan you’ll ever be on.
Trap 1: Not Exercising. People tend to focus on food or meal replacements when they begin a weight loss program, and that’s a good thing: Getting familiar with new ways of eating and sticking to a regular pattern of meals will probably require some effort. But once you’ve been on your medical weight loss plan for a while, it’s time to start exercising if you’re not already. Exercise provides a host of health benefits you probably already know about, including lowering blood pressure and improving heart and lung function. But exercise is also a key component for losing weight. The National Weight Control Registry tracks individuals who have maintained a 30-pound weight loss for at least a year, which means it has a treasure trove of information from which you can learn. The Registry has found that 94 percent of its members increased their physical activity to lose the weight. What’s more, 90 percent of them continued to exercise at least one hour a day to maintain their weight loss. You don’t have to start with this much exercise, but do what you can when you can, and you’ll begin to see the impact.
Recent research also shows the possible impact of exercise on cravings. Subjects who walked briskly on a treadmill for just 15 minutes showed a marked decrease in chocolate cravings—and these were subjects who ate chocolate every day! Having exercise as an outlet when you’re feeling tempted may keep you on your medical weight loss plan, while also burning more calories.
Trap 2: Not Facing the Music. Your medical weight loss plan has regular weigh-ins, which is great. Research shows that those who weigh themselves regularly tend to be more successful at weight loss and weight maintenance. So, don’t skip those weigh-ins! Once you’re transitioning to less frequent weigh-ins at your physician’s office, make sure to continue monitoring your weight at home on a regular basis—at least once a week.
Trap 3: Not Paying Attention to Your ‘Inner Dieter.’ Let’s face it: You don’t want to be on and off a diet for the rest of your life. The reason you want to lose the weight is to keep it off, improve your health, and enjoy your life, right? That’s why it’s so key to begin paying attention when you’re eating. The approach of mindful eating is designed to help you learn to pay attention when you’re eating. Not only will paying attention help you enjoy your food and focus on the flavors, it may also help you lose weight: A recent study showed that people who ate a meal while distracted (e.g., using a computer) were less likely to feel full—or to even remember what they ate—30 minutes later! Eliminate distractions, chew slowly, and savor each bite.
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