Friday, 19 April 2013

Weight loss: How ready are you?

Weight loss: How ready are you?
Before you embark on the weight loss journey, you will want to make sure that you are truly ready to make the changes necessary for weight loss. Success with weight loss depends heavily on your readiness to make changes to your current lifestyle and eating habits. Ask yourself the following six questions to gauge if you are ready to take on the challenge of weight loss.

Are you willing to make long-term changes to your diet and activity level?

Successful long-term weight loss depends on making permanent lifestyle changes. Understanding that you need to make adjustments to your current eating and exercise habits and actually doing it are two totally different things. You may have to make several changes over time to both your diet and exercise routine.

Have you tackled major distractions in your life?

If you are currently dealing with major life events such as a divorce, loss of a job, death of a close friend or family member or financial troubles, you may not want to add on the additional challenge of losing weight. Allow yourself time to address personal issues and major stressors before you tackle a weight loss program.

Are you realistic about weight loss goals?

A slow and steady rate of weight loss is recommended to help make the weight loss more permanent. A rate of a half to two pounds per week is a healthy rate of weight loss.

Have you addressed and resolved emotional issues tied to your weight?

All too often, emotions and food and interwoven. Emotions can trigger unhealthy eating patterns. Begin by identifying your emotional "triggers" that are related to food by keeping a food journal. In your food journal, record what you were doing when you were eating, how you were feeling and also how hungry you were. Recording these key concepts will allow you to see patterns and identify emotional "triggers." Once you know your triggers, you can begin to develop plans to overcome or avoid those types of situations.

Do you have a support system?

Having supportive family members, friends or co-workers can make the challenge of weight loss a little less difficult. Having someone offer support and encouragement can be beneficial during times of temptation or if your motivation begins to weaken.

Have you embraced the challenge ahead?

Having a positive attitude about weight loss will make you more likely to meet your weight loss goals. If you are dreading the changes and challenges that you will face during weight loss, you may be more likely to make excuses or throw in the towel.

If you answered yes to all or most of these questions, you are probably ready to take the weight loss challenge! If you answered no to some or all of these questions, you may not be ready at this time to make the necessary changes for successful weight loss. Take time to explore the areas that may be holding you back. Consider seeking help from your physician or other healthcare professionals to help you work through those issues.

Beth Young is a Registered Dietitian and an instructor in the Food and Nutrition Department at the University of Southern Indiana. She can be reached by e-mail at

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