New Years Resolution – Successful Weight Loss for 2013!Posted: Dec 23 in Weight Management Strategies by Dr. Lazarus
Okay everybody – the New Year is just around the corner, and the time for our New Year’s resolutions is NOW!
If you have made New Year’s resolutions to lose weight in the past only to find that you have to make the same resolution the following year, then this article really is for you. Instead of a resolution to lose weight this year, don’t you think it’s time for something different? Because the resolution to lose weight often results in a short term weight loss followed by even more weight gain. All to often I see patients with a well-intended weight loss resolution end the year higher than when they started. Let’s get off this merry-go-round and try something different for a change.
Remember the old Seinfeld episode where George Costanza is having a lousy week, and decides to do everything different? Instead of trying to impress the young woman at the bar with lies, he walks up to her and says “My name is George. I’m unemployed and I live with my parents.” And, everything works out great!
If you feel like George – like nothing is going right, then this year, let’s do everything WRONG! How about the following for New Year’s Resolutions:
1. No matter what, I will NOT try to lose weight!
Since in the past when I set a goal of losing weight, the weight loss seemed to be followed by even more weight gain. So, I’m not going to focus on the weight this year. Instead, I’ll focus on trying to live a healthy lifestyle. If weight loss happens, great! But in 2013, weight loss will not be the primary goal.
2. I will NOT try to eat less!
In past years, the harder I try to eat less, the heavier I seem to get. Why? Why do most well-intentioned weight loss plans lead to weight GAIN? So many people I have worked with have tried so hard for so long to eat less, because this is supposed to lead to weight loss. Right? Well, actually if you look at habits of highly successful dieters, they eat MORE, not less (National Weight Control Registry). They do NOT skip breakfast. They do NOT skip lunch. And, they eat at least 5-6 times a day. Why? Because this is a good way to fuel our bodies through the long days and prevent night-time bingeing. So, for 2013, I promise to eat MORE! I will NOT skip breakfast in an effort to decrease my calories. I will NOT skip lunch. And, I will NOT skip my snacks! I’ll try to keep up with my body’s needs through the day so I’m not starving all evening.
3. Under no circumstances will I exercise MORE to lose weight!
Every year in the past, I committed to exercise more to help me with weight loss. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy the exercise, found the club wasn’t for me, and after 6 months of hard work, hadn’t lost any weight. So, for the next 6 months, I did no exercise at all.
In medical studies, exercise is NOT a very effective weight loss tool, and is an INEFFECTIVE weight loss tool when used alone (without a structured diet). So, why do we always feel we need to embark on an exercise program to lose weight?
We absolutely SHOULD be active if we want to live a long, healthy life. Exercise helps us feel good, improves mood, improves energy, relieves depression, improves sleep, decreases injury risk, improves strength and coordination, and enables us to do more things. It does NOT however, generally result in weight loss.
After losing weight, exercise is the most important maintenance tool; however, evidence suggests that there is no benefit of structured exercise programs over just trying to be more active during the day (remember NEAT? Non-exercise activity thermogenesis – the energy expended from our daily activities NOT counting structured exercise).
So, this year I will NOT exercise to lose weight; I WILL exercise because I enjoy it and it makes me feel good. I’ll ONLY do the types of exercising and activities that I enjoy, and I’ll do them because they are FUN, not because I feel like I’m supposed to. And, I won’t gauge the effectiveness of my weight loss program based on the scale!
So, for 2013, let’s try the following:
- Enjoy your food – eat frequent, smaller meals that contain healthy things you love like protein and vegetables. If hungry, eat!
- Enjoy your activity – do the activities you love because they make you feel good. Don’t torture yourself with an exercise program you can’t stand.
- Focus on a lifestyle you love, not on a weight on the scale that requires you to adhere to a diet or exercise plan that is not realistic. A healthier lifestyle will lead to a healthier weight. Unfortunately, a healthier weight does NOT always lead to a healthier lifestyle.
And last but not least, Happy New Year! I hope the New Year is both happy and healthy, and I’d love to help every individual I work with try and reach their best and healthiest weight