Submitted to OnFocus – Just about everyone can relate to making a New Year’s resolution to lose weight or eat healthier. January typically goes pretty well. We stay on track. The routine is new and different. We are motivated to make a change.
Now we are into the second month of the year, and motivation tends to dwindle. By the middle of February, up to 80 percent of us have left our resolutions by the wayside.
Why is weight loss such a common resolution? Obesity is a growing epidemic worldwide. In the United States, the prevalence of obesity in men was 37.9 percent, and the prevalence of obesity in women was 41.1 percent, according to the 2015 and 2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Unfortunately, trends don’t show this getting any better.
Why is obesity such a concern? Obesity contributes to a plethora of diseases, many of which resolve with diet and exercise. Health complications associated with obesity include:
- Sleep apnea
- Type II diabetes
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
- Cardiovascular disease
- High cholesterol
- Degenerative joint disease
- Urinary stress incontinence
- Asthma and COPD
This list is certainly not comprehensive, but it highlights the expansive effects obesity has on our body. It can affect nearly every organ system. In total, there are 57 comorbidities associated with obesity, according to the Obesity Medicine Association.
If you are reading this, chances are you or someone you know is obese and suffering with one or several of these complications. What’s the good news? The CHOICES we make have the power to reverse many of these illnesses!
Here are some tips and tricks to help you stay on track and keep that weight loss goal in focus.
- Be specific. If your goal is too vague, you will be less likely to achieve it. For example, set a specific amount of weight you would like to lose. You can find out what a healthy weight for you would be based on your height by going to this website: https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/
- Make yourself accountable. Sign up for an event, even if it is virtual. Enlist a friend/spouse/family member to join in. Join a club geared toward exercise and weight loss.
- Educate yourself. This article is a great start! Understanding why it is so important to maintain a healthy weight is vital to staying motivated.
- Learn from mistakes. If you’ve failed before at trying to lose weight, spend time trying to understand why it happened. What can you do differently this time?
- Keep goals small and attainable. If you have a lot of weight to lose, don’t let that overwhelm you. Studies show that losing as little as 7 percent of your body weight, regardless of your weight, can have positive impacts on your health and organs.
- Celebrate your successes along the way. Don’t wait until the end of your goal to celebrate your achievements. Break up your goal into segments and each time you hit one take time to recognize your efforts.
- Exercise AND diet are key. Studies have shown that both together work better than either one alone; however, changing diet seems to have more effect on weight loss compared to exercise alone. Exercise is crucial at preventing weight gain after weight loss is achieved.
- Be flexible. Life will happen. You will get off track; but don’t beat yourself up. Every day is a chance for a fresh start. Also, know that you will likely need to alter your routine and goals as you reach them. For example: Once you’ve lost some weight, your goal doesn’t end. Your next challenge is how to maintain your weight.
- Talk to your health care provider. If you are struggling to lose weight despite all your best efforts, you may be a candidate for pharmacological options available by prescription through your primary care provider. Other potential surgical options could be discussed as well.
Overall, the key to success with weight loss is knowing that your lifestyle has to change and focusing your energy on the positive that comes with that, not on what has been “taken away.” Knowing that you will add years to your life, eliminate disease, move easier, gain confidence, boost your mood, and get better sleep are all internal motivators that will drive you day in and day out.
For help meeting your weight loss goals and living a healthier life, come see me or Katie Frankwick, PA-C at Aspirus Clinic – Marshfield. We are both accepting new patients at Aspirus’ newest clinic, which just opened in December in Founder’s Square. To schedule an appointment, call 715.898.1238. For more information about Aspirus Clinic – Marshfield, visit aspirus.org/Marshfield.
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