7 questions to ask yourself before starting a weight loss plan

Setting up realistic, descriptive and easy-to-measure goals are important part of successful weight loss. They keep you focused and motivated. Here are seven questions to ask yourself before starting a weight loss plan:

1. Is the timing right?

Before you begin a weight loss plan, I recommend you assess your readiness for change. Make sure it is the right time in your life to make weight loss a lifestyle change. If you have significant changes in your life such as changing jobs, starting school, moving in to new house, it might not be the best time. You want to make sure you feel comfortable to make changes and try new things. Make sure it will not cause additional stress or be an overwhelming experience.

2. Do I have short-term goals?

Write short-term goals and plan how you are going to achieve them monthly or even weekly. Be more specific with you short term goals. A reasonable goal for many people is losing 5-10 percent of current weight. The reasonable goal is to try to lose 0.5-1 lbs a week. I recommend thinking about three components: fitness, meal plan and social support (from family and friends).

3. Am I ready to make fitness a priority?

For successful weight loss and weight maintenance, incorporate physical activity in your plan.

Think about what you prefer doing: walk with your dog, garden, bike, gym, pool or workouts. Consider what exercise equipment you have at home, what video programs you might have or like, membership at a local gym or exercise programs or classes at local community centers. Even plan time a day that is sustainable for you to continue to exercise long-term.

4. Am I ready to change my meal plan?

Meal planning is a critical part of weight management. Evaluate your current diet: how many meals you eat a day, where your meals come from (home versus restaurant pick ups), how many times a week you eat out. Write it down and review, see if you can make improvement.

5. Do I have support?

Get support from your friends, family and co-workers. It is very important that you have someone you can discuss your concerns and get support if you have a bad day. I encourage building a relationship with you health care provider so you feel comfortable to discuss your weight management progress on regular basis. Don’t be afraid to seek support and don’t be afraid to get help when you need it.

6. Do I have long-term goals?

Think about why you want to lose weight, why you think it might be important for you and what results you want to see. Be specific. Write down simple ideas and add details through the process. For example, to walk outside with your kids every day, take a trip to the zoo or water park, long walks with your dog, improve diabetes, prevent diabetes, reduce amount of medications, or run a 5K next spring. Be creative, brainstorm.

7. Am I prepared to evaluate progress? Do I have an evaluation plan?

I recommend weekly rechecks. Record your goals, food and nutrition in a diary. It will help you to stay focused and motivated.

Now, take time to celebrate your achievements!

You should be proud of yourself. Some weeks you might not feel like you’re losing weight or maybe even losing less than you hoped for, but if you stay consistent and remind yourself why you doing it, you will see results.

I have been successfully helping people lose excessive weight with Mercyhealth’s unique Healthy Image Weight Management Program. The program addresses the problems being overweight and/or obese, enabling people to regain control of their lives and their health by giving them the necessary life skills to lose weight and achieve a healthier lifestyle. The program provides participants necessary and useable information, structure and tools to achieve their desired state of weight loss, nutrition and activity level to promote healing in its broadest sense.

For more information about Mercyhealth’s Healthy Image Weight Management Program or if you would like to schedule an evaluation with me, call (608) 741-2430 or CLICK HERE

Written by Dr. Mariya Pogorelova.

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