New Year’s resolution–lose weight?
The start of a new year brings with it excitement for positive changes including both personal changes and goal-setting as well optimism for new opportunities. For many people, New Year’s resolutions offer the opportunity to make positive health changes including losing weight, quitting smoking, and getting back into shape!
For those whose interests include the aforementioned goals, I will be writing a series of articles on starting off the New Year on the right path!
LOSING WEIGHT/GETTING BACK INTO SHAPE!
STEP 1 – CALCULATE YOUR BMI (Body Mass Index)
Important! [You can calculate your BMI by first measuring your weight in Kilograms. Next, measure your height in meters. To complete the calculation divide your weight (in Kg) by your height (in meters) squared. Alternately, if you already know your weight and height in pounds/feet respectively, you can find an on-line metric converter. If you have difficulty with these calculations, ask your healthcare professional to calculate your BMI for you on your next visit.]
STEP 2 –EVALUATE YOUR BMI
Overweight and obesity are increasingly common health conditions worldwide for which there are few effective treatments or interventions. Obesity is typically defined based on your body mass index (BMI). From the World Health Organization (WHO, 1995):
- BMI 18.5 to 24.9 (Kg/m2) — Normal
- BMI 25-29.9 (Kg/m2) — Grade 1 overweight
- BMI > 30 (Kg/m2) — Grade 2 overweight
STEP 3 –CONSIDER YOUR OPTIONS
Keep in mind that one limitation of calculating your BMI is that it does not take into consideration your lean muscles mass. For those who are involved with resistance or weight training, you may have an artificially high BMI as a result of your lean muscle mass.
EVALUATE YOUR DIET
If you’ve done these calculations correctly and find that your BMI is over 25, then you have to consider that you may either be consuming too many calories or simply need to make changes to improve your diet. Either way, you may want to consider the investment in consulting a local, reputable, licensed dietician.
EVALUATE YOUR ACTIVITY LEVEL.
If the most strenuous exercise that you get throughout the day involves walking to and from your vehicle, then you probably are not getting enough exercise. Talk to your doctor to ensure that you do not have any pre-existing health conditions that may limit your ability to perform various forms of exercise. Once your doctor has cleared you for various types of exercise—you may want to consider joining a health club, finding a local, reputable personal trainer, or finding an appropriate form of exercise that will meet your goals. Remember, that including exercise choices that you find enjoyable will increase the likelihood that you stay active!
STEP 4 –SET ATTAINABLE GOALS
Once you’ve worked with your healthcare professional to ascertain how much weight you actually would like to lose, set weekly weight loss goals that are realistically achievable and within healthy parameters (2-3 lbs per week). For people with severe obesity, you will want to have supervision from your healthcare professional for your weight loss.
STEP 5 –IF YOU’RE NOT PLANNING TO SUCCEED, YOU’RE PLANNING TO FAIL!
For optimal weight-loss, you will need to plan on combining both dietary changes as well as exercise for a sustainable weight loss program. Several studies suggest that dietary changes alone often result in an eventual plateau of weight loss.
Remind yourself of the health-benefits of maintaining a healthier body weight and conversely the adverse consequences of obesity including:greater risk of type II diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, arthritis, stroke, and sleep apnea.