Byline: Dr. Jose Pujalte Jr.
AH a New Year! It's time to make resolutions that can be broken, as the Bard says "like a twist of rotten silk." The time frame to revert to old ways, should we agree is about four weeks, maybe three? But hey, it's a new year - if losing weight is the resolution, let's not be cynical just yet.
Maybe this is the year to lose the avoirdupois.
Make It Work. Kathleen Zelman MPH, RD/LD, a weight loss expert, writes in WebMD that motivation must be kept high all year long for changes to stick. She offers several tips to make weight loss happen.
1. Make conscious decisions. It's true that the Christmas break was an excuse to eat anything on the table. The desserts were just too tempting to pass up! But this is January 2007 and if no discipline is applied, weight loss is just a hope. Now the simple truism of weight loss is this: More food intake and less physical activity equals weight gain.
2. Keep portions in check. Make the conscious decision to eat smaller portions. If it's been the habit to finish everything on the plate, get tinier servings to begin with. Studies have also shown that the more food a person is served, the more he will eat. So in this case, it may be fatally irresponsible to just keep pleasing the host.
3. Take concrete steps in exercise habits. The International Food Information Council reports that people aren't as clueless as to what needs to be done to become healthier. But little or nothing is done for the following reasons: Lack of motivation, competing priorities, and time restraints. These make sense when you realize that people start becoming unhealthy when work commitments increase in a promotion or a re-assignment. To take concrete steps in exercise, write out a schedule and follow it.
4. Track food intake. Interviews with successful losers identify the positive effect of starting a food journal. It may even not be so much (as the neurotic action of) counting calories as the mere act of making the effort of documenting what one ate or drank that helps. For one thing, some dieters are surprised how much and how often they eat. A food journal is a consumption reality check.
5. Enjoy early benefits. Once a few pounds are lost, some changes may be felt. Some arthritics feel less knee pain. Others begin to sleep better and snore less. Many begin to feel they have more energy. A visit to the doctor should confirm these improvements as lowered cholesterol and a better lipid profile as a whole. With these initial perks, backsliding is less likely.
6. Incorporate fitness. It's been proved that no long-term weight loss can be sustained without any form of regular, purposeful physical activity. The recommendation of at least 30 minutes of exercise three to four times a week does not automatically demand a gym membership. …