Saturday, July 11, 2009

Are you ready to lose weight?

I read this excellent list of questions on the Mayo Clinic website, and thought it was a good, searching list of questions for me to ask myself. If you are trying to lose weight, and finding yourself lacking in the motivation or self-control or ability to make change, you might find this interesting as well.

Are you motivated to make long-term lifestyle changes that require eating healthy foods and exercising more? Be honest. Knowing you need to make changes in your life and feeling up to the challenge are two different things.

Honestly, I don't always feel that motivated to make long-term lifestyle changes for this one reason: I'm addicted to junk food! BUT, when I think about how yucky it makes me feel to stuff myself with junk food, and when I think about the possiblity of passing on my (and my husband's) bad eating habits to our infant son, it fills me with dread. I want to be a great example to him of health and discipline. So yes, I feel motivated, but I don't necessarily feel that I have what it takes.

Do you currently have distractions in your life that could affect your commitment to a weight-loss program? You may set yourself up for failure if you're distracted by other major events in your life, such as marital problems, job stress, illness or financial worries. Give your life a chance to calm down before you start.

I feel this is a copout. My life will be in constant transition forever. We have a lifestyle that involves frequent moves to different countries. I can't wait to all the "distractions" in my life to be gone before I make changes. This time is as good as I'm going to get!

Do you truly believe that slower is better? Losing weight at a relatively slow pace has proved safe, healthy and effective over the long term. You should aim for a weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds (0.5 to 1 kilogram) a week.

Yes, I want healthy weight loss, surrounded by real life-changes.

Are you realistic about your weight-loss goal? Remember, losing as little as 5 to 10 percent of your weight can improve your health if you're overweight or obese. This means, for example, losing 10 to 20 pounds (4.5 to 9 kilograms) if you weigh 200 pounds (91 kilograms). Ask your doctor how much weight you can safely lose.

Realistic? I weight about 190, and I'd like to weigh about 130. I'm 5' 6.5" tall. Is that realistic? I don't know. If I made it down to 140, I bet I'd be pretty happy with myself!

Do you have family and friends to support your weight-loss efforts? It certainly helps to have someone in your corner. If you don't have someone you can rely on, consider joining a weight-loss support group.

My support = weight watchers online. And I don't sign in their very often. I found the real life meetings more effective. It's hard for me that my husband is overweight and seems not too inclined (in theory maybe, but not in practice) to change his habits.

Do you believe that you can change your eating habits? Sounds easy to do in theory, but in practice, it's often difficult. It's hard to cast aside established behaviors and develop new lifestyle habits, but it can be done.

I don't know if I believe in myself or not. I don't know if I can really change my habits.

Are you willing to become more physically active? Increasing your level of physical activity is essential to losing weight and keeping it off.

Yes, I'm willing to get more active!

Do you have time to keep records of your food intake and physical activity? Keeping records increases your chance of success. You'll be pleasantly surprised by how helpful it is to track your progress.

Yes, I have time to keep records. I want to do it.

Are you willing to look at past successes and failures in weight loss and other areas of your life? Learn from the past about what motivates you. Keep working to resolve barriers that might prevent success.

Yes, I am willing to learn from past successes and (I have a lot more of these to glean insights from!) failures!

Do you view a healthy-weight program as a positive experience? Losing weight doesn't have to be a bad experience. Many people find they feel better when they're more active and weigh less.

Yes, if I was succeeding at a weight-loss program, I feel like it would make me feel SO good!

Have you resolved any eating disorders or other emotional issues that make it difficult for you to achieve a healthy weight? If you have a tendency to binge, purge, starve or overexert when you exercise, or if you're depressed or anxious, you may need professional help.

I don't think I have a disorder per se, but I know I eat to make myself feel good. And I look forward to my snacks--chips, chocolate.

Do you believe that a healthy weight is a lifelong commitment? Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is a lifelong process. There's no going back to your old behaviors. Are you ready to make a permanent change?

I want to make lifelong changes. I'm just wondering if I have it in me.

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