Weight gain can be distressing and often takes a toll on self-esteem. Having been over 300 lbs myself years ago, I understand firsthand what it’s like to get through the feelings of doubt and uncertainty that weight loss is even possible. The unfortunate irony here is that as self-esteem decreases, so does confidence in your ability to actually lose the weight. Like many others, I’ve tried every diet on the market year after year without success- finally coming to the conclusion that if I were going to be successful at losing weight (and keeping it off for good), I would have to stop “dieting.” In other words, get out of the mindset that this is a temporary problem that can be fixed by a short-term eating plan and a super aggressive exercise regime that’s impossibly unrealistic long-term. This is a difficult thing to accept; especially if you’ve been able to maintain a healthy weight throughout most of your life to this point. Metabolism can definitely change however and be affected by a number of things. It’s always a good idea to work in partnership with your doctor to rule out any medical issues that could present a barrier to your weight loss efforts.
Weight loss occurs when we create a negative energy balance-meaning that the calories consumed are less than our total expended. Losing weight and keeping it off long term requires a plan that’s a good fit with your current lifestyle. It should include foods that you currently enjoy but in moderation; as well as physical activities that you’re comfortable with and are willing to do on a regular basis. Consider visiting the U.S.D.A.’s ChooseMyPlate website for great tools to help you begin your weight loss journey. From there you can create a free profile with SuperTracker where you’ll be able to plan meals, analyze your diet and track physical activity. You’ll also learn about First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” Initiative.
The next step may be to consider setting up a few small incremental goals to help you stay on track, focused and motivated. Far too often we concentrate on the final weight goal that we neglect all the smaller accomplishments along the way that lead us there. Although it’s exciting to think about where we want to be in the future, it can also make the goal seem so much further away. Remember too that goals don’t always have to be pounds lost on a scale; but could perhaps be a smaller clothing size, waist measurement or something entirely different like improvement of a medical condition. All of these represent progress towards your final goal which is to be healthier and feel better about yourself.