By Erica Moe
Are you trying to lose weight? According to the Gallup Annual Health and Healthcare Survey, half of all adults want to lose weight, and they spend $40 billion dollars per year to pay for pills, potions and programs that claim to help. The problem with these so-called “solutions” is that there is a start and an end. When you lose the weight, the effort ends, and the weight comes back. If you’re tired of the cycle — gaining, losing, and gaining it back (sometimes even more than before) — it may be time to Get Real.
Starting any program to lose weight with the intention of doing it for four, six or 12 weeks is not a long-term solution. The Get Real approach, adapted from the book, “Get Real: A Personal Guide To Real-Life Weight Management,” by Daniel Kosich, Ph.D., encourages us to commit to small changes that will last a lifetime. Small changes over time add up to help stop the gain/lose cycle. It’s a realistic, life-long approach to maintaining weight loss. Consider the following tips to help you get started.
Remember how you felt about your body as a child? Most likely, you thought you had superhero attributes like X-ray vision or wings. You envisioned that you could jump over mountains and scale skyscrapers. Feeling comfortable with your body may not be easy, but try looking beyond skin deep to see yourself a bit differently. What’s your super power?
Physical activity is not limited to the day’s exercise session. Look for all those non-exercise activities you do, like standing in line, walking in the grocery store and carrying your kids. We live in a seated society — sitting to drive, eat, work and play. Technology has made tasks as easy as pushing a button. But making life easier could also make it shorter. Breaking up with your chair can be the first step.
Find healthy food you like, and follow the 80/20 principle. Prepare meals at home 80 percent of the time, and enjoy special occasions and celebrations for the other 20 percent. No need to swear off any particular type of food — everything in moderation.
What triggers an increase in food intake or a hiatus in physical activity? Usually the answer is stress. Stress plays a role in derailing many of our best-laid plans. Be proactive by setting aside a few minutes for meditation. Things happen, so be prepared for setbacks. For instance, you can have the power of 10. Stop, close your eyes, and count slowly to 10. If still feeling overwhelmed, count backward from 10 to one.
You can reach and maintain a healthy weight by focusing on self-image and empowerment, physical activity, nutrition and stress management. No pills. No potions. No programs.
The Mission Valley Y has its own Get Real course led by a personal trainer, nutritionist and behaviorist to help you create your own plan of action and support you in meeting your goals in a realistic way for good. For more information, visit missionvalley.ymca.org.
—Erica Moe is a certified exercise physiologist and has a master’s degree in exercise biology. She writes on behalf of the Mission Valley YMCA.