What’s the most common New Year’s resolution? You guessed it: Losing weight. What’s the most broken New Year’s resolution? Right again: Losing weight. Why is it so difficult to keep this personal promise? Maybe it’s the resolution itself. Think about it. Weight loss shouldn’t be the promise you make to yourself. It should be the outcome, the desired side effect, of doing something different.
As a dietitian, I see countless individuals with steadfast resolve and the best of intentions succumb to the battle of the bulge. Why? Because they focus all their attention on the desired end result instead of identifying and concentrating on the behavior changes needed to get there. Most of us can probably follow a popular diet plan or eliminate whole food groups long enough to drop a few pounds. With this success under our belt, we return to our normal life and the pounds lost, plus more, creep back on. Losing weight is hard, but maintaining weight loss is even harder. That’s why diets don’t work. DIET is a nasty, four letter word! We’ve got to think in terms of lifestyle – behaviors we can change and maintain right now, next week, on vacation, during the holidays, basically 365 days a year. Our new normal.
Most of us can identify lots of personal behaviors that get in the way of our weight loss. Pick one, turn it into a positive action, and then start practicing it. Give yourself about three weeks to master that behavior change, now a lifestyle habit, and then pick another. Repeat. In only six months, you’ll have incorporated at least eight new behaviors. Sound too good to be true? Here’s an example that can really add up: eliminate (or at least reduce) the amount of regular soda you drink. If you cut back by only two cans of regular soda (140 calories each) daily, you’ve reduced your energy consumption by the equivalent of 14 pounds in only six months!
Each of us is unique and different and one size weight loss does not exist, but we all have behaviors that can be changed, or at least tweaked, to get us a step closer to our desired outcome of weight loss. Need some help identifying what to change? Contact a Registered Dietitian who specializes in weight management. It sure beats eating cabbage soup for two weeks and is a lot more permanent.
Adrien Paczosa is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian practicing in Austin, Texas and the surrounding counties.
She is the owner and founder of I Live Well Nutrition her Dietitian practice which started in 2007 and serves clients in the Austin, Texas area in two locations. Fearless Practitioners, the division of her business that offers training to dietitians and wellness professionals.