By Julie Redfern, R.D., L.D.N.
We usually have the best of intentions when it comes to losing weight. But many of us find our efforts sabotaged by people, places or things. Do any of these scenarios sound familiar?
Plan: Eat a nutritious breakfast at home
Plan: Refuse second helpings or dessert at the holiday dinner Reality: Aunt Bessie baked your favorite pie; it would feel rude not to have some
Plan: Walk three times a week
Each of these situations contains a barrier that can be successfully eliminated using these strategies:
You can probably list in a snap the reasons you want to lose weight: be healthier, look better, have more energy, feel better about yourself. But did you ever think about why you don't want to lost weight? There are usually some reasons for not wanting to diet or change our eating habits. Think a minute. Are any of these on your list?
Come up with as many as you can and then use the following strategies to eliminate them.
When you're in an Aunt Bessie-like situation, don't allow others to make food decisions for you. Be honest, direct, and tactful about what you want and don't want to eat. Replace passive responses with assertive ones and take control. Here are some examples.
People around you can make it difficult for you to lose weight. They often use high calorie treats as a sign of affection. Time together always includes food. Family members, friends, and co-workers may not know how to react to you or help you. They may wonder if your relationship will change or if they have to match your self-control.
Let them know how they can support you. Be specific. Here are some examples:
Above all, ask them not to make comments about what and how much you eat.
Successful weight loss involves setting realistic and specific goals. Too often people make statements such as "I want to lose weight." But it's too vague and doesn't include any concrete steps to achieve your goal. It's more helpful, for example, to say "I will go food shopping weekly and purchase the healthy foods on my list. This will help me make healthier selections during the week." By working on another small step or goal each week, you will begin to achieve your overall goal of losing weight.
Many people feel overwhelmed with all the tasks involved when trying to change their eating habits. It seems like so much work! But if you break things down into small, manageable steps, you'll be more successful. Choose one behavior or goal a week to work on and ask yourself what you need to do to achieve it.
Julie Redfern , R.D., L.D.N. is a registered dietitian and manager of the Nutrition Consultation Services at Brigham and Women's Hospital. She specializes in nutrition counseling for the obstetrics and gynecology department. She is a graduate of the University of Vermont and completed her dietetic internship at the Universit of Cincinnati Medical Center.