Employee & Community Health

Are you ready to lose weight?

2/21/2019 by Rose Prissel, MS, RDN, LD

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"I want to lose weight." That's a great goal, but are you really ready? Starting before you're ready or when you're greatly distracted by other events in your life — job stress, excessive family commitments, or caring for an elderly parent who is ill, for example — can set you up for failure. Why? Because taking off pounds takes a mental "all-hands-on-deck" approach for success. 

Before you launch into a weight-loss plan, it helps to understand the reason you want to slim down, what challenges you may face, what you hope to gain from the change and more. What is your burning inner motivation, the one that will help keep you focused? Once you're ready, it's a super motivator!

Here's an exercise and a checklist you can do to help identify if you're ready for weight loss — and for success!

Start by grabbing a notepad and asking yourself these questions:

  1. Why do you want to lose weight? 
  2. Is now a good time? If not now, when?
  3. Think about what's important to you — what you value, when and where you spend most of your time, etc. 
  4. How will losing weight fit into the things you value? Will you be able to enjoy them more? 
  5. What is one small step you'll start with? 

Check off all the reasons that move you to lose:

  • Look better
  • Feel better
  • Feel comfortable in my clothes
  • Improve my physical stamina
  • Manage high blood pressure
  • Improve my cholesterol
  • Prevent or manage diabetes
  • Reduce joint pain
  • Prevent or reduce lower back pain
  • Improve my sleep
  • Increase my energy
  • Improve my self-image and self-confidence
  • Improve my outlook on life
  • Improve my quality of life
  • Increase my life expectancy
  • Be a role model for my family
  • More motivators?

Do some prep work:

  • Consider your health. If you have health issues, check with your health care provider before you get started. 
  • Get support. Losing weight means changing habits and if you have a friend or family member rooting for you, you're more likely to make those changes stick. If you prefer to be independent, be accountable to yourself — weigh in, keep a food and activity journal to monitor progress. 
  • Record your starting point. That can include calculating your body mass index (BMI), your waist size (or other measurements) and your weight. 
  • Choose your approach. Pick a well-tested nutrition and exercise plan that will work for you and fit into your lifestyle. 
  • Pick a start date. Then jump in!

Also, watch for our upcoming series, "Beyond hunger: Discovering your eating patterns", which will help you explore when, what, how much, why you eat and how it makes you feel. For more tips and resources for taking off pounds or maintaining a healthy weight, visit www.mayoclinic.org and check out "diet and exercise recommendations."

Rose Prissel, MS, RDN, LD, is a dietician at Mayo Clinic working in pediatric and adult nutrition, with a focus on preventive care, sports nutrition and weight management.