Managing weight in a healthy way requires both zooming in to focus on the details of living a healthier lifestyle and zooming out to better understand the bigger picture.
Too often individuals can get lost in the day-to-day specifics of trying to lose weight and may feel overwhelmed and frustrated by the ongoing immediate challenges.
Maybe you feel alone in your struggles or the scale isn’t budging fast enough, or you’re losing your motivation to persevere.
If this is you and you want to re-energize your program, taking time to zoom out and focus on the bigger picture may be helpful:
1-Weight is Only 1 Parameter of Health, Not a Destination itself
Though I advocate tracking body weight as a good self-monitoring tool, weight is only 1 metric of health.
It’s important to remind yourself of all the ‘health wins’ you are achieving along the way during your weight management journey.
If you’ve been trying to take control of emotional eating, maybe your overall emotional self-care is improving. This can lead to a better mood, sleep and energy level.
Or maybe your healthier lifestyle habits are allowing you to enjoy fun new activities such as dance or hiking, or giving you more energy to keep up with your children and grandchildren.
Being able to decrease use of medications to treat high blood pressure or diabetes is another big win to be celebrated.
Appreciating a range of improvements in your health will allow you to enjoy life and fixate less on the continuing daily challenges.
2-You Can Set Yourself Up for Success
When certain lifestyle habits cause ongoing struggles, your tendency may be to blame yourself for not being as successful as you planned.
I take a different approach by encouraging my patients to make some small changes in their environment to make the healthier behavioral choice the easiest one to follow.
For example, if you can’t get control of your snacking behaviors, I advise patients to clear their home of problem foods and make sure they have some tasty, healthful options at home instead.
If you are not as physically active as you’d like to be, put an exercise bike in your TV room so you can pair exercise with something you enjoy doing.
My latest self-help book, Six Factors to Fit: Weight Loss that Works for You! is filled with strategies to help set yourself up for success in the often-frustrating world of weight management.
3-Weight Management is a Team Sport
If your inclination is to embark on your journey alone, it’s time to branch out.
Getting support is so important to helping you be successful.
Whether you buddy up with a neighbor for a walking program, ask your spouse for help at home so you have more time for self-care, or see a registered dietitian nutritionist who can help you with meal planning, you don’t have to go it alone.
The ultimate help can be achieved if you partner with your health care professional in your quest to get healthier.
I hope these tips give you a new perspective on healthy weight management.
Robert Kushner, MD