We’re going there: New Year’s resolutions. You might not make a formal declaration, but I’m sure that somewhere in the back of your mind, there’s something you’re hoping to accomplish in 2020.
For many people, it’s getting healthier. More specifically, it’s losing weight. The problem with this resolution is twofold. The first is that most people only want to look at the scale. The second is that they want to do it as fast as possible. Both are recipes for failure.
Numbers are not great motivators. The risks of being overweight have nothing to do with numbers or how you look. Being overweight does, however, breed inflammation, joint pain, and massively boost the risk for heart disease, brain function, and diabetes. Taking a measured approach for healthy lasting weight loss, therefore, is the way to go.
There are a number of factors that promote weight loss and improve health. Diet and exercise are obvious, but things like sleep and screen time can also play a role. Here’s a simple motto to implement that may increase the chances of success with your resolution.
Focus on small, specific, and sustainable goals (3 s’s): You might think you need to drop 50 pounds of get back to your high school weight. That might be a potential long-term goal, but you’ll want to set your sights smaller out of the gate. A more reasonable approach is to drop 5–10 percent of body weight, or 1-2 pounds per week. After 6 months, you’re likely to have accomplished that goal.
Six months might sound like long time, but it’s not. After all, it surely took a lot longer than that to put the weight on. Trying to shed weight too quickly or having the philosophy you’ll get it off quick and keep it off does not work. It can even lead to metabolic damage. Instead using small, specific, and short-term goals to guide you is best.
Some examples include:
- Drink one less soda per day.
- Participate in Meatless Monday.
- Choose three dinner recipes for the week and shop on Sunday.
- No sitting for more than 1 hour without a break.
- Go for a 30-minute walk on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.
- Go to bed 15 minutes earlier so you can get up and have time to enjoy a healthy breakfast.
By focusing on the goal of lower blood pressure and blood sugar, and reducing the risk of a number of chronic conditions, the slow but steady approach to weight loss makes more sense. This year, try altering your approach for your best year yet!