Long term success with a weight program sometimes follows a bumpy, uneven path. Many obstacles can keep you from achieving a more healthy weight.
Learning to identify potential roadblocks and confront personal temptations is an important part of being successful in losing weight. To make it past the rough spots, it's important to have strategies ready to guide your response as problems arise.
This easy-to-use action guide identifies common weight-loss barriers and practical strategies for overcoming them. If you find a strategy that helps you, include it with your weight-loss program.
The barriers are grouped into three categories: nutrition, physical activity and behaviors. To lose weight -- and to maintain that weight loss -- it's important that you address all of these components.
I've tried to lose weight before, but it didn't work. Now, I don't have confidence that it'll work this time.
For many people, losing weight will be one of life's most difficult challenges. Don't be discouraged if you've tried losing weight in the past and you weren't able to -- or you lost weight but gained it all back. Many people experiment with several different weight-loss plans before they find an approach that works.
Following these tips may help you succeed this time around:
Accept the fact that you'll have setbacks. Believe in yourself. Instead of giving up entirely, simply start fresh the next day.
I eat when I'm stressed, depressed or bored.
Sometimes your most intense longings for food happen right when you're at your weakest emotional points. Many people turn to food for comfort -- be it consciously or unconsciously -- when they're dealing with difficult problems or looking for something to distract their minds.
To help keep food out of your mood, try these suggestions:
When you feel down, make an attempt to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. For example, write down all of the positive qualities about yourself and what you plan to achieve by losing weight.
I have a hard time not eating when I'm watching television, a movie or a live sporting event.
There's nothing inherently wrong with eating while watching a show, film or live event, but when you're distracted, you tend to eat mindlessly -- which typically translates into eating more than you intended to eat. If you're unable to break this habit, at least make sure you're munching on something low in calories.
Here are suggestions you might consider:
When I go to parties, I can't resist all of the snacks and hors d'oeuvres.
In most social situations where food is involved, the key is to treat yourself to a few of your favorite hors d'oeuvres, in moderation. If you try to resist the food, your craving will only get stronger and harder to control. By following a few simple strategies, you can enjoy yourself without overeating.
Next time you step up to the hors d'oeuvre table, try these strategies:
Eat something healthy before you arrive. If you arrive hungry, you'll be more inclined to overeat.
I'm a late-night snacker.
Avoid eating late at night because loading up on calories right before bed only intensifies the challenge of not overeating. There's less chance for you to be active and burn off those calories until next morning. It's better to eat during the day so that your body has plenty of time to digest the food before you go to bed.
Here are suggestions if you often find yourself battling the late-night munchies.
Make sure you eat three good meals during the day, including a good breakfast. This will help reduce the urge to snack late at night, simply because you won't be so hungry.
Don't keep snack foods around the house that may tempt you. If you get late-night munchies, eat fruits, vegetables or other healthy snacks.
Find something else to keep you busy in the hours before bedtime, such as listening to music or exercising. Your snacking may be more of a mindless habit than actual hunger.
When I lapse from my eating plan, it's hard for me to get back on track.
Lapses happen. Many times a minor slip -- a busy day when you couldn't find the time to eat right or get exercise -- leads to more slips. That doesn't mean, though, that you've failed and all is lost. Instead of beating yourself up over a lapse, accept that you're going to experience bumps along the way and put the incident behind you. Everyone has lapses. Think back to the initial steps you took when you first began your weight program and put them to use again to help you get back on track.
Here are suggestions to prevent a lapse from turning into a full-blown collapse:
About Donald Hensrud, M.D.
Donald Hensrud, M.D., M.P.H., is chair of the Division of Preventive, Occupational, and Aerospace Medicine and a consultant in the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Nutrition at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. He is also an associate professor of preventive medicine and nutrition at the College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic. A specialist in nutrition and weight management, Dr. Hensrud advises individuals on how to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. He conducts research in weight management, and he writes and lectures widely on nutrition-related topics. He helped publish two award-winning Mayo Clinic cookbooks.
About Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is the first and largest integrated, not-for-profit group practice in the world. Doctors from every medical specialty work together to care for patients, joined by common systems and a philosophy that the needs of the patient come first. Over 3,600 physicians and scientists and 50,000 allied staff work at Mayo, which has sites in Rochester, Minn.; Jacksonville, Fla.; and Scottsdale/Phoenix, Ariz. Collectively, Mayo Clinic treats more than 500,000 patients a year.
For more information, please check out Mayo Clinic Diet