As we put another holiday season behind us and dive into 2019, among the goals many of us invariably set is to lose weight and get in better shape. When it comes to pursuing either or both of these goals there is truly no better time than now. As you embark in your better fitness journey, know that you need not do it alone.
The Wellness Clinic at the Naval Health Clinic Lemoore is there to support you. Their purpose is to provide education, awareness, and special programs designed to encourage, motivate, and enhance the total well-being of our Naval community. Areas of specialty for the Wellness Clinic include:
• health education
• weight management
• tobacco cessation
• sexual responsibility
Fitness and weight loss goals require a broader understanding of where you’re at and where you want to be. Consider the following steps from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention:
Step 1: Make a commitment.
Making the decision to lose weight, change your lifestyle, and become healthier is a big step to take. Start simply by making a commitment to yourself. Many people find it helpful to sign a written contract committing to the process. This contract may include things like the amount of weight you want to lose, the date you’d like to lose the weight by, the dietary changes you’ll make to establish healthy eating habits, and a plan for getting regular physical activity.
Writing down the reasons why you want to lose weight can also help. It might be because you have a family history of heart disease, or because you want to see your kids get married, or simply because you want to feel better in your clothes. Post these reasons where they serve as a daily reminder of why you want to make this change.
Step 2: Take stock of where you are.
Consider talking to your health care provider. He or she can evaluate your height, weight, and explore other weight-related risk factors you may have. Ask for a follow-up appointment to monitor changes in your weight or any related health conditions.
Keep a “food diary” for a few days, in which you write down everything you eat. By doing this, you become more aware of what you are eating and when you are eating. This awareness can help you avoid mindless eating.
Next, examine your current lifestyle. Identify things that might pose challenges to your weight loss efforts. For example, does your work or travel schedule make it difficult to get enough physical activity? Do you find yourself eating sugary foods because that’s what you buy for your kids? Do your coworkers frequently bring high-calorie items, such as doughnuts, to the workplace to share with everyone? Think through things you can do to help overcome these challenges.
Step 3: Set realistic goals.
Set some short-term goals and reward your efforts along the way. If your long-term goal is to lose 40 pounds and to control your high blood pressure, some short-term eating and physical activity goals might be to start eating breakfast, taking a 15-minute walk in the evenings, or having a salad or vegetable with supper.
Focus on two or three goals at a time. Great, effective goals are —
• Forgiving (less than perfect)
For example, “Exercise More” is not a specific goal. But if you say, “I will walk 15 minutes, 3 days a week for the first week,” you are setting a specific and realistic goal for the first week.
Remember, small changes every day can lead to big results in the long run. Also remember that realistic goals are achievable goals. By achieving your short-term goals day-by-day, you’ll feel good about your progress and be motivated to continue. Setting unrealistic goals, such as losing 20 pounds in 2 weeks, can leave you feeling defeated and frustrated.
Being realistic also means expecting occasional setbacks. Setbacks happen when you get away from your plan for whatever reason – maybe the holidays, longer work hours, or another life change. When setbacks happen, get back on track as quickly as possible. Also take some time to think about what you would do differently if a similar situation happens, to prevent setbacks.
Keep in mind everyone is different – what works for someone else might not be right for you. Just because your neighbor lost weight by taking up running, doesn’t mean running is the best option for you. Try a variety of activities – walking, swimming, tennis, or group exercise classes to see what you enjoy most and can fit into your life – there’s a great spin class at the Mainside gym Tue / Thr evenings led by an awesome instructor – and it’s no threat for judgement. These activities will be easier to stick with over the long term.
Step 4: Identify resources for information and support.
Find family members or friends who will support your weight loss efforts. Making lifestyle changes can feel easier when you have others you can talk to and rely on for support. You might have shipmates or neighbors with similar goals, and together you can share healthful recipes and plan group exercise.
Step 5: Continually “check in” with yourself to monitor your progress.
Revisit the goals you set for yourself (in Step 3) and evaluate your progress regularly. If you set a goal to walk each morning but are having trouble fitting it in before work, see if you can shift your work hours or if you can get your walk in at lunchtime or after work. Evaluate which parts of your plan are working well and which ones need tweaking. Then rewrite your goals and plan accordingly. If you are consistently achieving a particular goal, add a new goal to help you continue on your pathway to success.
Remain focused on your health and fitness goals, and contact the Wellness Clinic at 559-998-4707 to set up and appointment.