Healthy weight management: Part 2

Learn about some tools that can help with the first steps towards weight loss.

You think it might be time to lose weight. Maybe it’s because your clothes aren’t fitting right or you have a health symptom, such as joint pain. Maybe your doctor has made a recommendation because your BMI indicates you are overweight or obese. Whatever the reason, weight loss is a very personal decision. It’s ultimately up to you, not friends or family, to start changing your eating habits and lifestyle in order to reach your goal. So where do you start?

Living A Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions recommends that you start by asking yourself two primary questions:

1. Why do I want to change my weight? 

The reasons for losing weight can be very different for each person. Begin by thinking about the reasons you want to lose weight, and then document them by making a list. Livestrong provides the following top reasons people want to lose weight:

  • Health first – being overweight can put a person at a higher risk of developing certain health conditions such as certain types of cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. Losing weight can help a person avoid and/or reverse many of these conditions.
  • Babies and biology – for some women, losing weight may help them avoid issues with infertility, pregnancy problems (such as gestational diabetes) and health complications for the baby. 
  • Live long and prosper – being at a healthy weight may positively influence a person’s social life by allowing them to do more with friends and family.
  • Winning the inner game – a negative body image can affect a person’s self-esteem and confidence. Losing weight may help a person feel like they have more control over their life.

2. Am I ready to make lifelong changes?

The next step is to ask yourself if this is the right time to lose weight. Even though there may never be a “perfect” time to begin your weight loss journey, you may be setting yourself up for failure if you’re not prepared to make changes to your diet and exercise. Some factors to take into consideration are:

  • Do you have the support of someone or something to help begin, and continue, the process of making the changes needed to lose weight?
  • Are there any problems or obstacles that could keep you from being more physically active or improving your eating habits?
  • Will everyday worries and/or concerns affect your ability to carry out your weight loss plan?

After thinking about these issues, you may decide it’s not the right time to lose weight. Give yourself permission to set a future date to revisit this concern. 

Before making any significant changes to your diet or exercise, Michigan State University Extension recommends that you first consult with your healthcare provider. Your doctor can assess your risk factors and provide the best guidance on how to begin the process of losing weight.

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