How can I achieve success with my weight loss efforts?

Dr. Andrea Pennington, MD
Integrative Medicine

Quantitative methods are the best way to assess whether your plan will end in success or end in a whimper. Instead of judging how skinny you look when standing next to your sister, measure how many pounds you have lost the last four weeks. Keep a journal to track your progress in measured milestones. Stating that you will go to the gym 7 days a week may be difficult to follow. Even the best athletes in the world have rest days for their body to recover. We know that you can safely and comfortably lose 2 pounds a week.

To set a goal that you will lose 10 pounds a week is setting yourself up for failure. Being realistic means recognizing that some factors cannot be controlled. I often talk to people who want to look like runway models or Hollywood stars. No matter how great the results, some people will never get a Victoria Secret photo spread or a job as a body double for a Victoria Secret model or Matthew McConaughey. But you can embrace realistic goals to boost your energy and enthusiasm and get you the best body possible.

By being consistent with your efforts -- the work you are putting in to reach your weight loss goals with regard to the two key components, nutrition and exercise.
If you enter a marriage with the expectation of being perfect, you would be able to stay married for about a month before it drives you insane. So, why be perfect with your diet? Aim to be imperfect and accept that this is a lifelong learning process.

Take small steps in the beginning to reach small goals. Your initial success will fuel your motivation to continue to make changes. The first step may be to drink more water in place of sodas, rather than losing 30 pounds in a month.

Think of who you and your partner were when you first got married versus who you are now -- those changes didn't happen overnight and it didn't require either one of you to be perfect, right? When you set the bar to "perfect," it becomes an "all or nothing" scenario, which leads to yo-yo dieting and a sense of failure. Have realistic expectations so that you are constantly succeeding at a pace that doesn't require perfection. Perfection is hard. Small, persistent steps forward is easy and rewarding.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.