From Dr. Jane's Notebook

Taking the Leap Toward Reducing

Before seriously engaging in a weight reduction program, it is most important to consider one's overall readiness. So often I have faced Monday mornings with that characteristic zeal to embark on a weight loss venture only to find myself burned-out on the idea by sunset. This classic "false start" routine can result in a bit of dismay.

To get a good start in the race of a marathon weight reduction effort requires that we first re-program our heads. In any weight loss program, we will experience a conflict between our minds and our body. That is, we may want our body to lose weight, but our mind still says "eat." It is therefore of critical importance to align the effort of these two systems so that the mind is ready to facilitate weight loss. This can be done by changing our approach to food.

To reprogram your thinking, develop both short- and long-range goals. A typical short range goal might be losing weight for a special occasion. However, there is little point in going through the torture of losing weight for only one occasion. So, it is important to consider the value of living in a slimmer body beyond this time as well. In fact, whenever we achieve those short-range goals, we should have the next landmark clearly in mind to keep us going.

Once our goals are clear, a suitable diet should be selected. The best diets are those that we can actually live on for an extended period of time. The problem with fad diets is that they are not nutritionally sound, and therefore, hunger becomes a genuine problem. The chosen diet should be one that is balanced, and one that can be accomplished within your lifestyle. It must be a diet that allows you to function normally both at work and at home. It should be a diet that you can continue into maintenance, knowing that a return to prior eating habits will return you to prior weights. It should therefore serve as a framework for future eating and cooking habits.

Losing weight requires a daily effort, a weekly effort, and a lifetime effort. Our old eating habits made us overweight, therefore, only by developing new eating and lifestyle habits will we achieve and maintain a slimmer body.

ęCopyright 1995, Jane R. Rosen-Grandon. All rights reserved.

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Last Updated October 24, 1998 by Gary M. Grandon, Ph.D.