Every year we say the same thing, “I’m going to lose weight,” “I’m swearing off carbs,” “I’m hitting the gym five times a week.” And we might. For a minute. (Good for us!) But then — real life happens. We dine with friends. We work late. We get bored. We grow hungry. And we resume our same old, comfortable patterns.
2017 will be different though. At least it can be.
It all starts with creating self-awareness — really understanding your own unique goals and personal challenges, so that you can devise techniques and strategies that will work best for you on your customized weight loss journey.
Here are the questions you should ask yourself and discuss with your doctor:
Remember this answer. Always. If the answer is no, this should be your northstar. Harken back to the fact that you are working to improve health. Not weight. Not looks. But health overall.
2. How am I feeling about my weight?
Similar to the first question, it’s easier to remember how you are feeling than facts and numbers. This feeling is what funnels willpower and makes it stick.
3. What’s worked well for me in the past?
Maybe using a personal tracking, wearable device like a FitBit kept you better informed? Or maybe packing your lunch the night before worked well? Learn from your past successes and be sure to incorporate and expand them this year.
4. What didn’t work well?
Perhaps you struggled sticking to your meal plan at restaurants or parties? Or you realized that avoiding sugar entirely was too challenging rather than just limiting it? Or you succumbed to late night cravings? Learn from your past challenges put particular emphasis on how you can set a path forward factoring in your experiences.
5. Do I want to let my friends & family know about my goals? Or keep it personal?
What’s your appetite for sharing your weight loss journey? Some people find that sharing meal photos, recipes, workouts or small wins on Facebook helps keep them accountable. Others shutter at the thought. Think about what your in-person or social media sharing strategy will be in advance with an eye toward keeping yourself accountable in a way that feels right and authentic for you.
6. If I had a friend to do this with me, who would it be?
Support and accountability are crucial. Not every friend is the right diet buddy though. Really think through who may have a similar schedule/obligations, dietary restrictions, works at your gym, is on similar medications, or has the same goals and decide who would make the right partner to help you both achieve your goals. What kind of support do you want from that person?
7. What are the foods that I’m comfortable limiting? What foods would I never want to give up?
Make choices that you can sustain over time. Knowing these answers can help you plan food choices and menus in a way that meet your palate preferences.
8. Is there a certain time of day when it’s harder for me to fight cravings?
Knowing when your cravings typically kick in will be helpful in planning your weight loss strategies. If cravings have been your downfall in the past, you may even want to ask to your doctor about newly-available prescriptions to suppress these cravings during particular times of day, like the afternoon and early evening hours. These medications are for patients who meet a specific set of criteria though, so it’s important to have that discussion with your healthcare provider.
9. What changes should I make to where I store food in my kitchen, refrigerator or pantry?
Often, easy access to tempting foods can cause someone to derail their weight loss efforts. Plan ahead any changes, like moving the kids’ snacks to the back of the pantry, to best fight temptation.
10. How do I want to celebrate my successes? Small ones and big ones?
Plan ahead for how you want to celebrate your achieving your goals. Use these rewards as motivation to keep you going every day.
All of these questions above are designed to help make sure you take on your weight loss goals this season with your most important tool: self-awareness. Ask yourself these questions, answer them. Then do it one more time. Talk about your answers with your healthcare provider to make 2017 the year that resolution worked for you.