Diabetes and Weight Loss: Preparing for the Challenge
Knowing we should lose weight for our own good, and actually doing it, have always been two very different things.
Though it is important to follow our doctor’s diabetes-related weight loss recommendations, sometimes slimming down starts with preparing our self to meet the challenges involved.
If you are struggling with losing weight, consider the following six issues that can undermine the best of diet and exercise intentions—and maybe talk to your doctor or dietitian about those that are troubling you.
- Willing or Not. Losing weight requires a willingness to let go of lifestyle habits we have grown accustomed to, and like. To keep the weight off, these changes must be permanent. This may, for instance, mean foregoing our favorite comfort foods most of the time and replacing them with whole grains, veggies, and fruits. It might mean getting up 45 minutes earlier on workdays to make time for regular exercise. How willing are you?
- Timing It Right. Since lifestyle changes can be difficult, reflect on whether you are mentally and emotionally available enough to meet the challenge. If you are already dealing with tough relationship issues, an illness, job strain, or financial problems, now might not be the best time to reinvent exercise and eating routines.
- Be the Tortoise. Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is a lifelong endeavor. To facilitate success, make sure your weight loss goal is both realistic and safe. For example, you might set an initial target of losing 10 percent of your current weight, and then aim at dropping a pound or two per week to achieve that goal. Gradual, steady weight loss is generally more sustainable over time.
- Feeling Factor. Many of us use food to soothe uncomfortable feelings such as grief, anger, boredom, loneliness, and stress. If you are an emotional eater, or have a history of an eating disorder, consider the wisdom of addressing this issue with a doctor or mental health professional before starting a weight loss program.
- Support Success. People generally have more weight loss success when they are supported and held accountable. If there is no family or friend to cheer on your efforts and provide encouragement, think about joining an in-person or online weight loss support group. If you intend to keep your efforts private, consider keeping a journal or log of your diet and activities, joining an online program, or engaging a health coach.
- Dread or Determination. Having a positive, adventurous attitude helps people stay the weight loss course. You are more likely to succeed if you have embraced the challenge, are focused on how good you will feel, and can see yourself enjoying new foods and activities along the way.
There will never be a perfect time to start a weight loss program, and no amount of preparation will make the process easy. However, we can make our success more probable by aligning - as much as possible - our attitude, emotions, supports, and diet goals with what is required for a healthier future.