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Health care to health
01/06/2014
Six steps to shedding pounds this year

Six steps to shedding pounds this year

By Laura Dvorak, Lifestyle Health Manager
University of Colorado Health

January, the start of a new year when resolutions are made to start an exercise routine, eat healthier, quit smoking, lose weight and so on. 

If your resolution is to shed pounds this year, start with something simple that you know you can change.  Focusing on one behavior at a time will provide a more positive experience and set you up for future success.

Once you know where you want to start, develop a detailed, action-specific, realistic plan to guide you. 

1. Make a list of all the things you might try to help you lose weight. Make the list as detailed as possible. Examples include:

  • Plan and write down your daily meals and snacks out for a week and follow it.
  • When preparing your meals, make half of your plate fruits and vegetables. Visit choosemyplate.gov for great ideas.
  • Try to eliminate 200 calories a day.  Cut out 100 calories from your daily diet (smaller portions, eliminate one snack, etc.) and burn an extra 100 calories a day (go for a walk, take the stairs, park further from the door). Eliminating 200 calories a day can add up to a 20-pound weight change over a year.

2. Once your list is created, select one activity you will try first and make this your goal for the first week or month.

3. Make your goal as action-specific as possible. Make it realistic. A successful goal can answer these questions:

  • Is this something you WANT to do?
  • Is it achievable (something you can achieve that week)?
  • Is it action-specific? Answers the questions: What? How much? When? How often?
  • You are confident that you will complete the entire goal on a level of 7 or higher on a scale of 0 (not at all confident) to 10 (absolutely confident).

For example, if you choose to focus on planning your meals and snacks, your goal might be to plan snacks and meals for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of the week.  If you are not currently planning your meals every day of the week, it would not be realistic to say you’ll do it every day.

4. Write your goal down and share it with others. This will help you hold yourself accountable.

5. Start each week with a goal in mind. It can be the same goal as the week before. If for some reason you do not see success with the first activity you have chosen, go back to your list and try another one.

6. Be patient and give each activity time to work. Changing behaviors doesn’t happen overnight.   

Here’s to a successful, healthy new year!

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