Banner Health McKee Medical Center

SPR 2017

Spirit of Women magazine is a national publication presented to women by hospitals and their physicians. The magazine provides up-to-date, evidence-based healthcare information and promotes our hospitals as leaders in women's health excellence.

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27 An external motivator can be fitting into a dress for your best friend's wedding, for example. "It's great in the short term but doesn't provide long-term motivation," explains Cohn. Internal motivation, such as avoiding an illness common in your family, may lead to greater adherence. "Research suggests that a desire for improved health leads to more successful weight-loss attempts compared with a desire to change one's appearance. We do find that many study participants are highly motivated to lose weight in order to avoid or alleviate health problems associated with overweight/obesity," says J. Graham Thomas, associate professor (research) for the Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center at Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. (The National Weight Control Registry at Brown Medical School/The Miriam Hospital tracks and conducts research with people who have lost significant amounts of weight and kept it off for a considerable length of time.) STEP 2: Be honest with yourself Your good intentions may not be enough if your weight- loss plan doesn't suit you. That's why you need to do a self- inventory and really ask yourself what will work for you, says Beth Kitchin, a registered dietitian nutritionist and assistant professor in the nutrition sciences department at The University of Alabama at Birmingham. For example, what's your personality? Do you prefer to tackle challenges by yourself or with others? "Some people can do this on their own, but that's the minority," says Cohn. If you thrive when you have to be accountable, Cohn suggests partnering with a neighbor or joining a group. Perhaps an app that logs your daily calories or the time you spend exercising would provide the accountability you need to stick with it. Step 3: Set your goals correctly Although goal setting can get you into a frame of mind for dieting, whether by yourself or with others, be careful not to confuse goals with outcomes, says Kitchin. "People set goals wrong. What they do is say, 'My goal is to lose 10 pounds.' But that's not a goal, it's an outcome," says Kitchin. A goal, according to Kitchin, is an action step over which you have control and which can get you to your desired outcome. For example, commit to walking 30 minutes a day at moderate intensity, three days a week. It's something you can manage, and you'll burn 100 to 200 calories more for each day of walking, getting you closer to your desired outcome. Step 4: Develop a healthy attitude toward dieting "Mentally, so many times people are either on a diet or off a diet. 'These foods are bad; I cannot eat them. These foods are good for me, and I must eat them,'" says Kitchin. Instead, "get into the mindset of eating healthier but not eliminating a single food or category," says Kitchin. Being the perfect dieter isn't necessary either: "You don't have to be an A-plus student in your nutritional choices," says Cohn. "It's the consistent attempt and follow-through to get to a healthier weight that matters." S RESEARCH-BASED weight-loss tactics Michelle Cardel, a registered dietitian and assistant professor at the University of Florida College of Medicine, suggests these weight-loss techniques as the most likely to be effective, based on the results of a number of research studies: • Get enough sleep. If you don't get adequate sleep, you're more apt to eat too much. Sleep deprivation can lead to an imbalance of hormones that control appetite. • Plan ahead. It can be as simple as stocking the refrigerator with fruits and vegetables so you can fill up on low-calorie produce. • Step on the scale. The majority of members of the National Weight Control Registry at Brown Medical School/The Miriam Hospital weigh themselves at least once a week. It's a beneficial self-monitoring tool, according to Cardel. • Keep a diet journal. This makes you accountable for what you are eating. • Find a diet partner. "Studies show this helps with weight loss," says Cardel. • Exercise. Although it doesn't matter where you get physical activity, you're more likely to show up for a workout if you have someone to meet at a gym or facility, says Cardel.

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