How many times have you made a New Year's resolution to lose weight? Here's how to keep that resolution to lose weight, with a plan for success from dietitian and author Elizabeth Somer.
I'm Lisa Birnbach for Howdini. And I want to lose weight every January. That's a big deal for me. I know it is for a lot of our viewers. Elizabeth Somer is with us, the dietitian and author.
How do we start? We have overdone it. We feel guilty. We've beat ourselves up. And now it's January.
Yes and the biggest mistake-- well, two. The biggest mistake people make is, one, they try to take it all on too fast and too furiously. They say I'm going to lose 30 pounds this month. And I'm going to live at the gym. And I'm not going to eat anything. And, of course, within two weeks the tennis shoes are at the back of the closet, and we're back to grazing out of the refrigerator.
So that's one. And then the other one is not having a plan, just sort of going into it with this, I want to lose weight, and I'm going to do it. You've got to have a specific plan how you're going to do it, and you need to take baby steps to get there. Really important.
Well, also, you slide off the wagon on January 3rd, and then you give up. Right? Shouldn't you just get back on the wagon?
Well, yeah. I think it's because people just take on too much too fast.
Well, what's a good way to start?
OK, well first, take the first three days just to look at what you're doing in the first place. Keep a journal for three days and write down everything you eat, when and where and how much, to get an idea because, probably, most of what you're doing is fine. It's probably just a few things that need to be tweaked, not the entire eating plan. And then start making a plan from there.
You wouldn't leave New York, headed on a road trip for California, and not pull out the map. Well, you need a specific map how you're going to get there. Maybe you'll find, hm, I don't eat breakfast because I'm always thinking that's a great way to cut calories. So maybe it'll be I'm going to start eating breakfast because I know that people eat breakfast actually have a much easier time managing their weight. And the people that eat breakfast not only lose the weight, but they keep it off, which is even more critical.
So have a light breakfast in the morning. Maybe it's that you'll find, you know, I'm really smothering the bread in butter. I'm going to switch to a little bit of jam and take the butter off of my toast. Have a really specific plan.
I'm not going to try to work out an hour a day because I haven't worked out in 10 years. I'm just going to add a 10-minute walk three days a week to my routine with the idea that, over the course of several weeks, I'll increase up to a 15-minute walk. And then I'll increase it to two 10-minute walks. And that, by the end of the year, I'll be walking about an hour a day. So have a very specific plan, and take baby steps to get there.
Another thing they're doing is they're not eating differently on the weekends than during the week. A lot of people say, well, I'll be really good all week, and then I'll just splurge on the weekends. We now know that people that really maintain a significant amount of weight don't go off their schedule on the weekends. They eat consistently from Monday through Sunday and from one week to the next.
Another thing they do is that they get on the scale a lot more often than we used to think people needed to do. They're monitoring their eating habits closely and then doing just what you said. At the first sign of weight gain-- or not weight loss, in the case of losing weight-- they jump right back on to their dieting habits to nip those little gains in the bud.
Now I've also heard that, if you become obsessed with your scale, that's not good either because, well, obsession of any kind isn't healthy.
I know. And that's what I've been telling people for years is, maybe, get on the scale once a week, but don't obsess about it because your weight will vary from day to day. And sometimes it's just water weight. But what we're finding from the national weight control registry is that people that really are serious about keeping their weight under control are weighing themselves more often than we've been recommending up until recently.
When you take it off and you're a little older, is it going to be harder to do? Does your metabolism slow down as you age? I'm told that menopause is when women thicken.
Thicken? I don't like that idea.
It's not a very pretty image, no. Is that true?
I don't know whether that's true because all the studies, up until recently, have been on older women who were sedentary. And we didn't have a big population of 50-plus women that were vigorously active.
Well, we do now.
We do now. And what we're finding is that women that stay active-- and I'm not just talking strolling the mall but-- are biking, and they're hiking, and they're walking briskly, and they're running, and they're doing things, we're finding that they're maintaining a metabolism that's very close to a woman in her 20s. They also look younger. They have no risk for heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, all the way around. If I can't get you for health reasons, maybe I can get you on the vanity, that, when you look at pictures of women in their 50's that are vigorously active, people guess they're up to 20 years younger.
Yeah. I know it's not fun, but lot's of things in life aren't fun. You have to pay bills too. Just exercise.
I don't do those either. OK, Elizabeth Somer, thank you so much. For Howdini, I'm Lisa Birnbach.
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