Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Weight-Loss Wednesday: The Beginning

At my day job, I have been asked to run a 10-week weight management programmed called “Winning by Thinning or Maintaining.” The idea is to help people achieve proper weight in an effort to lower our healthcare costs.

I know this has nothing to do with writing, but as part of that program I plan to send out an Email to all of the participants with words of encouragement and tips on living a healthy lifestyle. So every Wednesday I’m going to have to write, so I figure I’ll also post what I write here in a new, but temporary (10 week) segment that I’ll call Weight Loss Wednesday. Even though at work I will be calling it Weigh-In Wednesday. If people out there are looking to improve their weight, or maintain it, maybe you’ll find something here to help you with that.

I mention habit trackers. Google a good food log online that works for you. Trust me, those things really work!!


Thank you participants in our new Weight-Loss program called “Winning by Thinning or Maintaining.” Our goal is to establish healthy habits to help everybody achieve or maintain a proper weight. This is a ten-week program and you should have had your first weigh-in Wednesday morning. If you haven’t weighed in, please do so immediately and we’ll pretend like you did.


I’m not asking that you share your weight with me, or anybody. If you want to, great!! Own it! I think it will help. But I do not want to discourage participation because somebody is afraid a number might be attributed to them. That is okay, you are more than a number to me anyways. All I ask is that you participate and share your goal with your Wellness Captain.


Every Wednesday is Weigh-In Wednesday. Reporting takes place every other Wednesday, so you will be asked to share your progress five times during this program. When you weigh yourself on Wednesday it is a good time to reflect on whether you are heading in the right direction or not.


Participants will receive a habit tracker. KEEP THIS ON YOU!! Use it to track what you eat, how much water you drink, the servings of fruits and vegetables, and how much physical activity you do. Track everything as if your success depends on it, because it might. Studies have shown that those who are attempting to achieve or maintain a certain weight are TWICE as successful if a log is kept.

When you weigh in every other week, make sure you show your habit trackers to your Wellness Captains. Those who weigh in will be entered into a drawing for nifty and fun prizes. Those who keep track of their habits will receive a second entry.


Make S.M.A.R.T. goals! Make sure your goals are…

Specific
Measurable
Attainable
Realistic
Timely



Specific: Don’t be too general. Answer the five “W” questions. Who is going to be involved? What are you going to change in life to better yourself? Where are places you are going to go to keep motivated, e.g., the gym, a walking trail, etc? When will you be doing these things? Why are you doing this?


Measurable: Set a goal that is based on numbers. If your goal is to lose weight, sit in a sauna for an hour and you will have accomplished your goal. But that isn’t what you meant, right? Make your goal measureable so you know if you’ve truly accomplished your goal. “I will lose 10 pounds,” is a measureable goal.


Attainable: Make the goals important to you. Only if they are important will you have the motivation, attitude, and ability to achieve you goals.


Realistic: Make sure it is a goal that can be achieved. You have ten weeks. Don’t expect to drop 100 pounds in that time. Even if you did, the reality is that you will gain that weight back, plus a little interest. Dropping five, ten, or even twenty pounds is more realistic. Be honest with yourself, it is the only way you’ll achieve what you want. I would like to limit the weekly weight loss to two pounds per week (twenty pounds total), which has been shown to be the safest way to take weight off and keep it off.


Time-Based: Have a time limit. In our case, we are setting it to ten weeks. That makes math really simple! If you want to lose the max, then that is only two pounds per week. Focus on the two pounds every week, not the twenty you wish to lose overall. If you want to lose more, have a separate goal outside of this program to continue losing weight. At two pounds a week, one can lose over a hundred pounds in a year! Just remember to be realistic. Remember to be S.M.A.R.T.


Make goals and habitually track what you are doing every day -- that is all we ask. For more help, talk to others who are participating to keep yourself and your teammates motivated. Maybe find a buddy!! Waking up to go for a morning walk or jog is more likely to happen if you know somebody is waiting for you. You are not competing against anybody except yourself. Don’t psych yourself out of it. My biggest hope is that each of you will learn something new to help you sustain a healthier lifecycle in the next ten weeks.


But ultimately, it comes down to you. Like the Michael Jackson song “Man in the Mirror,” take a look in the mirror. It is you that is going to have to make that change. YOU CAN DO IT!