Weight loss demands focus plus mental and physical energy. So if you want to succeed, you need to prepare yourself. Part of that preparation is determining whether now is the right time to start your weight-loss program.
Weight loss is challenging, and it requires a commitment, as many people who have tried know very well. But if there is another factor present, such as stress, lack of time or a physical ailment or condition that limits physical activity, it can make the challenge of weight loss even more difficult.
Your weight-loss success depends on your readiness to take on this challenge. These questions can help you judge whether you're ready to lose weight:
Be honest. Knowing you need to make changes in your life and feeling up to the challenge are two different things. Successful weight loss depends on your willingness to take action.
You may set yourself up for failure if you're distracted by other major events in your life, such as marital problems, job stress or financial worries. Give your life a chance to calm down before you start. Making the lifestyle changes necessary to achieve and maintain a healthy weight must be among your highest priorities.
Losing weight at a relatively slow pace has proved safe, healthy and effective over the long term. You want to aim for a weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds a week. That may seem agonizingly slow in our instant-gratification society. But if you make improving your health a long-term goal of your weight-loss program, speed won't matter.
Increasing your level of physical activity is essential to losing weight and keeping it off. You'll also feel better and have more energy. Changing behavior isn't easy. It takes time and effort. You'll run into barriers on your path to success. But be optimistic. Learn from the past about what motivates you. Keep working to resolve barriers that might prevent success.
Lose weight because you want to and not because you think it's expected. You'll quickly appreciate the benefits that come from weight loss.
Have you resolved any eating disorders or other emotional issues that make it difficult for you to achieve a healthy weight? If you have a tendency to binge, purge, starve or overexert when you exercise, or if you're depressed or anxious, you may need professional help.
Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is a lifelong process. There's no going back to your old behaviors. Are you ready to make a permanent change? If you answered yes to all of these questions, you're ready to make the lifestyle changes necessary for permanent weight loss.
If you answered no to one or more of these questions, you may not be ready. And that's OK. Explore what's holding you back and face those obstacles. In some cases it may be a simple matter of timing. For instance, you may need to resolve other problems in your life. In other cases, you may need to work on related issues - such as your feelings toward weight loss or your willingness to commit to permanent changes.