Be a Weight Loss Winner

By: Lynn Smith

Do you know that approximately 4,000 people die a day from cancer and heart disease? Of the people with heart disease, 70% of them are overweight. 42% of people diagnosed with breast or colon cancer are overweight.

I bring up these statistics to emphasize the importance of maintaining a healthy body weight. I realize this is a difficult challenge for many people. Over two-thirds of the adult population in the United States is overweight. Obesity is reaching epidemic proportions.

However, there is hope. There are ways to reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer by following some simple steps to guide you through the weight loss process. If losing weight were easy, everyone would be doing it. There is no magic pill and I don't believe there ever will be. However, the process to lose weight is simple. You consume less calories than you burn. It only takes consuming a few less calories than you burn to create weight loss over time.

For example, did you know one can of soda has 140 calories? If you drink one can of soda per day or consume 140 calories more per day than you require, you will gain 14 pounds over the course of a year. However, if you eliminate that one can of soda per day, you will lose 14 pounds in a year. Can you see how this small change adds up over time?

Another example of a small step that adds up over time is doing some physical activity. Walking at a brisk pace for 30 minutes a day will burn approximately 160 calories. If you walk 30 minutes a day and eliminate one can of soda a day you will lose approximately 30 pounds during the course of the year.

The mistake most people make is they want to lose the weight too quickly. For instance, you receive an invitation to your high school reunion and you decide to lose 30 pounds in a month. In order to achieve this goal you would have to lose 10 pounds a week. This is not a realistic goal. You will be setting yourself up for frustration and failure. Did the 30 pounds come onto your body in a month? You gained the weight gradually over time. Sometimes it feels like it comes on all at once, because you may not notice an extra 5-10 pounds, but when your clothes don't fit anymore because you have gained 15-20 pounds than you realize you have gained weight and it feels like a sudden change.

Taking a holistic approach to weight loss can make it fun and relatively painless. As a health coach, what I do is help people evaluate their lifestyle to uncover what has caused their weight gain. As you evaluate your lifestyle, patterns appear that show you what areas of your life need to change in order for you to lose weight and achieve health. Together we set up a plan to create a healthier lifestyle one small baby step at a time. When change happens too quickly it tends not to stick. It took you a lifetime to create your current lifestyle. Does it make sense that it will take time to create a new healthy lifestyle?

It can be difficult to find the motivation to start a weight loss program, especially if you have tried and failed many diets before. One of the keys to successful weight loss is uncovering your motivation for change. This is another area where health coaching can offer you a way out of the Yo-Yo dieting cycle. A health coach provides you with support and motivation to achieve your weight loss goals, they also provide education and resources to incorporate healthy habits into your lifestyle so you don't have to spend time researching your options, they help you set goals and celebrate your successes along the way. Most people who successfully lose weight have someone encouraging them and supporting them through the process. Change can be difficult and having someone there to support you during the difficult times and celebrate your successes will lead to permanent weight loss.

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