New Years Resolutions
by Diane Dressel, R.D., Weight Management Services
It’s that time of year again when people make their New Year’s resolutions, many of which are health-related. Losing weight, eating healthier, exercising, and quitting smoking are popular New Year’s resolutions, with losing weight often leading the pack. But that particular resolution is also the most difficult to accomplish, says Diane Dressel, a registered dietitian and program coordinator for Mayo Clinic Health System’s Weight Management Services in Eau Claire.
“By the time the new year rolls around, many people are well-versed with the classic promise: ‘I will start my diet on Monday,’” she says. “In fact, at this time of the year, many people have made that promise to themselves 52 times since January 2010.”
It can be a recipe for weight loss disaster, she says.
“If people think they are going to start their diet on Monday,” she says, “they’ll have their ‘last suppers’ and ‘hurrahs’ on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
This often results in weight gain because when Monday comes, people often go back to, ‘I’ll start my diet next Monday.’”
To turn your New Year’s resolution into an actual New Year’s solution, you have to go beyond just the classic promise: “I’ll lose weight in the new year.” Instead, you need to spend time preparing and planning, advises Dressel, who has specialized in weight management since 1985.
“It is important to get ready to start, to make yourself a priority and get the commitment in place,” she says.
When researching weight loss programs, Dressel recommends people look for the following elements to better their chances of obtaining their weight loss goals:
What are the participants’ average weight loss? Most advertisements only show their “shining stars” which leads you to believe everyone has these results.
Does it provide rapid and effective weight loss? To get ahead of the weight problem, you need to get the weight off quickly.
Does it provide support and accountability?
Does it provide structure to get momentum of the scale going down?
Does it offer simple or limited choices to minimize opportunities to deviate from the program?
Are its meals filling and satisfying so you don’t constantly feel hungry?
Are the foods convenient and easy to prepare?
Do the foods provide good nutrition?
Does it include physical activity while still acknowledging that 75 to 80 percent of managing weight is on the food side?
Does it go beyond calorie counting to acknowledge behavioral changes for a healthy lifestyle?
Does it offer motivation for weight loss?
Does it provide a strong maintenance program for keeping the weight off?
Does it offer medical supervision for people who need it?
Does it have data on program results and dropout rates? Many programs are as high as 33 percent within a month and 50percent within three months.
Does it have staff who specialize in weight and health management?
People can have a different story this year with their weight management if they do it right, Dressel says.
“Eighty percent of people who start a diet are doomed to fail because they haven’t done their homework,” she says.
Diane Dressel is a registered dietitian and program coordinator of Weight Management Services at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire. To learn more about Weight Management Services or inquire about a free orientation session, call 715-838-6731.