New Year, New You: Tips for Weight Loss Success

January 1, 2015 Updated: January 1, 2015

Weight loss is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions. But how many of us resolve to lose weight and then give up midway? If this sounds familiar, creating a new strategy may help.

Here are some easy tips to help you achieve your weight loss goals this year:

1. Make Your Goal Realistic and Specific. Don’t just resolve to lose weight. Be specific and say to yourself, “I will lose 20 pounds,” or however much you need to lose. This makes it more real, and as long as you keep it realistic, it also makes it more achievable.

2. Have an Action Plan. Once you have a goal, such as a 20-pound weight loss, then outline your strategies. How will you lose the weight? Will you go on a diet? If yes, which one? Will you take on a new exercise regime? Or, will you simply replace your bad eating habits (junk food, sweets, and so on) with healthy ones?

Start with a complete health checkup to find out if there are any underlying reasons for your extra pounds and make sure you know what you want to do.

3. Break It Down. You won’t lose 20 pounds just by saying so. You have to create targets for yourself. Set weekly and monthly targets. Don’t weigh yourself every day. Realistically speaking, you will not lose a pound each day. That just does not happen unless you starve.

Weigh yourself once a week and monitor your progress. Don’t panic if a certain week’s weight loss is less than what’s achieved in other weeks. As long as you are losing weight, you are on the right track.

4. Partner Up With a Friend. This might not be possible for all of us, but if you have a friend who has the same resolution, or a friend who exercises regularly or is more on the path of eating healthy, partner up with him or her. Having a buddy makes things easier, and the extra support will encourage you to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

5. Be Prepared for Obstacles. You will inevitably have “cheat” days. Live with it. As long as you’re not eating pizzas every day, one night of pizza is not a disaster.

Just be sure you are able to control your cravings. If it’s chips and soda you crave, ensure that there is no supply in your house. If it’s chocolate that breaks your willpower, treat yourself once in a while—opting for a low-calorie bar, if possible—and make sure there are no more of them around to tempt you.

6. Don’t Adopt an All-Or-Nothing Attitude. This is because it simply won’t work. If you think you will achieve 100 percent of your goal, think again. It does not happen for most people. If you are on track 80 percent of the time, give yourself a pat on the back and carry on. Nobody is perfect—not even you.

7. Make Healthier Choices. Incorporate minor changes in your lifestyle to obtain major results. Don’t skip breakfast—because if you do, you will likely overeat later in the day. Skip driving wherever you can walk. Take the stairs whenever you can.

Replace your usual dessert with fruit to get the health benefits they offer and save calories as well. Don’t eat out too frequently; a home-cooked meal is healthier and better for you.

Increase the amount of greens in your diet. If you have a tendency to snack, cut off your supply of high-calorie options and replace them with healthy snacks such as almonds, nutrition bars, individual-portion cheeses, and so on.

Follow these easy weight loss tips to help make your resolution a reality this year. Remember, each healthful step you take will bring you closer to the new, more radiant you.

Dr. Marina Gafanovich is a New York City physician specializing in internal medicine. For more information, visit: www.PhysicalExamNYC.com