New Year resolutions: Save money, lose weight

Washington: The New Year is close and it’s that time of the year to make new resolutions – the top resolutions of 2011 are learning to ride a bike and losing those extra pounds – say experts.

“Maybe it was the shock of seeing oneself in recent holiday photos, or not being able to fit into desired party attire that causes a vow to lose weight, and for many more it is a medical event such as a heart attack, the threat of diabetes or high blood pressure,” said Dr. Jessica Bartfield at the Loyola University Health System.

“Behaviour change is the cornerstone of healthy, successful weight loss and it takes about three months to establish a new behaviour. At Gottlieb, a team of tried-and-true medical experts can teach you the skills you need to achieve and maintain behaviour change,” she added.

Top weight-loss behaviours from Bartfield and the NWCR:

• Eat breakfast – “Eating within one hour of awakening can boost your metabolism up to 20 percent for the rest of the day,” Bartfield said.

• Weigh yourself once per week - “Monitoring your weight on a weekly basis provides a fairly accurate weight trend and, more importantly, an early detection of any weight regain, which allows you to adjust behaviors accordingly,” Bartfield said.

• Get in one hour of moderate physical activity each day - “Snow shoveling, vacuuming, taking the stairs – you don’t have to run like a hamster on a wheel for 60 minutes. Take three, 20-minute brisk walks, or compile the one hour based on a series of activities,” Bartfield said.

• Watch less than 10 hours of TV per week - “Many argue they don’t have time to exercise, but when I ask them to count the hours they spend watching TV or surfing the Net, they are able to find the time for activities where they are moving instead of sitting,” Bartfield said.

What not to do - Barriers that prevent people from losing weight

• Overestimate amount of physical activity -“Park your car farther away, take the stairs, manually change TV channels – these are all simple ways to get more physical activity and you need to write them down as they are performed to keep yourself honest,” Bartfield said.

• Underestimate caloric intake – Keeping a food journal helps you document the calories you take in.

• Set unrealistic goals - “Patients often set vague and outcome-related goals such as “weigh 150 pounds by summer” or “exercise more.”

Set specific and attainable goals. Instead of trying to get to a certain weight, start by trying to lose 10 percent of your weight – that amount has been shown to have a statistically significant improvement in health and reduction in risk of obesity-related disease.

• Lack of consistency - “Eat at regular intervals seven days per week,” she said.

• Failure to plan for setbacks – “Enlist a trusted friend, or enroll in a program to learn and master the rules of weight loss,” Bartfield said.