How do you lose a size?

Janelle Baldwin
dumbbell and weights

I get questions every day about what exercise individuals can do to shrink their waistline. They tell me they want to take off a few pounds…and then there’s the rest that feel too overwhelmed by the 80 to 100 pounds they need to lose to even ask.

We all know the stats; Agnesian HealthCare is just a cross section of what’s rampant in the United States today. We all know the facts. You’ve been told your BMI is out of the normal range. You feel frustrated, embarrassed and don’t even know where to start. The battle you have to fight is too big, so why bother, or perhaps you’ve tried in the past only to fail.

I want to offer you hope and a few things that you can do to lose a size.

First, see your doctor. I know…you don’t want to hear this. You know you have to lose weight; you know you have a high BMI; you know you have high blood glucose…you know. If you know, the next step is seeing your doctor. If you’re unable to make that appointment on your own, ask someone to help you make that call. The first step in losing that size is getting your blood pressure under control, and medication can help. They can also address other concerns that need medical attention to help you move forward.

Second, get a dietary consultation. Did you know that with a doctor’s referral and most insurance, you get one dietary consult each year to help you get a food plan that is realistic for life, not a diet? They are licensed professionals and they can help you, knowing your health conditions and the medications you are on. Getting a food plan is a great place to start that is personalized for you. They can help you with label reading, healthy recipes and setting a calorie guide for your day so that you can a framework for food journaling.

Third, are you an emotional eater? Eat when you’re bored, tired, stressed? Addressing the why you binge, overeat, snack or use food to cope needs to be addressed to lose that size. The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available free to all associates, and can help you with a plan for poor decision making, breaking bad habits and erasing those clean your plate messages you got as a child. Many people don’t recognize that they stuff their emotions with food. In our disconnected society of social media, people use food to satisfy those longings to be in real relationships. They don’t have to hear the ice cream talk back, it just listens. The chips crunch and satiate the hypothalamus – ahhh; but did you know a carrot will do the same thing without the regret of just eating 1,000 calories of chips? Emotional eating needs the help of counseling and EAP.

Fourth, find a group to help - Overeaters Anonymous, Weight Watchers or a group of friends with the same interest to reduce. Create a support group that is positive for your success! You need to surround yourself with a culture and group that engages in the healthy behaviors you do. Temptation is everywhere and we all need support. Find and create that support. Ask someone who has succeeded, how did you do that? Learn from them, get mentored. There are tons of support groups around, or create your own network of people who want to lose!

Fifth, and maybe this should be first…finding a reason inside you to get healthy and fit, the size will drop as a result of that. You cannot lose a size if you don’t want to. It is work. It will not be magic; there is no silver bullet. If you don’t want to see the doctor, see a dietitian, visit EAP or change, you will not lose a size. You need to find within yourself to lose a size. I am sick of buying bigger elastic waist pants? I hate how my knees feel on the stairs? I want to be able to bend over and tie my shoes. I want to be able to play with my children or grandchildren, and be a good example/role model. I want to have more energy! I want to feel confident! I don’t want food to rule my life! You need to find that thing that can serve as your motivator is, your internal push, your intrinsic need. There’s no stick big enough to get you to do it, and there’s not enough carrots in the world to lure you in to lose that size. You need to do it; nobody can make you or be there to motivate you or help you 24/7.

My sixth and final. Realize change is cyclical. You can start out motivated and on fire. Then you work on those changes, you see your doctor and get the meds, you start going to EAP. Then something happens, and you eat that bag of chips or forget the meds. Remember that the only constant in life other than God is change. You will need to learn resiliency to keep rolling with the changes. Restart that cycle and seek support.

It’s not easy to lose a size. You need to be focused and address what really keeps your BMI high, your waistline large and blocks your change. There is no exercise that can reduce a belly that is overfed daily. There is no abdominal exercise or waist trainer from the Kardashians that will reduce a middle that is bathed in beer every weekend followed by pizza and chips. There is no exercise that will fix your internal messages so that you start making wise choices.

Exercise will make you feel better; exercise will reduce your stress and exercise will improve your blood pressure and your blood glucose. But, first you need to address the bigger issues of your health, the overabundance of calories in your day and why you overeat. Without that, your exercise attempts will fail and discourage you! Fitness professionals are here to help you, but when need you to want to do it…we cannot force you to do it. So, if you are truly wanting to lose a size…follow the steps above…see your doctor, get a dietary consult, visit EAP, make a list of why you want to lose a size, and lastly, realize change happens over and over again. It isn’t a one and done event. It takes 21 days to create a new habit and 90 days to make it a lifestyle. Make today the day you take one of the six steps to lose a size! Make today the day you start making the rest of your life the best of your life!

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