Dr. Tim Says...

Chicken skin: to eat, or not to eat 06/19/17
Change is here 06/12/17
Medical technology 03/27/17
The science behind the DASH diet, an overview: Part Two 08/01/16
The science behind the DASH diet, an overview: Part One 07/25/16
How the Standard American Diet (SAD) affects the brain (Part Two) 05/26/16
How the Standard American Diet (SAD) affects the brain 05/23/16
All "Dr. Tim Says..." Columns

Chef Tim Says...

Deviled Eggs 04/24/17
Roasting Fruit 04/03/17
Papadum 03/20/17
Capers make it better 02/06/17
Mustards: The Christmas Basket Challenge, Part 5 01/26/17
Canned Tuna from Spain: The Christmas Basket Challenge, Part 4 01/16/17
Ginger and Rice Noodles: The Christmas Basket Challenge, Part 3 01/12/17
All "Chef Tim Says..." Columns


 

Dr. Tim Says....



Realistic Goals

Almost every day I have patients ask me what they should weigh and how much they need to lose. I will admit that sometimes I am a bit evasive, saying such things as “Start working on your weight and I’ll tell you when to stop.”

Why am I not always more direct? Because folks can often be pretty unrealistic about their health and their weight. Usually people are shocked when I tell them what an ideal weight would be for them. While shock is their first reaction, folks usually say something like “Oh, I’ll do that, it’s easy for me to lose 50 pounds and you’ll see when I come back in three months.”

Man oh man, do I wish I had a dollar for every time someone said that (and another dollar for those who return in three months and have not lost any weight at all). I have no doubt that this mentality comes from fad diet books and pills that repeatedly advertise about how people can easily lose that much weight in such a short period.

It’s not true. (Look, if it were true there wouldn’t be such an obesity problem — people would lose weight and keep it off.)

It is true that you can lose weight, keep it off, and be healthier, but it takes time and it takes a little bit of effort. It also takes you having realistic goals. What sort of targets? Generally speaking, no more than a pound a week.

Now I understand that “12 pounds in 3 months” is not a very good sales pitch but I believe that “52 pounds in a year” is. Why? Because there’s great research to show that rapid weight loss (like 50 lbs. in 12 weeks) results in rapid weight gain — the so-called “yo-yo” diet.

The good news is that the research also supports your working at steady, careful, successful change, whether it’s for weight loss or just being healthier. (50 pounds in 50 weeks works.)

So, time to set your goals. If it’s eating healthier, take out your calendar and mark off the changes by week. Week one, change your snacks, week two, eat a healthy breakfast every day, and so on. If weight loss is your goal, write your target weights down for each Monday on the calendar. The key is to be realistic while being ambitious — balance what you want to achieve with what you can really accomplish.

Lastly, keep in mind that eating better and being healthier is not about 3 weeks from now or even 3 months or 3 years. This is about making significant lifelong change. Plan for that and you’ll be successful for sure.

August 25, 2008

Last updated: 08/25/08