The Mayo Clinic Diet blog

Don't give up on weight-loss resolutions

By Donald Hensrud, M.D. January 13, 2011

Now is the time of year when you might (or not) be in the middle of carrying out your New Year's resolutions. It's not uncommon to approach resolutions with lots of enthusiasm. After a couple weeks, your enthusiasm often lessens and it's back to those same old habits.

These habits seem comfortable and are easy to fall back into, but they don't help you lose weight or improve your health long-term. Before you give up on this year's resolutions, try to take the following things into consideration.

  • Are you ready? Changing lifestyle habits in diet and physical activity takes a commitment of time and energy. Is this a good time in your life? Can you devote some time to planning and implementing the recommended changes?
  • Do you have a good plan? Much of this is in the planning. Don't focus too much on the long-term goal of losing 40 pounds — it won't happen without a good plan. Trying to lose 40 pounds without a good weight loss plan is like trying to make a million dollars without a good financial plan.
  • Can you enjoy the process? What? Enjoy weight loss? Yes, that's correct. Many people find that when they lose weight and are more active, they feel better. Try to keep that in mind. Also, there's a lot of great food out there.  Explore new recipes and types of foods. For example, many different ethnic foods taste great, are healthy, and low in calories.
  • Focus on short-term goals while keeping long term goals in mind. Losing 40 pounds is done one pound at a time. And the way to lose one pound at a time is to have a good plan in place, as above, and also keep in mind short term process goals. An example of a process goal is committing to eat one more serving of fruit and vegetables every day. Or walking 30 minutes per day in 3 10-minute blocks. By emphasizing these short-term process goals, you should eventually reach your long-term outcome goal of losing the weight you want.

There are many other strategies to set yourself up to succeed with your resolutions on weight loss this year — see The Mayo Clinic Diet for more ideas.

Don't give up! If you have some strategies that are helping you, please share them with others on this blog.

Jan. 13, 2011