Weight loss: A personal journey – Part 3: Getting a good start

Having a good plan is a good start to any weight loss journey.

As with any journey you take, before you start it helps to have a good plan. You need to know where you are going to end up, how you are going to get there, what obstacles you might come across, interesting stops along the way, and of course, places to stop for necessities like fuel, food and lodging. It’s the same with a weight loss journey. You have to start with where you want to end up, not just a number on the scale, but other health goals and life style changes. Here are some of my suggestions to getting off to a good start.

See your health care provider. Anyone who is embarking on a weight loss plan should make an appointment to see their regular medical health care provider. A thorough physical can give you important information not just about your current weight, but your current overall health status. They should be your best ally in making sure you not only stay healthy while losing weight, but can help you track improvements in your medical status.

Know your numbers. Your doctor can help you learn what your current numbers are on critical health indicators. Have your doctor help you compare your numbers to what their healthier recommendations are. This way, you can track your progress along the way. Sometimes even a small difference on the scale can make a huge difference in your health status. Some numbers you should know: Blood pressure, cholesterol and BMI.

Be accountable. Keep track of everything you eat, and write it down in a journal – in ink! Weigh, measure and be aware of amounts of what you eat, and what you are actually getting from the food you eat. You are the only one responsible for the nutritional content of what you decide to eat. Knowledge really is power. Deciding to eat something healthy is a good first step, however you also need to know how much is a reasonable amount or a serving size. A salad may be a potentially healthy choice, however eating a primeval forest – not so healthy. Beware of that salad dressing, which quickly can add up to 150 calories.

In addition, keep track of how much physical activity you actually, intentionally do. Ask your doctor if you are healthy enough before you start any new physical routines. Find something you like to do, then keep doing it. You don’t have to join a gym or buy expensive equipment or videos. A good pair of shoes and a good attitude go a long way to walking your way to health.

There are many free resources and tools for tracking your food and physical activity. The United States Department of Agriculture My Plate is a website that can help you figure this out. You can also find many articles and resources on health, nutrition and physical activity by visiting the Michigan State University Extension website.

Check back in a couple of weeks for Weight loss: A personal journey – Part 3. To read more about my experience, start at part one of my weight loss journey.

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