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Dear Christine, Fat & Frustrated in Farmington

| January 30, 2017

Dear Christine,

It’s a new year and each year I make the same resolution to lose weight. I am probably more than 75 pounds overweight and each year it goes up a couple pounds. My partner who is also overweight goes along with the plan for about a month and then gives in and gives up and starts bringing all the bad foods into the house again. It’s really hard for me when cookies and candy are in the house. I’ve given up trying to get her on board but do you have any suggestions for me that could motivate me to stay on track and stay motivated? Thanks I’ll call myself  – Fat and Frustrated in Farmington!

Dear F&F,

Motivation is tough! You need to know you and what makes you tick to understand how to stay on track. I had a boss years ago who knew diabetes ran in his family, so every time there were donuts at our staff meeting, he would say aloud: “do I want to eat that donut now, or do I want to see it in 20 years?” That was enough to keep him from eating one.

Clearly, it is easier to avoid temptations that aren’t in your house. Is your partner supportive of you enough to keep those cookies and candies in a hiding place you don’t know about? Would she eat them in a different room from you? How about joining a group like Weight Watchers? They have the best record of scientific weight loss, both losing the weight in a healthy, slower manner, and keeping it off for years to come. You can join on line or go to a meeting where you will get tips, advice and support from others who are committed to improving their health. How about joining a gym or the Y, where you could participate in exercise classes, spin classes and maybe even yoga, helping you reduce stress and develop healthy habits. Maybe you could find a friend or neighbor who would be a workout buddy. On the Nextdoor app, I’ve seen neighbors ask for other neighbors to take daily walks together, to encourage you both to get some steps in every day. There’s a couple who walk every morning by my house, almost every single day! Do you have a dog? Dogs love walks and overweight owners who had dogs (also overweight) were found in a study to lose more weight than those without dogs. Your dog will remind you to take that walk, helping both of you lose weight. And your dog will love you!

Some people like using pedometers or fitness apps on their phones, to count steps or get more detail about how much you move every day. Fitbit is very popular and an easy way to keep track of exercise. It’s not always accurate, as my sister learned when she went on a cruise to Alaska. The fitbit though she had climbed many stairs, which were the swells of the ocean! You can track your progress and win awards as you reach your goals, and you can compare with or even compete with friends and families that you share Fitbit data with.

It’s important to be healthy rather than just lose weight. The most health benefits come from losing just 10% of your weight. You might prefer to lose all 75 pounds, and you might get there, but to be healthy, just work on the first 5 or 10 pounds. If your partner can’t support you, make sure to surround yourself with friends who do.

Good luck to you. Keep me posted about how you are doing! Accountability can really improve motivation and follow through.

Christine Cantrell, PhD.

Psychologist

Christine C. Cantrell, PhD
1026 W. 11 Mile Rd,
Suite C
Royal Oak, MI 48067
248-591-2888

Click here to email Christine.

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