Defining Weight Loss Success

Diabetes Awareness Week commences 7 November with World Diabetes Day celebrated on the 14th (the birthday of Fred Banting - one of the discoverers of insulin).

What’s your definition of weight loss?

If you don’t know what your definition is, you’re not alone. Many people try to lose weight yet start with no other goal than to “weigh less” or “be thin”. If you haven’t defined success, you won’t know when you’ve achieved it.

 Set Goals 

The first step to success is to think about why you want to lose weight and then set goals. If you choose realistic goals, you are much more likely to meet them. Many experts suggest that a good goal is to lose ten percent of your current weight.This seemingly small loss can be enough to improve your glucose control and lower your blood pressure and cholesterol level – even if you are still well overweight. A ten percent drop in weight can also reduce your risk of getting diseases linked to being overweight including heart disease, stroke, cancer, sleep apnea, gout and gallstones. Usually one should aim to lose no more than one to two kilograms a week through a combination of eating fewer kilojoules and exercising more. 

Set a realistic goal and, if you find it difficult to accept more realistic goals, or to take pride in modest weight loss, ask your doctor to review with you how much the loss of those few extra kilos have already improved your health. 

Also, remind yourself that you are so much more than a number on a scale. Don’t tie all of your happiness to weight loss. Seek fulfillment in all areas of your life, through your family and friendships, work, hobbies and even community involvement. 

Make a plan 

A definition of success is useless unless you also have a plan for achieving it. Once you’ve chosen a goal, talk to your doctor, diabetes educator, and dietician to make sure that you are on the right track. In order to keep your weight stable after you have lost the weight you must be able to continue to include healthy meals and exercise into your lifestyle.It is pointless going on a fad diet or six-week fitness course after which you continue with old habits and pile the weight back on again.

(This article is reproduced courtesy of Diabetes Focus - an official publication of the South African Diabetes Association)

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