Preventive care Your Health & Wellness

One tip for losing weight: Don’t focus on weight loss

Written by Diane Archer

An older adult’s weight, as much as his or her blood pressure and cholesterol level, is important to health. Being overweight puts older adults at higher risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease, among other chronic conditions, and reduces their ability to function. The National Institutes of Health has one tip for losing weight: Don’t focus on weight loss. Instead, set the right goals. Here’s how to do it:

  • Focus on a health diet and exercise. Don’t focus on weight loss.
  • Be specific about the behavior change you want to accomplish.  “Walk more” is not concrete.  “Walk a mile three times a day” is concrete, but can you really do it?
  • Set realistic goals. Don’t be overly ambitious.
  • Change your goals over time, depending upon how you’re doing.
  • Reward yourself as you make progress. Even small progress should be rewarded.
  • Track your behavior. Consider keeping a log of either what you are doing every day, such as food you’re eating, or distance you’re walking, or outcomes, such as how much weight you’ve lost.
  • Make it easier to eat less. You are not likely to feel full until 15 minutes after you’ve eaten. But, eating slowly helps you feel fuller faster, as does eating a lot of fruits and vegetables

No matter what your weight, a loss of just five percent of your starting weight can have significant health benefits. If you have Medicare, keep in mind that Medicare covers weight-loss counseling. And, if you are trying to help someone you love lose weight, here’s a tip. Putting aside weight losshere are five ways to feel at your best.

There is no evidence in the literature that dietary supplements or medications for weight loss work. 


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