The Party's Over... Or, Is It?

Originally published: 01-11-14

The holiday parties are now a recent memory.  Did you enjoy them all?  Of course you did; that’s one of the aspects of the holidays we enjoy the most.  But, what effect did your indulgences have on your weight?  Are you up a few pounds from a month ago, or are you lucky enough to have stayed put?  Either way, if you are like most Americans, you are not happy with your weight right now.

So, what are you going to do?  Go on a diet, as you may have promised yourself you would for the new year?  How many times have you done that before, and what was the end result each time?  Do you really think the next diet you go on is going to provide you the only result that really matters, i.e. permanent weight loss?  Of course not.  Every diet is temporary and so is the weight loss each may produce.

How about, for 2014, you do something different, something unusual:  transform yourself to the thinner, healthier, happier you, for good.  I know, this sounds like a tremendous undertaking, and your life just doesn’t seem to afford you the opportunity to “fit” something of this magnitude in.  But, maybe it does, considering that this transformation is not terribly difficult or time-consuming, and that it will literally save your life.

Excess body weight and the typical lifestyle that produces it are the most significant contributors to chronic and debilitating disease in this country.  The nationwide impact of all this disease, considering the totality of human suffering and economic cost, is staggering.

Think about your own situation.  Do you suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, gastric reflux (GERD), sleep apnea, low back pain, arthritic knees, heart disease, cancer or depression?  Excess weight contributes to the development or worsening of all these diseases.  Are you chronically unhappy with your appearance in and out of clothes, with the way you feel physically, and with your ability to perform the activities of daily living?  Wouldn’t it be worthwhile to do something about these issues that would permanently improve or eliminate them?  The good news is you can.

First, decide what issues you want to improve / eliminate.  These are your goals.  Visualize yourself having achieved your goals, and get excited about this image.  Now you have all the motivation you need.  Convince yourself that you will become the person you see in your mind’s eye.  Build a burning desire, a true passion, for this destiny, to the point that you want it more than anything in your life that could interfere with its realization.

Second, establish a plan, a course of action, to take you to the achievement of your goals. You’ll need professional help with this, ideally from a healthcare professional who specializes in weight management.  Together, the two of you will develop a food and activity plan that fits your life, taking into consideration your personal preferences, medical conditions, daily schedules, psycho-social circumstances and other important factors.

Finally, think of your goals and your plan to achieve them as an integral part of your identity, just like a religion.  If you are a member of a specific religion, you generally do not observe the customs of other religions that conflict with those of your religion. Likewise, if you subscribe to the “religion” of thinness and health, you would regard the habits of overweight people as “against your religion” or, simply put, just “not you.”

The holiday parties are over.  But, right now you could be enjoying a very different kind of party:  the celebration of losing weight and keeping it off.  You are invited.  Trust me, this is one party you don’t want to miss!

Dean Sloan, MD

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