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Theresa Albert Headshot

Do NOT Make a Resolution!

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For the love of life, drop that New Year's resolution to lose weight. Come on, you made the same commitment last year and look where it got you. By all means, clean it up a bit and shave off those holiday pounds right away. The sooner you do, the easier it will be. My phone rings off the wall (if phones had walls anymore) each January. No one wants to even talk to a nutritionist at a party in December and suddenly, come January, we are all the rage. But I am telling you, don't do it.

Here is why: Losing weight takes a herculean, single-minded commitment to everything you put in your mouth and every movement you make. And not just this month; until you lose those 10 or 100 pounds, you will need to focus on it for the rest of your life. Every nibble of cheese, every sip of wine, each brownie or sizzle of steak will make your mouth water and you will have to resist.

If you have 100 pounds to lose, you need to know what is involved in not only to taking that weight off, but keeping it off. For you, the benefits will be huge, but you really want your resolution to be to "seek help to lose weight." You need more than new recipes. You need new tools, new thoughts, a plan of action, greater support and some insight into why this happened. Your key to success will be realizing that your body wants to stay fat but your mind, your life and your loved ones don't want to see you suffer anymore. Any or all of these reasons will need to be strong enough to pull you through. You need to know what you are getting into and that you may need superhuman powers to keep weight off. Mobility and quality of life will improve when you do.

If you have five or 10 pounds to lose (and they are the same pounds that you wanted to lose last year, or maybe you did lose them and found again), you may be better off committing to never gaining another ounce. Shedding the 10 pounds may make you feel better, but every time you do so your body adjusts accordingly. This makes it harder each passing year. Tighten the ship and learn to love what you have got (those in the other categories think your problem is vanity anyway).

If you are like most of the overweight population who thinks they have a significant amount of weight to lose, substitute your vague "lose weight" resolution for this much clearer, sounder approach: Lose 10 per cent of your total body weight. I think there is good evidence that this will give you the most health benefits and be the easiest lose to retain.

There are ways to keep calories low and help manage your body's expectations of fuel. After all, you gave your body and brain more and now they are getting less.

You, your habits, your environment and your attitudes will all have to change.

Make this year the year that you change THAT and you will be getting somewhere.