It is OK everyone, breathe – it is here again; the beginning of a New Year and countless resolutions to lose weight.
Remember that weight loss journeys are noble pursuits and a tremendous way to care for our health and ourselves.
How much do I need to lose?
We know that even as little as 5% of body weight loss is shown to reduce risks of chronic diseases like type II diabetes and heart disease. For someone that is 200 pounds, that’s 10 pounds of weight loss. That amount is realistic, it is attainable, and very likely to improve your health. More importantly, you show yourself that you are capable of weight loss, that those changes you made to your lifestyle, like avoiding high-calorie beverages and upping your fruits and veggies, can make a difference.
Resolve to be specific
Everyone is different, but we know that extra calories will cause anyone to gain weight. Therefore, finding a way to reduce your calorie intake should be specific to your habits and taste preferences. Replacing high-calorie drinks with water, cutting restaurant portions in half, and avoiding sides like fries or chips are specific and can help if these are part of your everyday routine. They apply to everyone. In that case, take a good and honest look at your food habits and make some substitutions or reductions. If skipping fries is a non-starter then you can reduce the portion size or plan to balance them out throughout the day.
Half a pound of weight loss a week is fantastic progress, but especially appropriate for those that are small in stature or older. Half a pound a week might not seem like a lot, but that amounts to two pounds of weight loss each month. In five months, that will turn into 10 pounds of body weight loss. Think about that. If someone had told you at the beginning of August that you could lose 10 pounds by the beginning of the year, you would have been thrilled.
Step Up Scale Down
That slow, realistic, and consistent change is the reason that “Step Up Scale Down” lasts 12 weeks. “Step Up Scale Down” is a New Year weight loss program provided by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. It covers the basics of a balanced and portioned plan of eating that encourages fruits and vegetables and personal physical activity goals. The program also provides encouragement and accountability in a group setting for the community or worksites.
Also available is an on-line version starting at the beginning of the year to use at your own pace; visit https://stepupscaledown.org/ for more information.
For more information on a Step Up Scale Down starting near you, contact the Austin County Extension Office at 979-865-2072.