BALTIMORE - Less than eight percent of people are successful at keeping their New Year's Resolutions. And it's no surprise that the top resolution from 2012 was to lose weight, according to a study from the University of Scranton .
Is losing weight impossible, or are we just going about it the wrong way?
People are very motivated when starting their resolutions, and try to go from 0 to 60 very fast said Rachel Zavala, a Registered Dietician at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center.
"For example, they have not worked out in months, and then set the goal of going to the gym 5 days a week. This all or nothing behavior is typically unsustainable, and when we falter we initiate a cycle of negative self-talk that prevents us from attempting the behavior change again," said Zavala.
It is better to focus our physical and mental energy on one or two changes, like packing a lunch two days a week, or including a vegetable at dinner three times a week, she said.
Be specific in when you are going to work on the goals. Then write them down and place them on your phone or fridge as a reminder, she said.
Identify potential barriers
Even the most disciplined people will encounter roadblocks and setbacks. Zavala says it is important to identify potential barriers and make a plan to overcome them before starting.
"A vast majority of my patients cite lack of planning as a reason for their weight gain- when we lack a plan of how to handle obstacles to adopting our new behavior, we usually revert back to our old ways," she said.
Motivation and readiness for change are a large part of the weight-loss battle. If you don't think you can lower your blood pressure with diet/exercise or lose 20 lbs, for example, this mindset will impact your actions said Zavala.
"Confidence is essential in tackling any weight loss endeavor, and that comes through planning and doing a "mental rehearsal" of how you realistically envision yourself losing the weight," said Zavala.
When to get help
A dietician can help plan meals, discuss food struggles, and help you think of creative ways to add more healthy foods to your diet, and is a worthwhile investment said Zavala.
Being accountable to someone who has your best health interests in mind is very effective in helping you reach your weight loss goals, she said.