Losing weight has many advantages from improving overall health and reducing blood pressure to better self-esteem and satisfaction with body image. However, losing and maintaining weight requires a great deal of motivation and determination. Part of this motivation comes from realizing these advantages and how important they are to the person’s life. But it can be challenging to stay on track, so it is important to keep internal motivation strong in face of all the inconveniences and changes in life style that come with the process. Overcoming obesity requires people to take personal responsibility to make lasting life changes by leading more active lives. Personal responsibility is the process by which one goes from knowing what needs to be done to actually doing it and applying it in their lives (Primack, C., Ziltzer, R., 2013). Taking responsibility for one’s own health is an important step towards reaching one’s goals and achieving success. Blaming others for one’s own problems is detrimental to his/her own efforts and can be distracting from doing what is necessary. People should focus on what they are in control of which is their own behaviors and actions. A person has no control over external circumstances or other people. Waiting for others to change will lead to nothing but frustration. It is important in order to affect real change that everyone learns their priorities. For example being perfect should not be a first priority. Making progress even in small incremental steps is a better priority. The first step in making lasting life changes is to set boundaries for one’s behaviors. Not being able to differentiate between old harmful habits and new habits that need to be acquired means that progress cannot be made. However stopping old habits abruptly can be difficult. It is important to be prepared and have a plan for how changes will be implemented. For example if part of the change is having new food choices or an exercise regimen, it is necessary to have a clear idea of what these choices will be before going forward with the plan. Once boundaries are understood and a change plan is ready, it is time to pull the trigger and choose to start the change process (Rollnick, S., Miller, W.R., Butler, C.C., 2007) Part of the quest for better health and healthy weight is a choice to become more active. Physical activity has both biological and psychological benefits (Wilfley, D., & Kunce, J. T., 1986). Active people have stronger hearts, stronger bodies, normal blood pressure, and enhanced metabolism. On the psychological side, active people are more motivated to keep their weight off and keep the gains in stamina and strength that they have already achieved and are afraid to lose (Baker, C. W., & Brownell, K. D., 2000). Aerobic activities help burn calories and strengthen muscles. Weight-bearing aerobic activities such as jogging and stair climbing may not be appropriate for people with bone or joint problems. Non-weight-bearing activities such as swimming, cycling, and rowing may require approval of a physician before starting for people who have musculo-skeletal problems (Primack, C., Ziltzer, R., 2013). Going from lazy to active is a considerable lifestyle change. Time has to be allocated, equipment or gym membership has to be bought, motivation to get off the couch and determination to stay active has to be acquired. It is important to plan ahead and set goals. Going for perfection is counterproductive. However, seeing the effects that exercise can have on body image helps maintain motivation (Pearson, E. S., & Hall, C. R., 2013). Losing weight and keeping it off is not just about good looks but more importantly it is about having good health and maintaining and active and functional life. To start the process of losing weight especially for obese people, major lifestyle changes that require strong motivation and personal responsibility are paramount. Along with that, getting and staying active is a strong factor in the overall results.
Wilfley, D., & Kunce, J. T. (1986). Differential physical and psychological effects of exercise. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 33(3), 337-342. doi:10.1037/0022-0126.96.36.1997 Baker, C. W., & Brownell, K. D. (2000). Physical activity and maintenance of weight loss: Physiological and psychological mechanisms. In B. Christopher (Ed.), Physical Activity and Obesity (pp. 311– 328). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics. Primack, C., Ziltzer, R., (2013). Keep It Off U. Scottsdale, AZ: Scottsdale Weight Loss Center. Pearson, E. S., & Hall, C. R. (2013). Examining body image and its relationship to exercise motivation: An 18-week cardiovascular program for female initiates with overweight and obesity. Baltic Journal of Health & Physical Activity, 5(2), 121-131. Rollnick, S., Miller, W.R., & Butler, C.C. (2007). Motivational Interviewing in Healthcare: Helping Patients Change Behavior. NY: The Guilford Press.