Avoiding These Five Mistakes Will Take Your 'Breadth' Away

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By Carole Carson
Special  to NurseZone

August 2, 2011 - If you’ve tried and failed to lose weight, you may be imprisoned by outdated ideas. Are you willing to change your beliefs about weight loss and fitness to achieve your goals? Look at these five mistaken viewpoints to see if they are sabotaging your efforts:

1. The function of food is to provide pleasure. 
If your diet consists of densely caloric food that tastes good but lacks nutrition (e.g., burgers, fries, chips, pizza, ice cream, soda), you will have difficulty losing weight. An occasional treat is okay but, on a daily basis, you’ll need to focus on fruit, vegetables, lean sources of protein (such as chicken and fish) and low-fat dairy items (such as yogurt and cottage cheese). To succeed, you will need to eat for health and pleasure.

2.  Food is an effective medication for soothing emotional distress.
Reassuring ourselves with food during uncomfortable moments in life is a common practice. Comfort eating when we are sad or mad does provide relief, but the relief is only temporary. For instance, researchers found that eating chocolate improves a person’s mood for only three minutes. The difficult emotions remain and are compounded by feelings of guilt for the indulgence. Instead of turning to food for comfort, start building an inventory of coping mechanisms that includes exercise.

3. A quick-fix weight-loss plan is just what you need.
Are you a sucker for the latest fad diet? Do you purchase overpriced berry drinks to melt away pounds? No quick-fix solution for losing weight exists, yet that fact doesn’t stop advertisers from promoting useless products. At best, the products are a waste of money. At worst, they can damage the consumer’s health. Surplus pounds are typically acquired over many years, so gradual loss is more attainable and sustainable than rapid weight loss is. Persistence, rather than speed, will help you realize your goals.

4. Others can solve your weight-loss problem.
Are you hoping someone (e.g., a doctor, your spouse, your best friend, a family member) will enter your life and provide you with an effortless solution to your weight-loss problem? Are you hoping that a miracle drug will be invented that will dissolve the fat on your body and allow you to eat whatever you want? Eating consciously and exercising regularly are the only known ways to lose weight. Decisions about what to eat and how much to exercise are ones that only you can make.

5. You must achieve your weight-loss goals on your own.
Are you critical of yourself because you lack the willpower to lose weight and get fit? If you’ve tried and failed to get fit and lose weight on your own, are you now convinced that further efforts are hopeless? Millions of people share your struggle, and some are succeeding with the help of support groups. Create a support team that includes exercise partners and individuals who will hold you accountable.

Every body is different―no single approach to weight loss works for everyone. To succeed, you’ll need to become a student again and experiment with different exercises and food plans to see what works best for you.

You’ll also need to commit for the long haul. Don’t get discouraged if at first the going is slow. You have the rest of your life to incorporate healthful changes.

George Bernard Shaw said that “imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine, and at last you create what you will.”

How you think about food, exercise and weight loss determines the outcome of your effort. Imagine a new, healthy and fit future for yourself. Imagine how wonderful you will feel and look. Then begin the step-by-step, decision-by-decision process of realizing your fitness dreams.

About the Author:

Carole Carson is the author of From Fat to Fit: Turn Yourself into a Weapon of Mass Reduction and the national coach for the AARP Fat 2 Fit online community. Visit for more information.