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Persistence Is Key to Losing Weight and Keeping It Off
Date:1/2/2012

SUNDAY, Jan. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Losing weight is one of the most common New Year's resolutions, but changing long-held behaviors is a skill in itself, a medical expert says.

To shed unwanted pounds and keep them off, people have to be ready to face some setbacks and keep on trying, said Dr. Jessica Bartfield, an internal medicine and medical weight-loss specialist at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, part of the Loyola University Health System.

"People need a motivation to lose weight and the new year is an opportunity to start fresh," Bartfield said in a Loyola news release. "Behavior change is the cornerstone of healthy, successful weight loss and it takes about three months to establish a new behavior," she pointed out.

"When you learn to ride a bike, you expect that you will fall down a couple times and are prepared to try again and get back on; you need to have the same expectation with weight loss and to plan accordingly," she explained.

Only 20 percent of Americans who've tried to lose weight will keep the weight off after one year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Bartfield offered the following tips to help reverse this trend and help people achieve and maintain their weight-loss goals:

  • Don't skip breakfast. "Eating within one hour of awakening can boost your metabolism up to 20 percent for the rest of the day," Bartfield said. "Eating something is better than eating nothing, but ideally try to incorporate protein for longer-lasting fuel."
  • Have a weekly weight check. "Monitoring your weight on a weekly basis provides a fairly accurate weight trend and, more importantly, an early detection of any weight regain, which allows you to adjust behaviors accordingly," Bartfield said.
  • Exercise for one hour every day. "Snow shoveling, vacuuming, taking the stairs -- you don't have to run like a hamster on a wheel for 60 minutes. Take
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