Your 2018 Weight Loss Guide Step 1: First Things First

Timothy Boyer Ph.D.'s picture
10-step guide to losing weight in 2018

This is the first of a 2018 Weight Loss Guide 10-part series on what you should be doing to lose weight. In Step 1: First Things First, you will learn the biggest mistake beginning dieters make and what you need to do right now before cutting calories or increasing your activity level.

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There’s shared agreement among many weight loss experts and health professionals that one of the biggest mistakes beginning dieters make is jumping into wanting to achieve weight loss with the sole goal of shedding pounds and fitting into that clothing in your closet from what you consider to have been better, slimmer days.

While these goals are commendable and desirable, the key here is that the focus should be on a “healthier you” rather than a “slimmer you”—meaning that successful weight loss is the result of lifestyle change rather than a fat fad quick fix. Think sustainability and how your weight loss will and should last the remainder of what could be a healthy lifetime.

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STEP 1: FIRST THINGS FIRST

Think of the first steps of achieving a “healthier you” as a journey where you start at point A en route to point B. Point B is not the entire journey, merely a stopover point to take a look at the sites and refuel.

Taking a first things first approach, you need some baseline info. For example, just how healthy (or unhealthy) are you at this point? One road map for this part of the journey is provided by United Healthcare with advice about putting a preventive care plan into action for a healthy New Year.

So, what exactly is preventive care and how does this apply toward losing weight? Preventive care is like routine maintenance on an old classic car before taking a road trip that includes screenings, checkups, and patient counseling to prevent or discover illness, disease or other health problems. If your car or your body is suffering from excessive wear and tear, making that journey will be all that much harder and you can expect a breakdown that might put an end to your achieving your destination goal.

PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE CHECKLIST BEFORE HEADING FOR WEIGHT LOSS

Item #1: Make that appointment today. Call your primary care doctor to make an appointment. Do it now. If it’s afterhours or a weekend, go ahead and look up the contact info now and place multiple reminders on your desk, your bathroom mirror, your calendar, and your smartphone as nagging reminders to get this done as soon as possible.

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Item #2: Prepare for your appointment by gathering info. Your physician will want to know about:

• Past treatments
• Immunizations
• Previous screenings and test results
• Family health history
• Medication including supplements

Make a list of potential health concerns that may have been addressed earlier by another doctor and/or the ones that you’ve meant to do but haven’t yet such as colorectal screening, high blood pressure, cholesterol levels, vaccinations etc.

Item #3: Ask questions. Bring a prepared list of questions to your visit. It’s easy to forget one or two during an uncomfortable examination or get sidelined during questions about your health and complaints. And be sure to let him or her know that you are on your first step of a wellness journey toward better heath and weight loss should he or she have some recommendations or resources to share.

United Healthcare provides a convenient list below:

  1. How often should I get a wellness checkup?
  2. What’s a healthy weight and waist measurement for me?
  3. Do I need a mammogram to screen for breast cancer? Should I consider genetic testing too?
  4. Should I be screened for cervical cancer?
  5. How often should I be screened for colorectal cancer? What are the benefits and risks of the different tests?
  6. Should I be tested for sexually transmitted infections?
  7. Do I need to be screened for an abdominal aortic aneurysm?
  8. How often should my cholesterol be checked? What should my levels be?
  9. What should my blood pressure be? How often should it be checked?
  10. How often should I be screened for diabetes?
  11. Do I need a bone density test?
  12. Would you recommend prostate cancer screening for me?
  13. What other important screenings may I need?
  14. What vaccines do I need?

Item #4: After your visit, schedule what comes next. Pull out your smartphone or appointment book and schedule all tests, vaccines, bloodwork, return appointments right there at the doctor’s office where a nursing receptionist can help you find the right numbers and clarify or help you follow your physician’s recommendations.

And finally…

By following Your 2018 Weight Loss Guide Step 1: First Things First recommendations above, you will now have a baseline of where your health is to compare months and years down the road against what it has become due to your efforts toward a healthier you.

In the next installment of this 10-part series, we will take a look at some sound advice on what should be your next step to follow in Your 2018 Weight Loss Guide.

Reference: United Healthcare Benefit Awareness News Dec. 2017 “For a healthy new year: Put a preventive care plan into action”

Image Source: Pixabay

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