Q: Im getting desperate. I need to lose weight, but it never happens. I want to exercise, but I cant seem to stay motivated. I want to be healthier. How can I get on track?
KATIE P., FOXBORO, MASS.
A: Start simple, and dont be discouraged if the weight doesnt fall off. Youre building for a lifetime of health. Your first step? Walk 30 extra minutes a day. With that 30-minute walk or three 10-minute walks you are doing a lot to get your health on track. You might want to sign up now for a charity walk-a-thon in the spring; having a goal that does good for others will provide incentive to stay disciplined. After 30 days of taking 30-minute walks, you should reward yourself by buying a pedometer.
There are other proven techniques for creating new habits and sticking to them. Dr. Mikes Wellness Center uses them to help people who want to reclaim their health.
Pick a realistic, long-term goal: Ask yourself, What can I reasonably accomplish in six to 12 months? As you set your goal, remember: If you lose weight slowly 1 pound a week you increase your chances of keeping it off. And people who start a moderate activity program feel better and can slowly build up intensity and endurance. (Aim for 10,000 steps a day.)
Pick a mentor or buddy: Whether its a friend, nutritionist, coach or gym instructor, arrange to work toward your goal with someone who can support you. All of us need help to stay the healthy course. A buddy or coach can help you keep you as a priority.
It takes two to three weeks for a new behavior to become a habit. Apply your willpower for 14-21 days, and youll see the rewards in a renovated life and a younger you.
The You Docs Mehmet Oz, host of The Dr. Oz Show and Mike Roizen of Cleveland Clinic are authors of YOU: Losing Weight. To submit questions, go to www.RealAge.com. A King Features syndicate.