A man writing in a notebook about healthy eating rules for weight loss on a wooden table with a colorful salad in a bowl next to a small bowl of nuts
Healthy Living

How to Set Realistic Weight Loss Goals: Advice from an Expert

Apr 17 2019

Mike McConnell interviewed Mercy Health Dietician Beth Flynn about weight loss goals. Here’s what we learned from her expert opinion.

Every year people resolve to lose weight. However, most people will not stick with that resolution, in part because they are focused on the number of pounds they lose more than how they lose them. According to Mercy Health Dietician Beth Flynn, “Anything that has a beginning and end is not going to work.” If weight loss goals are not long term, then once someone has reached their target weight it becomes easy to fall back into bad habits and embrace food that is more convenient than healthy.

Mercy Health Dietician Beth Flynn gives advice on how to set realistic weight loss goals.

Drive-thru, home delivery, and pre-prepared microwavable meals satisfy our hunger quickly and with little effort on our part. Successful weight loss will focus on changing habits because making long term changes will lead to long term success. This is why it’s so important to plan time to make meals, as well as what goes in them. Willpower is another key to weight loss, allowing someone to ask an important question such as, “does this food do good things for me or bad things to me?”, when considering what they eat. Unfortunately, the trap of convenience is easy to fall into and weight can sneak up on people.

Bariatric surgery is an option for those seeing little improvement.

This is where bariatrics comes in. Flynn works almost exclusively with patients who are interested in bariatric surgery. This means that these patients have 100 pounds to lose and accompanying conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, migraines, back pain, and knee pain.

Most patients are very successful with the bariatric program, which includes the surgery and follow up. These people see dramatic changes in the presence and severity of the conditions associated with their weight, and their quality of life is greatly improved.

Mercy Health’s bariatric program includes a three-month post-surgery program in which the patient trains two days a week with a personal trainer through the Mercy HealthPlex Fitness and Wellness Centers, which provide premier wellness, fitness and athletic experiences with a wide range of activities. This gets the patients comfortable with exercising and using the machines that may be intimidating.

There is a debate about which is more important for losing weight – diet or exercise. Mercy Health’s program takes a holistic approach. Research shows that diet should be the focus for losing weight but exercise is key for keeping that weight off.

Creating healthy long term habits of diet and exercise is key for anyone trying to lose weight and set weight loss goals. Those focused on changing their lives and not simply changing a number will have success.

Visit the Mercy Health website to learn more or to see if weight loss services and bariatric surgery with a Mercy Health provider are right for you.

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