January 5th, 2010
01:40 PM ET

Getting ready to drop the pounds

By Val Willingham
CNN Medical Producer

My goal this year is to lose weight. Pure and simple. I refuse to become part of the obesity statistics that seem to be increasing in this country. In fact in a new study in next month's issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers from Columbia University and the City College of New York found as the number of overweight Americans continues to increase, and nationwide smoking rates decline, obesity has become an equal, if not greater, contributor to the mortality rate in the U.S. We need to do something. So for once, this is one trend I don't want to be a part of.

So what have I done to try and lose the pounds? Well, I've set my goal (25 lbs for this year which fitness experts say is realistic) and how I am going to do it (eat less, exercise more. And no crazy diets). I've told my husband how much I weigh and how much I want to lose so he can be supportive and be a cheerleader as I lose the weight.

I have purchased a journal to write down what I eat each day, my daily weight and how I feel. I will also log my exercise routine. Studies show people who keep a log of what they eat stay focused on their weight loss and tend to keep the pounds off.

I am fortunate enough to belong to a great gym where classes in aerobics and other activities are included in our membership. I am going back to spinning class, taking up light weights and hitting the pool once a week. I may expand my routine to a weekly yoga class and a boxing class as time permits.

My motivation is tacked right on my refrigerator. It's a picture of me (oh shudder!) in my bathing suit (luckily I only live with my hubby and our Jack Russell) and a list of my numbers from my latest checkup (blood pressure bordering on high).   This weekend I cleaned out the refrigerator and cupboard of all the high fat, high caloric foods and replaced them with lots of fiber, veggies, fruits and low-fat milk and cheese. I also bought a few low-fat, low calorie frozen dinners for emergencies in case I or my husband can't cook.   They’re a little high in salt, but it's better than grabbing fast food.

And I plan to bring my lunch to work (that's not only good for the waistline but also for the budget!).  And although I don't drink many of them, I have eliminated sodas from my diet, replacing my drinks with sparkling water or filtered water from my fridge. And no more fancy water drinks, they have just as many calories as sodas.

I have set my bedtime to 10 pm, because people who get a good 7 to 8 hours of sleep avoid weight gain, according to sleep experts. And I have a "No Eating After 8 pm" policy I plan to stick to.

All these changes didn't happen on January 1st. I knew I wanted to lose weight so I took a month to get ready. I will start my first journal log on January 7th, because in one month I will turn 54 and I want to be able to look back on the month before and see where I've been. And maybe from time to time I will blog on my progress? What a great motivator that would be!!!

Here's to a Healthy New Year.

Do you have health goals for 2010? How are you approaching them? We'd like to hear about them.

Editor's Note: Medical news is a popular but sensitive subject rooted in science. We receive many comments on this blog each day; not all are posted. Our hope is that much will be learned from the sharing of useful information and personal experiences based on the medical and health topics of the blog. We encourage you to focus your comments on those medical and health topics and we appreciate your input. Thank you for your participation.

soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Calvin Naito

    Here is some data on people's health and other goals for 2010. It is survey data on people's most popular new year resolutions. It is current and obtained through a social media poll.

    Where did the data come from? Kaiser Permanente created an online new year resolution survey and put it on its Rose Parade float Facebook site. Over 118 people gave their 2010 resolutions. The most popular ones were related to health: "exercise more" and "lose weight."

    People can still go to the Kaiser Facebook site and mark their resolutions. We want to get as many respondents as possible.

    Click on the following Facebook link and scroll down to the poll and survey results: http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?topic=14113&post=90146&uid=189657702878#/pages/Kaiser-Permanente-Tournament-of-Roses-Float-2010/189657702878

    January 6, 2010 at 13:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Sylvia D.

    I have also set a weight loss gain for myself. I plan to lose 85 pounds, however, I am working at smaller goals in order to reach the big picture. My first target is 25 pounds. Once I reach that target I will set another and another until I reach my goal. I plan to fill up on whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean meats. I am not big on big on beef or pork so that makes it easier. I already exercise but inconsistency. My plan is to become more consistent. I started on Monday, January 4, however, I will be having surgery on January 15 which will derail my work out plans for about 4 – 6 weeks. During that time I've already decided that I will really, really have to watch what I eat since I will virtually be inactive. The journal sounds like a good idea and I plan to purchase one when I leave work today.

    January 7, 2010 at 11:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Judy

    I, too have committed myself to moving more and eating mindfully. My daughter pointed out to me that posting a picture of the "fat"me is counterproductive. She felt that posting a picture of a previously much thinner me, or a thinner anyone else, would be a better motivator. The thinking is, "I could look like that, but I don't. The reason I don't is that I am eating inappropiately and I am going to stop doing that right NOW". No excuses, this lard is ruining my life and I am going to take control.

    January 9, 2010 at 19:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Joanne Ciccone

    I congratulate you on very realistic ways to achieve one of the hardest things to do, especially being female and getting older....losing weight and keepint it off.

    I will be cheering for you everyday. Thanks for sharing

    January 10, 2010 at 06:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Nafi Rangwala

    With the thing at airport scanning well I am also hearing that they would not allow us to take carry on luggage from now on. so what if a person like me has Sleep Apnea and has to carry her cpap machine with her how would that work? Dr Sanjay Gupta I am sure as a doctor you know how important a CPAP machine is for the Sleep Apnea patient.

    January 10, 2010 at 10:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Rosa N

    I am also taking up the challenge of adapting a healthier lifestyle by incorporating activities, gym, healthier food habits, and taking care of myself more. I am from a hispanic background, and we tend to eat more starchy, high carbs...fried and sweet foods. I want to change that. I too want set a realistic goal. Overall Iwant to loose 60 lbs. My first goal is 30 lbs by June and then another 30lbs by the end of the year. I have researched nutrition resources available to guide me in this process. I can't wait for the new and improved me. My husband and I have set a reward, a new lexus, when I hit my mark...to me that's a great incentive...but the best reward is going to be able to live a longer life to see my son grow up.

    January 10, 2010 at 18:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Elle

    I wanted to SO bad to try and apply to be one of the triathalon competers, but lacking digital camcorder acess, I didn't even apply. I wanted to apply in memory of a friend who lived life till the very end.

    I need to lose 50 pounds. I'd like to do it so I can live life for those who cannot. Wish me luck. I'm overwhelmed, and don't know if I can do it.

    January 11, 2010 at 01:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Judy

    Elle, just take it one day at a time. About a pound a week is realistic without crash dieting. It sounds like it is impossible, but that would be five or more per month, and 5 X 12 months+ 60 pounds. Make a list of reasons you want to lose this weight and look at your list many times per day, especially if you are tempted to eat something you know you should't. Don't just breeze through the list, though. Visualize each and every reason and really think through how you feel about them. This has worked for me in the past, losing 25 pounds, but then I didn't stick to it, and regained 15 back. So now I am back on track and for the time being I am maintaining and have not gained any holiday pounds. I have begun walking for one hour every day and really watching every mouthful. Good luck! You can do this!!!!

    January 11, 2010 at 13:21 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.