Ready to shed a few pounds?

Article Published: Jan. 12, 2012 | Modified: Jan. 12, 2012

January is the traditional time to think about losing weight or improving one’s lifestyle. If you are overweight, it’s healthier to stay the same, rather than lose weight and re-gain it, or “yo-yo” diet. Before making a commitment to take off pounds, it is important to make sure you are ready. Take this weight loss readiness quiz to see if now’s the right time for you.

1. Are you motivated to make long-term lifestyle changes that require eating appropriate portion sizes of healthy foods and being physically active?

Be honest. Knowing you need to make changes in your life and feeling up to the challenge are two different things.

2. Are you free from distractions in your life that may prevent you from committing to a healthy lifestyle program?

You may set yourself up for failure if you’re distracted by other major events in your life, such as a new job, family illness or financial worries.

3. Are you realistic about your weight loss goal?

Start small; work on losing 2 to 8 pounds a month or, if you have been gaining weight, work on maintaining weight. Losing weight at a relatively slow pace has proved safe, healthy and effective over the long term.

4. Do you have family and friends to support your weight loss efforts?

It certainly helps to have someone in your life who will support you as you begin to eat smart and move more.

5. Do you believe that you can change your eating habits?

Sounds easy to do in theory, but in practice, it can be difficult. Believing you can do it is the first step.

6. Are you willing to become more physically active?

Increasing your level of physical activity is essential to losing weight and keeping it off.

7. Will you take the time to keep records of your food intake and physical activity?

Keeping records increases your chance of success. Although this takes time at first, the effort required decreases as you adopt healthier habits.

8. Have you resolved any eating disorders or other emotional issues that make it difficult for you to achieve a healthy weight?

If you have a tendency to binge, purge, starve or overexert when you exercise, or if you’re depressed or anxious, you may need the help of a professional.

9. Do you believe that a healthy weight is a lifelong commitment?

There’s no going back to your old behaviors.

If you answered yes to all of these questions, you’re ready to make the lifestyle changes necessary for permanent weight loss. If you answered no to one or more, you may not be ready. Explore what’s holding you back and face those obstacles.

Some people are able to make the lifestyle changes they need on their own without group support. On-line weight loss programs are an option.

If you are looking for a group setting, Boone’s Biggest Winner starts Jan. 17, offered at 11:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. This 12-week program is taught by a licensed professional counselor and fitness instructor at the Broyhill Wellness Center. Cost is $125 for Wellness Center members and $200 for non-members, but includes a three-month membership. For more information, call (828) 268-8961.

Eat Smart Move More Weigh Less starts Monday, Jan. 30, at 5:15 p.m. This is a 13-week program taught by a registered dietitian and two senior ASU nutrition interns at the Agricultural Conference Center in Boone. Cost is $45. For more information, call (828) 264-3061. Check out postings on

Weight Watchers ( is taught by leaders who have lost weight and is located at the Greenway business park. Several sessions are offered every week, with prices starting around $10 per week. There is also have an on-line program.

Margie Mansure, M.S., R.D. is a registered dietitian/nutritionist and extension agent with N.C. Cooperative Extension. She offers personalized classes to improve the health of citizens in Watauga County through worksites, schools and community groups. To contact her, email or call (828) 264-3061.

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