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Your Healthy Family: Why New Year's weight resolutions fail, and how to succeed

Posted at 5:24 PM, Jan 31, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-22 11:13:01-05

Disclaimer: This is sponsored content. All opinions and views are of Dr. Kells' Weight Loss and does not reflect the same of KOAA.

If you set a New Year’s Resolution, how's that going? More importantly, if you’re one of those who made a resolution about losing some weight like me, are you still on the bandwagon? Well, to be honest, I’m struggling. It’s one reason I wanted to do with this story. I’m hoping to remind myself of a few important things, and I’m hoping it might help someone else out there.

Dr. Kristen Kells, D.C., B.S.c. owns Dr. Kells' Weight Loss in Colorado Springs, tells me history and data say most resolutions don’t last, especially when it comes to weight loss.

“In our industry, we call January 17th the ditch your resolutions day, because by January 17th most of the population has dropped off them. Let me give you some facts first about resolutions. 30% of the population feels pressured to do resolutions, It’s an American thing. The rest of the world doesn't do this.”

A recent survey from Forbes Health/OnePoll of 1,005 U.S. adults (conducted Nov. 18 through Nov. 28, 2022) looked at Americans’ attitudes surrounding resolution setting resolutions and what types of goals were prioritized. While the majority said they want to focus on their mental health at 45%, the next 3 of the top 5 were improved fitness at 39%, lose weight at 37%, and improved diet at 33%. Rounding out the top 5, even in our tough economy, was improving finances, at 30%.

Dr. Kells has been in the weight loss industry for nearly 25 years now and has been hearing about people’s new year resolutions around health and fitness for years. “So what do they (resolutions) usually sound like? They sound like, ‘I'm going to exercise more. I'm going to pray more. I'm going to eat better.’ They're often shame-based. ‘I know I should be doing this.’ and most of the time they're just another task to do. Do any of us need more tasks in our life? Do any of us need more “shoulds” in our life? Who says, ‘Sure, give me 8 more things to do in a day.’, that's simply not sustainable behavior.”

When most of us undertake new behaviors that are not sustainable, no matter how good our intentions are the results are pretty predictable, and that’s not just a New Year’s Resolution thing says Dr. Kells.

“I see that every day with new patients they're defeated. They're demoralized and they're frustrated because they can get so many parts of their life together, but they can't get this weight thing together. They wonder, ‘What's wrong with me? Why can't I do this?’ So, by this time of year, they're already demoralized again, another failure. I would say first, let yourself off the hook a little bit. Only 5 people in 100 can lose weight on their own. You need support around you. The 95% of us that fail do so I believe because it's a diet culture. It's an all-or-nothing mentality. You set lofty goals and you fall off, you don't have anyone to help you so you know, slash all four tires and say, ‘I'm back at square one.’ That Is pretty typical.”

That vicious cycle of failure and defeat only ends when we undertake new behaviors that are a realistic starting point that leads to new sustainable daily life habits that we want in our lives.

Dr. Kells explains, “We can't force ourselves forever. We have to create habits and we cannot shame ourselves. The research shows that if we are currently in a lot of shame, that is not the way to get ourselves to where we want to be. 30 years of research tells us that shame will not get us there. I can guarantee that most people reading this have tried to shame themselves into New Year's Resolutions.”

So if getting in better shape, losing weight, and feeling better are changes you want to make in your life any time of year, what does work?

Dr. Kells says in her experience, “I specialize in 40-year-old plus weight loss and that's often related to poor metabolism and years of poor behaviors, unhealthy relationships with food and with our bodies. I like coming at it from the framework of what is sustainable. What causes true behavior change, and how do we actually get healthy? Research tells us what works is having support, accountability, direction, and guidance from a mentor and having a comprehensive whole health approach. That's what works with my patients. I work on them with that framework of what drives you. What is valuable to me? What is my life about and how do I live in congruence with those values? So, if you say your health is a value, I want you to dig deep and tell me why.”

Once you discover your why, that can give you something to focus on when challenges arise, and changing our bad habits becomes hard because we do know change can be hard.

If you have any questions about some suggestions for sticking with your weight loss New Year’s Resolutions, feel free to contact Dr. Kells’ staff at Dr. Kells' Weight Loss.

Dr. Kells’ Weight Loss is a proud sponsor of Your Healthy Family