We are already headed into the third month of the year and those New Year promises of weight loss and a "healthier you" may have started to fade. But I suggest you set your goals to a different level and realize that people need to try numerous times to be successful. It was the saying of Thomas Edison, "I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work." That reminds me that when it comes to personal change, it is about finding the way that works.

Fitness vs. Fatness

Improving fitness versus losing weight: The argument is often over which is more important, but it depends on your current health and your personal goals. Studies show you should start to walk for your health and count calories for your weight. Compared to normal weight-fit individuals, unfit individuals, regardless of size, had twice the risk of early mortality. Overweight and obese individuals (with a BMI less than 40) who were fit had similar mortality risks as normal weight and fit individuals.

Research shows: Regular physical activity greatly lessens many of the health risks associated with weight; active obese individuals actually have lower morbidity and mortality risks than normal weight individuals who are unfit; and inactivity and low cardiorespiratory fitness are as important as overweight and obesity as mortality predictors.

For your health, you should focus on physical activity rather than weight-loss. You do not need to run a half-marathon to be healthy. Instead, try walking briskly for 40 minutes per day, most days of the week. To get more steps in your day, you can make simple changes like getting off the bus early and walking the rest of the way home, or walking to the station instead of taking the car or bus.

However, if you suffer from diabetes, hypertension or osteoarthritis of knees, a 10 percent weight loss (20 pounds if you weigh 200 pounds) is a great health benefit.

Successful weight loss involves a multiple-approach method. Increasing exercise can help, but reduction in calories is needed for noticeable weight loss. The calorie intake per day for males should be in the range (depends on age and size) from 2,000 to 2,400 and females 1,600 to 2,000. But the average American male takes in 2,900 calories and average American female 2,100.

It can be easy to mindlessly overeat, but once you start paying attention to calories, weight loss becomes easier. Let's put calorie reduction in perspective: 500 less calories a day is a about pound of weight loss per week. That is just 100 calories at breakfast, 150 calories at lunch and 250 at dinner. Running 20 miles or walking 30 miles a week will cause a pound of weight loss if you do not eat more food than usual (most people do when they exercise) or sit more because you're tired from exercising. Again, exercising is great for your health, but eating less is best way to lead to weight loss.

Weight Loss Tips

Reducing your calorie intake often takes help. Studies show that the most success in weight loss involves behavioral interventions focusing on both food intake and physical activity. People that get behavioral help lost 4-5 pounds more than those that tried on their own. These things can help a lot with successful weight loss:

  • •                Use a kitchen digital scale is very useful for portion control. Measure what you are eating. People estimate poorly food size, even professionals.
  • •                Track calories on apps like Calorie Count, MyFitnessApp, Lose It! or SparksPeople.
  • •                Companies like Nutrisystem, Weight Watchers, etc. can be helpful, or try Drexel Nutrition.
  • •                Try not to restrict chocolate (or other foods you enjoy), which could be unsuccessful in the long run. Just count the calories and stop eating when you get there.
  • •                Most people need some type of support system. Someone like a behavioral therapist or a registered dietician to identify triggers and reasons for extra eating can help you stay motivated.

The National Weight Control Registry tracks weight loss in people that are successful weight losers and how they maintain their weight loss. Almost all report continuing to maintain a low calorie, low-fat diet and doing high levels of activity. There is variety in how the successful weight losers kept the weight off. It is interesting to see what they do to control gaining weight.

  • ·       78 percent eat breakfast every day.
  • ·       75 percent weigh themselves at least once a week.
  • ·       62 percent watch less than 10 hours of TV per week.
  • ·       90 percent exercise, on average, about 1 hour per day.

Focus on the positives and stay active. Good luck!

Read more Sports Doc for Sports Medicine and Fitness.