Weight Loss Program, Part 1: Basic Weight Loss Concepts - Activities

Friday, October 27, 2006 - 10:11am

By Kathleen Goodwin, RD

  • Activity One:
    Determine your BMI, Ideal Weight, and Obesity Health Risks

  • Activity Two:
    Determine if You are Ready to Lose Weight and What Works for You

ACTIVITY 1: Web Site Activity: Determine your BMI, ideal weight and obesity health risks

The purpose of this web site activity is to determine many important things before you begin your weight loss quest such as:

  • What is BMI?
  • What is my realistic, achievable ideal weight?
  • What is my BMI?
  • Am I at high risk for health problems due to my weight?
  • Do I even need to lose weight?

Web Site Activities

  • Ideal Body Weight Calculator
    Determine your ideal body weight based on sex, height and weight. Keep in mind, however, that this weight does not necessarily represent the most realistic or healthy weight for you as an individual.

Based on the web site activities, answer the following questions for yourself.

  • Does your BMI suggest that your weight puts your health at risk?
  • What do you feel is an ideal and realistic weight for you based on all the calculations?

Self assessment exercises: Being ready to lose weight/determining what works for you

These exercises will help you through some of the most critical steps involved in permanent weight loss. First, you must to decide if now is the right time for you to lose weight. You also must identify and create solutions to the many issues you think will be your most difficult struggles. Furthermore, you need to pinpoint what works and doesn't work for you based on your eating habits, lifestyle, and past diets. Individualizing your plan is critical in designing methods that will work in your favor, so get to know what your struggles, strengths, and potential obstacles might be. No one plan will be successful for everyone - only you can determine what's right for you. Be sure you allow adequate time and thought for these exercises - they might be the most important ones you will do.

ACTIVITY 2: Are you ready to lose weight?

Permanent weight loss is not a light, easy or "quick fix" endeavor. It is extremely important to assess your current readiness to take on the challenges that permanent weight loss brings before you begin a program. Your mindset must be one of acceptance of gradual changes, willingness to work, willingness to determine your personal challenges and willingness to create goals and solutions. Read the following, and take the quiz to find out if you're ready.

First, read the following article to learn more about weight loss readiness:

The Learn Program – Weight Loss Readiness?

Next, take the following weight loss readiness quiz. Be sure to determine your score by clicking at the bottom of the page. Once you get your score, be sure to also read the interpretations to your answers.

Weight Watchers – Weight Loss Readiness Quiz

Spend some time reviewing the following questions:

  • What were your scores on the weight loss readiness test?
  • Do you think now is the right time for you?
  • Are you willing to reevaluate the things that indicate you might not be fully ready?
  • What pre-conceived thoughts about weight loss do you have that might result in just temporary solutions?
  • Are you willing to change your line of thinking about those things and accept the changes you must make to lose weight permanently?

What stops your eating healthily and exercising?

Answer the following for yourself on a piece of paper:

  1. What are my biggest weight loss challenges in the following areas? (Be very specific and list as many as you feel are relevant).

    Diet Challenges:


    • I don't eat enough fruits and vegetables
    • I eat too many unhealthy fast foods
    • I don't drink enough water
    • I eat too many sweets
    • I eat too much saturated fat
    • I don't read food labels to compare and buy the healthiest products
    • I skip breakfast
    • I don't eat often enough and overeat at the following meal as a result
    • I don't get much fiber or whole grains in my diet
    • I eat too much red meat
    • I drink too many sodas
    • My portions are too large, especially at dinner

    **Now make a list of your personal diet challenges on a piece of paper**

    Exercise Challenges:


    • I don't have enough time
    • It's too hard
    • I don't like to jog or bike or swim
    • I don't like the outfits and exercising in front of others because I feel fat

    ** Now make a list of your exercise challenges on a piece of paper**

    Eating Behavior Challenges:


    • I overeat when I get home from work because I am stressed.
    • I pick at food while watching TV and don't realize how much I've eaten
    • I often eat until I'm stuffed
    • I can't eat small portions of certain foods, like chocolate

    **Now make a list of your eating behavior challenges on a piece of paper**

What are some solutions to all the challenges you have listed?

Diet Solutions:


  • I will prepare a grocery list in advance and purchase more produce.
  • I will pack my lunch and add some vegetable sticks and a piece of fruit instead of getting fast food all the time.
    **Now make a list of your eating behavior challenges on a piece of paper**

Exercise Solutions:


  • I don't like most exercises on stationary equipment, but maybe I will try a weight lifting or beginning aerobics class at the gym. I've always given up on exercises that I don't enjoy, but I do enjoy group classes. I could also check out a Sierra Club in my area and try some hikes. That way, it will be more like socializing and enjoying the day instead of exercising.
  • Exercise doesn't have to be hard if I don't hold unrealistic expectations for myself, especially initially. It may be tough at first, but I'll take it slow and gradually I'll improve and will be very proud of my progress.

**Now make a list of solutions to your exercise challenges**

Eating Behavior Solutions:


  • I will try journaling each night as a way to identify my stress and some things that I can do to get a better grasp on it. Overeating only adds to my stress by making me feel worse about myself. I'll list some things I can do to get rid of stress that lead to me feeling better about myself instead of worse.

  • I'll identify certain foods which are eating triggers for me, those foods whose portions I can't control. I'll make a point not to stock those in the house. I'll also do some journaling about why I may be reaching for certain foods to heal my emotions.

**Now make a list of solutions to your eating behavior challenges**

What diet and exercise plan works for me?

Chances are you've tried several diets and weight loss methods in the past. There are reasons these methods failed you. On the other hand, certain aspects of some weight loss programs may have worked very well for you.


  • I need a flexible eating plan that doesn't eliminate foods I love or call for eating exact percentages of fats, proteins or carbohydrates. This is too strict for me to really live with long-term. A healthy, well-balanced plan that is flexible works for me.

  • I don't have much time to exercise, but several small exercise sessions each day would work.

Losing weight: what diet and exercise elements don't work for me?


  • Low carbohydrate diets that restrict the foods I love
  • Counting fat grams
  • Following exact menus
  • Exercising by myself
  • Not being able to dine out on a weight loss plan

**Now make a list of the things that work for you and the things that don't**

For Further Reading:

  • Nutrition Action Healthletter - "The Pressure to Eat: Why We're Getting Fatter"
    An interview with obesity expert Kelly Brownell, Ph.D. This article explores the many potential reasons behind skyrocketing national obesity rates.
  • NIDDK – Health Risks of Obesity and Being Overweight A good assessment of weight related health risks, assessing your personal risks, and lifestyle modifications to lower risk.

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