Are You Ready to Lose the Baby Weight?
Your answers to these self-assessment questions will reveal the level of challenge you may face in pursuing your goals of improved fitness or weight loss. So be honest! The results won’t discourage you, but will give you accurate expectations for the road ahead.
Question 1 of 12
In my typical daily eating pattern, I ...
|Sit down to three regular meals|
|Snack whenever I’m hungry|
|Skip breakfast, eat a medium lunch and a large dinner|
Eat several small meals
While eating several mini-meals throughout the day has been shown to curb hunger and satisfy that need to munch, it can backfire if you can't stop once you start. If you're a big eater or don't have time to prepare five to six meals a day, three squares might be the right choice for you. The common (misguided) trick of eating a tiny breakfast and slowly revving up to a monster dinner, however, is a recipe for weight gain. So is snacking all day. Weight loss requires meal planning and forethought, not starvation in the morning and spur-of-the-moment eating decisions throughout the day.
Question 2 of 12
The following prevents me from exercising regularly:
None of the above
If you're injured, you might want to wait until you're recovered to begin the Lose the Baby Weight program because regular exercise is the key to a healthy body. If work and childcare are preventing you from working up a daily sweat, you're going to have to make time for yourself in order to be successful. It may require getting up earlier, working out during your lunch break, or exercising after the kids go to bed. We know it can be a juggling act to fit in that workout, but people manage to find time to do things that are important to them. If you make exercise a top priority, you'll make it work.
|Illness or injury|
Question 3 of 12
I show up late for parties, meetings, lunch with friends, doctor’s appointments ...
|Always: C'mon, I've got little kids!|
Never: It's rude and disrespectful of other people's time
People who have a habit of arriving late also have a difficult time maintaining a regular exercise schedule. They tend to procrastinate or to fill time with a million small details instead of focusing on the task at hand. People who frequently run late also tend to be disorganized: They misplace their keys, don't keep track of the time, need to stop for gas, or can't find something clean to wear. If this sounds like you, sticking to a daily workout plan and preparing your meals or snacks the night before is going to be a real kick in the pants because you're not used to a lot of structure. On the other hand, if you're a gal who plans ahead and is described as dependable and steady by your friends, you're going to easily adapt to the new lifestyle routine!
|Sometimes: Hey, traffic happens|
|Often: Things always come up at the last minute|
Question 4 of 12
I have tried the following diet aids:
|Shakes, Slimfast, diet pills, etc.|
|Prepared meal programs like Jenny Craig or Nutri-System|
None of the above
Over-the-counter diet aids like appetite suppression pills are silly at best and dangerous at worst. They may work on the short term, but you usually wind up feeling like dirt while you take them and gaining the weight back once you stop. Pre-packaged meal programs are a much healthier option, but what happens when the program is over and you have to shop and cook for yourself? The key to safe and long-lasting weight loss is self-directed healthy eating and consistent exercise. No one else can do it for you. No magic program, pill, or product is going to work for years and years. To drop five pounds quickly for a high school reunion, sure, use the latest diet product available at the drugstore and put the weight back on a week later. If you want to steadily drop two pounds a week and enjoy lifelong success, you need to become your own healthy chef and fitness coach.
|All of the above|
Question 5 of 12
I attend the following on a weekly basis, without missing a meeting:
|I don't regularly attend any recurring social functions|
|Social club like Junior League, a local charity, or hobby group|
|Place of worship|
More than one of the above
We all know this person: She's got a bunch of kids, works, attends social functions, keeps a spotless house, looks great, and volunteers for everything. We also know the mom who has a maid service, doesn't work, has two kids, and still can't manage to find time to do anything else. It seems the busiest people can more easily add to their agenda while those with the most time can't find time to do anything. This is the same dynamic we see in student athletes. Studies show that kids who play team sports get better grades than kids who just hang around after school. Why? Kids with more commitments quickly learn time management skills, plus sports encourage personal accountability on the field or court. The same goes for weight loss! It requires a commitment to daily exercise and food planning, both of which take time. If you're already showing up to numerous commitments on time, you'll have no problem adding another. If you're more of a laid back personality, you might want to invest in a weekly/monthly organizer to help you get a handle on your daily tasks, so you can incorporate some new healthy ones.
Question 6 of 12
I typically exercise ...
|Once a week|
Three or more times a week
Exercise is essential for weight loss and overall well being. Once or twice a week won't make much of a difference. You've got to break a sweat most days of the week to prevent heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and stroke. If exercise isn't part of your life right now, start off with brisk walking, moderating biking, or low-intensity fitness classes until you're accustomed to working out on a daily basis. Once it's become a habit, start kicking it up a notch to really see results!
|Twice a week|
Question 7 of 12
Exercise makes me feel ...
|Good if I'm doing something fun with a friend|
If you only exercise now and then, you're going to feel rotten when you do it because your body isn't used to an accelerated heart rate or heavy breathing. The more you do it, the easier it gets. If you feel like throwing up every time you workout, you may be going harder than you should. Ease up on the intensity and focus on staying in motion for an hour instead of going full blast. If exercising with a friend is more fun, start calling around and making workout plans with your girlfriends. There's nothing like a good hour of power-walking to catch up on the all the news that's not fit to repeat!
|Cruddy at first, but really proud once I'm finished|
|Like my heart and lungs are about to explode|
Question 8 of 12
If I have to do something unpleasant, I usually:
|Do it half-heartedly|
|Make an excuse for not doing it ("I feel sick. I'm too busy. Something came up. The kids are sick.")|
Just do it
Nike hit the nail on the head with its Just Do It slogan. Everyone has days when they don't want to log their calories in a food journal or exercise, but lean and fit people do it anyway. We're going to give you all sorts of tools to help you eat better and plenty of exercise ideas to keep it fresh every day. But we can't come to your house and prepare your meals or move your arms and legs for you. Whether you're tired, sore, or busy … Just Do It.
|Procrastinate until the last minute|
Question 9 of 12
I've spent hours planting flowers and pouring mulch to brighten my yard. To reward myself for all that hard work, I ...
Relax with a warm bath and a good book
Many of our parents taught us a horrible habit: rewarding good behavior with junk food. Do yourself and your kids a favor by putting an end to that tradition today. High-calorie, high-fat, zero-vitamin foods like ice cream, cookies, cupcakes, wine, and chocolate aren't a reward. Why would you reward yourself with a fatter rear end? Self rewards are a fabulous motivational tool, but they should be things like a new paperback book, a warm bath, a just-released video to watch, a new song for your music player, or a massage from your mate.
|Go for a nice pedicure|
|Order in dinner and a glass of wine|
|Treat myself to a bowl of ice cream|
Question 10 of 12
What I do with leftovers is ...
|Throw them away|
|What are leftovers?|
Eat them for lunch the next day
Ah, leftovers! Some people love them and others can't stomach them, but no matter what, if you're trying to lose weight, you should have some food left over after dinner each night because you're not going back for seconds and thirds. The best way to handle leftovers is to use them for lunch the next day. You've gone to all the trouble to prepare a low-calorie dinner, so why not get more bang for your buck by turning the leftovers into a low-calorie lunch? If you're tempted to pick at the leftovers later on at night, write the words Julie's Wednesday Lunch on the plastic storage container. It may sound silly, but you'll be less likely to sneak that leftover chicken breast if you know it means you'll go hungry at lunchtime tomorrow.
|Eat them later on at night|
Question 11 of 12
When a friend calls and asks if I want to go for a walk, I respond:
Great! I'll ask my partner to watch the kids and meet you outside!
Exercising with a companion is one of the best ways to enjoy your workout. Having a friend around keeps you moving when you're tempted to quit. It provides conversation to keep your mind occupied, and it keeps you accountable to show up for those buddy workouts. If someone calls you to take a walk, drop whatever you're doing and go. If you absolutely can't go at that very moment, make a date to do it later in the day or the next day. Write it down. Make it happen. If you keep finding reasons to beg off, your friends will quit calling and you're more likely to stop exercising.
|Better not, my knee is sore for some reason|
|I'd love to, but I'm busy right now|
|It's not a good time; how about later in the week?|
Question 12 of 12
My typical breakfast consists of ...
|Nothing but coffee, baby!|
|A low-fat muffin|
Eggs and/or oatmeal
Eating a healthy breakfast is one of the cornerstones of successful weight loss. A 2002 study of 3,000 dieters conducted by the National Weight Control Registry reported that people who have lost at least 30 pounds and kept it off regularly ate a healthy and hearty breakfast. Your body needs more than coffee or a banana to get going. Try to eat a morning meal that includes healthy carbohydrates like oatmeal or whole wheat toast, natural sugars like those in fruit, and some protein like eggs to kick-start your metabolism and keep you from overeating throughout the day.
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