How to Get Started or Re-Ignite a Weight Journey

Weight loss and body image are not easy topics to discuss and work through.  A little bit of guidance to kick-start the process can be nice to have; at least it’s something more helpful than that family member’s comments about how much weight you’ve gained, or how you need to eat more.

Those comments certainly don’t help most of us.  So, here is our quick step-by-step guide to beginning or maintaining a weight journey (which can mean either weight gain or loss).  This quick guide is based on several theories/principles of emotion, behavior, and motivation.

Step 1: “Pre-Goal Setting”/Identifying Your Long-Term Goal

Evaluate what it is you would like your overall outcome to be. I.e., to fit into that polka-dot bikini, certain pant size, drop those stubborn 10 pounds, feel more healthy/energetic, etc.  Write that down and keep it at the forefront of your mind.

Step 2: “Self-Monitoring”

Take three days to a full week (more is better in this situation) to record what you are currently doing diet and physical activity-wise.  Don’t make any changes, just yet.  Self-monitoring is a step that will take some extra effort, because we’re all busy and it can be hard to track ourselves throughout the day.  However, this is worth it!  Track via paper-and-pen/pencil, smartphone apps (MyFitnessPalLose It!, Samsung Health, Fitbit app), using wearables (Fitbit, Apple Watch, Garmin), from a desktop/laptop (in Microsoft Excel, on a Gmail calendar), on a paper calendar, taking pictures of meals, snacks, and drinks, whatever form works best for you and your lifestyle.

Make it work for you and not against you.  As annoying as it might be, it is a critical step in this process.  Adding in time of day, mood, and/or setting is also very beneficial info that can add to what we can work with from this step.

Step 3: “Problem-Solving”

Review your record from the last 3-7 days and determine:

A. Where you can scale back if weight loss is the goal / add to portions if weight gain is the goal (Hint for weight loss: alcohol, sugar-sweetened beverages, and desserts/snacks are often easy places to cut back first; for weight gain, there are some healthy ways to boost calories through snacks or more frequent meals, *Although it may be tempting, I am not recommending increasing your alcohol intake*).

B. Where/how you may be able to slowly increase or change up your physical activity.  Consider walking at least 10 minutes on a lunch break.

C. Your triggers to eating / not exercising. (I.e., in a sad mood, watching Netflix, too tired, too busy with work).

From here, you can see where your specific problems might be and attack those.

Step 4: “Goal-Setting”

Make your goals clear. SMART goal setting can come in handy here

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Action-Oriented
  • Realistic
  • Time-Based

These goals should be evaluated by whoever creates them on a scale of 0-10, 0 meaning no confidence and 10 meaning complete confidence.  If the person rates the goal a 7-10, then the goal is said to be realistic. If any lower than 7, the goal needs to be adjusted to be more realistic.

Do this: ”This week, I will walk after work 3 different days for 30 minutes each time I walk.” This goal is specific with something that can be measured (whether recording what you do in a calendar/using an app or wearable), is set to occur this week with a time for the activity, and if the person feels he/she can do this, then it’s also realistic.

Not this: “I’ll run more.”  It’s not very specific, measurable, or time-bound, which makes it hard to be actionable and realistic.

Step 5: “Stimulus Control” / “Cognitive Restructuring”

These two techniques are grouped together, but different tools.  Stimulus Control involves breaking an association.  For example: try to buy a single-serve or smaller portion bag of chips if you want chips, instead of buying the large size.  This will cause you to have to first: decide if you really want chips and then: control portion size.  Going back to your record of behavior from Step 2, do you see a pattern with the time of day, environment, or mood?  These could all be stimuli to eating behaviors.  A very simple example is always eating a snack at 3 pm.  These are small but helpful, things to look for and adjust.

Cognitive Restructuring requires paying attention to thoughts and breaking that negative self-talk, which can be one downfall to any well-thought-out plan.  A common example of weight loss is chalking a whole day up to a “bad eating day” just because a person ate one dessert item.  Eating one thing that might not be considered “healthy” does not constitute throwing away all the other effort that’s been put towards weight loss.  Watch for overgeneralizations and labeling things as “good” or “bad, so those thoughts can be corrected and turned into more positive, goal-promoting thoughts.

Step 6: Seeking Professional Guidance/Advice

Look into visiting with a professional (Registered Dietitian, Psychologist, Behavior Analyst/Therapist, Physical Therapist, Health Coach, Personal Trainer, etc) depending on your area of need.  These professionals can equip you with the science-based tips and the base knowledge in their fields that you need to achieve the small goals, leading to that overarching goal.  Hint: If you see a Dietitian, bring your record from Step 2 along with you, this will greatly help the RD and make the process more efficient for you so you’ll get more for your money in your session.

Step 7: Re-Evaluating

Look back at what you’ve done and your short-term goals.  This will help to set new goals and determine whether the first goals were realistic, too easy, or too ambitious.  There should be a consistent check-in to evaluate progress and adjust short-term goals, no matter what the end goal.  From check-in’s, you can decide whether you also need a follow-up session with any of the professionals mentioned in Step 6.

Keep in mind, this is a cyclic process and not meant to be a 30-day crash diet (Those things never work!).  It’s listed in a step-by-step format in order to avoid an irrational recommendation to try to make all of these things happen at the same time.  Each should be done separately to stay away from an overwhelming situation, but lead you to be able to do most or all of these, one day.  As listed above, there are so many ways to get started or re-focus, and so many different people who are able to help in the journey (including family, friends, and other life cheerleaders).

Create the lifestyle you want by choosing to make some of these changes today!  For more information, or to create an appointment to meet with a Registered Dietitian and discuss nutrition today, call Docere at 440-238-3331.



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Resolution Solution: How to Stay in the 9%

We start out with the best intentions in the New Year, diligently setting our health and wellness resolutions. But the truth is that we aren’t likely to keep them. Only about 9 percent of people are actually successful in achieving their New Year’s resolutions. It’s already April…what can you do to be part of the 9 percent? Here are a few tips and tricks to help you stay on track to achieving your goals:

Remember your “why”

Think about your reason for making the changes you decided to make as part of your resolution.  Is it because you want to fit into that pair of jeans (the ones that have sat in your closet quietly judging you)?  Or simply to live a more quality life and be able to give more to your family?  When you start to feel yourself faltering on your goals, regroup and think back to square one. This will help reset your brain, so you can tackle those goals head-on.

Mind your meals and snacks.

Watch your snacking quality and frequency. If you’re finding yourself snacking constantly, step back and consider what is causing the snacking in the first place. Are you actually hungry? Or maybe it’s a certain time of day you’ve associated with needing a snack?  It could also be a lack of proper hydration or inadequate calories eaten at meals that leads to snacking later in the day.  When you find what is causing the extra calorie intake, you can adjust the behavior over time.  Mindfulness is a concept that’s easy to forget in the business of everyday life, but, paying attention to yourself and your habits can be the key to a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.

Don’t check-out, check-in.

Begin your journey to change your lifestyle using a monitoring tool, whether it’s a website, app, or good old paper and pencil. Use it regularly to help keep you accountable and enable you to identify negative patterns where you can make adjustments and move closer to achieving your goal.

Keep your mindset positive.

With the gloomy weather at the end of winter, it can be easy to give up on working out, sticking to your healthy diet, or simply keeping a bright outlook.  In times like these, it’s nice to have a go-to for inspiration. Think of a powerful phrase, quote, or mantra to motivate your mind and get you back into action! Keep in mind that the hardest part of getting up and moving is just beginning the activity itself. Getting to the gym is half the battle and just showing up will make it more likely that you will get in a good work out!


You don’t have to wait for the New Year to set goals. To learn more and make an appointment with our Registered Dietitian, call Docere at 440-238-3331.



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Four Myths About That Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Cellulite

It’s called Edematous fibrosclerotic panniculopathy but you may know it better as cellulite. Quite simply, it’s the dimpling of the skin commonly found on the butt, hips, and thighs. It’s not hazardous to your health, but most people don’t love the look of it. And unfortunately, falsehoods and magic potions run rampant in the misunderstood world of cellulite. Here are a few:

1. Cellulite only affects certain people.

While it does favor women over men, it doesn’t give preferential treatment to any other specific type of person beyond that. Curvy or thin. Millennial or baby boomer. Brunette or blonde. You name it – cellulite doesn’t care. In fact, cellulite is estimated to affect 80 to 98 percent of women. Even the fittest among us can still be affected by it, including professional ballerina Kylie Shea who recently garnered over 60k likes on her powerful Instagram post about her struggle with cellulite.

2. Losing weight and working out can make cellulite disappear.

While we always encourage a healthy diet and fitness regimen, it won’t cure you of your pesky cellulite. That’s because cellulite isn’t about fat alone– it’s actually the connective tissue beneath the skin that causes the dimpling effect. And trying to target certain areas of your body with exercise will likely have very little effect on the cellulite that resides there. You may create a more toned muscle (and that’s good), but you won’t be addressing the connective tissue causing the cellulite in the first place.

3. A suntan can diminish your cellulite.

As with most things that involve sun exposure– it’s only going to make the situation worse. UV rays damage and weaken the collagen and elastin network in your skin, making cellulite even more noticeable. Not to mention, the vast array of additional reasons you want to avoid prolonged sun exposure without proper protection, including wrinkles, discoloration, and an increased chance of skin cancer. It’s best to stick with a self-tanner if you are attempting to camouflage cellulite without making it worse.

4. Cellulite can be reduced with firming creams and lotions.

We wish it were true! But there is no scientific evidence to support claims that topical products can reduce cellulite. The same goes for many other treatments that tout significant cellulite reduction, such as wraps, supplements, special diets, massage, and injections. In fact, the only FDA-approved, long-lasting treatment for cellulite is Cellfina. It’s a minimally invasive procedure that basically cuts those troublesome connective tissues under the skin that are to blame for a lumpy and bumpy appearance.

If you are interested in learning more about Cellfina to address cellulite (or a spray tan for some strategic camouflage) call us at 440-238-3331 to learn more.



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