Sensible weight-loss programmes have modest goals but the dramatic weight loss depicted in television shows is unrealistic.
Lauve Metcalfe, associate director of special projects for the Center for Physical Activity and Nutrition, University of Arizona, says sensible weight-loss programmes are rooted in self-esteem and positive body image.
Metcalfe identifies three areas essential to successful weight management: appetite - how you choose, cook and enjoy food; activity - how you move and engage in physical activity; attitude - how you deal with issues of self-esteem and barriers.
Metcalfe outlines 11 skills for developing a healthy body image and self-esteem:
Skill 1 - Honour your personal story: Past events and experiences 'shape' one's perception of body image. Acknowledge your personal story and become more conscious of what choices you can control to improve the quality of your life.
Skill 2 - Accept yourself the way you are: Develop acceptance of your body image in the present form. Self-acceptance allows you to channel your energies into modifying behaviour, rather than struggling with negative thinking.
Skill 3 - Create a positive mental outlook: The attitude that you bring into a situation greatly determines the outcome. Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you are probably right.
Skill 4 - Practice positive self-talk skills: Positive self-talk messages will reinforce the qualities, skills and attributes within you, affect your unconscious mind and have a major effect on the way you view yourself.
Skill 5 - Guide away from comparisons: Beauty is a multi-dimensional combination of a variety of aspects of an individual that is in a constant state of change. Acknowledge your personal expressions of beauty that make you unique.
Skill 6 - Build your self-reliance: Each time you challenge yourself and attempt a task or skill that is outside of your comfort zone, you will experience a stronger degree of confidence in your abilities.
Skill 7 - Lighten up and live in the now: To fully enjoy life, stay in the present and experience life from moment to moment. Create a balanced perspective on life by looking to the future with anticipation, respecting the past for insight, and most important -living in the now.
Skill 8 - Reward yourself in healthy ways: Create rewards and positive incentives to keep you on track with your body image program. Develop daily, weekly and monthly incentives that recognize the effort you are putting into your personal wellness programme.
Skill 9 - Give yourself praise: Acknowledge the positive steps you make in taking care of yourself. Be open to the praise of others and regularly give and receive compliments.
Skill 10 - Develop coping skills to deal with setbacks: There are moments in all our lives that are difficult to deal with emotionally. By creating rest periods and occasional breaks in your program you will allow yourself time to be a 'human being' versus a 'human doing.'
Skill 11 - Be connected: Many people can help you stay on track with a healthy lifestyle. Value the role that supportive friends and relatives play in your life. Take time out on a regular basis to be in touch with nature and the environment, said an American College of Sports Medicine's (ACSM) release.
These findings were presented at the ACSM 14th annual health and fitness summit.