Are you ready to lose weight? Your attitude about weight loss affects your ability to succeed. Take this Readiness Quiz to learn if your attitudes need to be challenged before you begin. Be honest! It is important that these answers reflect the way you really are, not how you would like to be.

Mark each item true or false.

1. I have thought a lot about my eating habits and physical activities to pinpoint what I need to change.

2. I have accepted the idea that I need to make permanent, not temporary, changes in my eating and activities to be successful.

3. I will only feel successful if I lose a lot of weight.

4. I accept the idea that it is best if I lose weight slowly.

5. I am thinking of losing weight now because I really want to, not because someone else thinks I should.

6. I think losing weight will solve other problems in my life.

7. I am willing and able to increase my regular physical activity.

8. I can lose weight successfully if I have no “slip-ups.”

9. I am ready to commit some time and effort each week to organizing andplanning my food and activity programs.

10. Once I lose some initial weight, I usually lose the motivation to keep  going until I reach my goal.

11. I want to start a weight-loss program even though my life is unusually  stressful right now.

Scoring the Weight Loss Readiness Quiz

Items 1, 2, 4, 5, 7 and 9: Score 1 for each true answer and 0 for each false answer.

Items 3, 6, 8, 10 and 11: Score 0 for each true answer and 1 for each false answer.

Total Score: _____


Recommendations

No single total score indicates for sure whether you are ready to start losing weight. However, the higher your total score, the more characteristics you have that contribute to success. As a rough guide, consider the following recommendations:

1.   If you scored 8 or higher, you probably have good reasons for wanting to lose weight now and a good understanding of the steps needed to succeed. Still, you might want to learn more about the areas where you scored a 0.

2.   If you scored 5 to 7 , you may need to re-evaluate your reasons for losing weight and the methods you would use to do so. To get a start, read the advice given below for those quiz items where you received a score of 0.

3.   If you scored 4 or less, now may not be the right time for you to lose weight. While you might be successful in losing weight initially, your answers suggest that you are unlikely to sustain sufficient effort to lose all the weight you want or to keep off the weight that you do lose. You need to reconsider your weight loss motivations and methods and perhaps learn more about the pros and cons of different approaches to reducing. To do so, read the advice below for those quiz items where you scored a 0.

Interpretation of Quiz Items

1.   It has been said that you can’t change what you don’t understand. You might benefit from keeping records for a week to help pinpoint when, what, why and how much you eat. This tool is also useful in identifying obstacles to regular physical activity. You will do this throughout the VITALITY program to promote your success.

2.   Making drastic or highly restrictive changes in your eating habits may allow you to lose weight in the short-run, but be too hard to live with permanently. Similarly, your program of physical activity should be one you can sustain. The goal of the VITALITY program is to help you make small changes that are realistic and manageable.

3.   Most people have fantasies of reaching a weight considerably lower than they can realistically maintain. Rethink your meaning of “success.” A successful, realistic weight loss is one that can be comfortably maintained through sensible eating and regular activity. The Exercise Physiologists and Dietitians in the VITALITY program will help you set realistic goals and guide you on the steps it will take to achieve a healthy weight loss that can be maintained for a lifetime. 

4.   If you equate success with fast weight loss, you will have problems maintaining your weight. This “quick fix” attitude can backfire when you face the challenges of weight maintenance. It’s best –and healthiest—to lose weight slowly, while learning the strategies that allow you to keep the weight off permanently.

5.   The desire for and commitment to weight loss must come from you. People who lose and maintain weight successfully take responsibility for their own desires and decide the best way to achieve them. Once this step is taken, friends and family are an important source of support, not motivation.

6.   While being overweight may contribute to a number of social problems, it is rarely the single cause. Anticipating that all of your problems will be solved through weight loss is unrealistic and may set you up for disappointment. Instead, realize that successful weight loss will make you feel more self-confident and empowered, and that the skills you develop to deal with your weight can be applied to other areas of your life.

7.   Studies have shown that people who develop the habit of regular, moderate physical activity are most successful at maintaining their weight. Exercise does not have to be strenuous to be effective for weight control. Any moderate, physical activity that you enjoy and will do regularly counts. Just get moving!

8.   While most people don’t expect perfection of themselves in everyday life, many feel they must stick to a weight loss program perfectly. The Lifestyle and Weight Management Consultant you work with throughout the VITALITY program will help you to challenge this unrealistic ideal by helping you to view lapses as valuable opportunities to identify problem triggers, and then help develop strategies for the future.

9.   Successful weight loss is not possible without taking the time to think about yourself, assess your problem areas and develop strategies to deal with them. Success takes time. You must commit to planning and organizing your weight loss.

10.  Do not ignore your concern about “going the distance” because they may indicate a potential problem. Think about past efforts and why you struggled. The Lifestyle and Weight Management Consultant in the throughout the VITALITY program will guide you to think about unsuccessful past efforts and work with you on developing motivational strategies to get you over these hurdles. We will help you to take your effort one day at a time; a plateau of weight maintenance within an ongoing weight loss program is perfectly OK.

11.  Weight loss itself is a source of stress, so if you are already under stress, it may be difficult to successfully implement a weight loss program at this time. Try to resolve other stress sources in your life before you begin a weight loss effort.

Adapted from National Center for Nutrition and Dietetics of The American Dietetic Association.