Ask Dr. Joy Miller: Body Image

By WEEK Producer

May 9, 2012 Updated May 9, 2012 at 7:45 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- Summer is nearing and more people are thinking about digging out the shorts and swimming suits, but are you ready to show more skin?

Recent statistics have shown that dieters are very optimistic about their ability to lose weight.  But, is the optimistic viewpoint just hopeful thinking, or reality?

In a Consumer’s Report survey of over 2000 Americans, 75 percent of people said believe they will be successful in losing weight and meeting their goal.  19 percent are unsure if they can accomplish the goal, and 6 percent are pessimistic.

 Here's what we know about people who are trying to lose weight:

* 67 percent are trying to do it alone

* 16 percent are using free programs

* 8 percent are paying for weight loss programs

What we do know for sure is that within each of these groups, most are watching their food intake in combination with exercise.

American’s reasons for dieting?

* 44 percent want to improve their health

* 20 percent say they just want to feel better about themselves

* 13 percent say they want to look better

* 12 percent want to improve their fitness and endurance

* 6 percent are losing weight because of a doctor's recommendation

Some  suggestions for being more successful as a dieter:

* Be realistic about your weight goals

* Set small steps for yourself, so you can measure success

* Find a program that works for you, and is healthy and not based on starvation or deprivation.

* Do it for yourself… no one loses weight unless they are really motivated to change.

If you find yourself unsuccessful, seek the assistance of a trained nutritionist, integrative or traditional physician, or eating disorder specialist.  Sometimes there are other reasons why people can’t lose weight other than determination and hard work. 

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