Scale It Down


If you want to reverse unhealthy habits, putting an end to them all at once may be unrealistic. Here’s how to ease into a new, healthier lifestyle.


Ready for some daunting facts? Around 70 percent of Americans older than age 20 are considered overweight or obese, and heart disease also remains the leading cause of death in the United States.

With statistics like these, it’s safe to say that many people could benefit from a lifestyle and health overhaul.

Rather than trying to kick all your bad habits at once, ease into a healthier life by following these tips:

  1. Set goals. This tip is common, but important. You can’t measure success or failure without knowing what it is you’re trying to accomplish.
  2. Begin with one change. Want to eat better, exercise more and get more sleep? Pick one and stick with it until it becomes part of your daily routine. Once that good habit it set into place, move on to the next one.
  3. Drink water. Drinking water throughout the day is an easy first step. Staying hydrated will help you eat less and avoid sugary drinks. Plus, it’s free. Simply carry a water bottle with you to work or in the car.
  4. Walk it off. Diving head first into intense workouts may not be a good idea if you’re not accustomed to the physical challenge. Walking for 15 to 30 minutes a day is something most people can accomplish and fit into their schedule. As this becomes easier, add time and intensity.
  5. Take it week by week. Looking at all you have to manage long term can be demoralizing. You’re not trying to lose 50 pounds, you’re trying to lose one pound this week … and then two next week. You’re not trying to cut out soft drinks immediately, you’re limiting yourself to three this week and maybe two next week.

When to Worry

Cumulative weight gain be a surprise. You gain a few pounds here, a few there — all while being unaware of the changes to your health. Before you know it, you’re overweight and dealing with the health risks that come with extra pounds.

Here are some signs that you need to start taking weight seriously:

  • Your numbers on the scale. This one may be obvious, but learning if you are truly at an unhealthy weight is the first step.

  • Nighttime unrest. If you are having more and more difficulty getting a good night’s sleep, being overweight may be to blame. An increase in snoring can also be a big indicator.

  • Low energy. Struggling to find the energy to complete everyday tasks is a sign of weight gain.

  • Shortness of breath. Basic, day-to-day activities shouldn’t leave you gasping for air or trying to calm down a pounding heart.

If you're affected by any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor about steps you can take to lose weight.

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