Healthy is in, Skinny is Out
Weight loss consistently ranks as one of the top resolutions for many people hoping to turn over a new leaf and to improve their self-image. However, many of us who resolve to shed the extra pounds by dieting end up unsuccessful — sometimes in a matter of a few weeks — and we fall back on our old habits.
We are exposed to messages and images in the media that idealize being very thin which can lead to unrealistic perceptions and expectations about body image. Sometimes the lines between being skinny and being truly healthy become blurred.
It is important to understand why weight loss resolutions can often be misguided. Sometimes shifting the focus to overall health, not necessarily on losing weight, can be a more attainable and approachable goal.
“Focusing on losing a certain number of pounds or reaching a certain weight fuels the yo-yo dieting cycle which can harm your mental and physical health,” says Ursula Ridens, a registered dietitian affiliated with Sharp Grossmont Hospital. Dieting implies restriction and deprivation with pitfalls such as increased hunger, cravings and a sense of loss. The term “diet” often implies that there is a start and an end.
A “non-diet” approach can help you to adopt lifestyle changes that lead to long-term health improvements. According to Ridens, these three tips can help you to establish a more realistic approach to making positive changes to your health:
Focus on specific things you can do to generate healthy outcomes:
- Don’t get caught up in the amount of weight you need to lose. Instead, commit to gaining positive, healthier habits.
- Add weight resistance activities to your exercise routine to build muscle strength and to increase bone health.
- Increase cardiovascular activities to build endurance and lung capacity.
- Eat 5 to 9 servings of fruits and veggies every day to lower blood pressure. Eat fish at least twice a week to improve your cholesterol profile.
Focus on what you can increase rather than what you should decrease:
- Spending a lot of time thinking about what you should decrease in your diet like fat and sugar can make you feel deprived and frustrated which can make it hard to actually make the diet change.
- Drink more water, eat plenty of fruits and veggies and choose whole grains.
Focus on appreciating your body no matter your weight:
- Build your self-esteem by recognizing all the amazing things your body does for you like providing protection for your internal organs and supporting and carrying your body all day. When you appreciate your body, you’re more likely to take good care of it.
“Now is the time to shift our focus to health, rather than weight, by changing from a diet mentality into a health mentality,” says Ridens. “We are all wonderfully unique and our bodies are not meant to look just one way or weigh just one number.”
“Healthy in any shape or size is beautiful.”
Go to mea.yourbesthealth.com to check out the following Best Health offerings to help you stay healthy during the holidays and to learn how to earn points towards a Best Health Visa gift card:
- Health Coaching – Work one-on-one with a Best Health Coach to help you make a positive change.
- Online Weight/BMI Tracker – Calculate and track your Body Mass Index (BMI) to see your progress.
- Online Weight Management Workshop – Learn how to establish better fitness and nutrition practices in this 12-week online workshop.