January 19-25 marks the 21st annual Healthy Weight Week, a time to celebrate healthy, diet-free living habits that last a lifetime and prevent eating and weight problems. Diets are a temporary fix to a long-term problem and usually, they don’t work. Healthy lifelong habits are what produce weight loss, weight maintenance, and good health. Healthy Weight Week’s main concept is that dieting is not only harmful to your body, but your self-esteem.
A positive body image and establishing a healthy relationship with food is the first step in attempting to live a healthy lifestyle. Setting a strict calorie count and goals for each week isn’t a healthy way to approach weight loss. You can begin with little things, such as using a smaller plate. With a smaller plate, you can still eat the foods you love and enjoy, but in moderation. Simple changes make weight loss easy. During healthy weight week, the scale and BMI calculator should be hidden. This week is all about loving yourself, loving your body, and changing the way you approach health habits.
The following are activities and ideas to help you celebrate Healthy Weight Week, and begin making changes in your life. Choose a few to carry through the week, and then gradually incorporate all into your life to become healthier, happier, and change your self-image.
Stop dieting: No more weight loss goals or thinking being “thin” will make you happy. No more weight-obsessive thoughts; instead focus on being your best self, beginning now!
Be active: Being active can mean so many different things, so what is being active to you? No more focusing on the calories burned or time on the treadmill, Focus on the pleasure of movement and the health benefits associated with being active. Start with five minutes a day, and gradually increase your active time.
Change your self-image: Use self-talk and affirmations to enhance personal appearance, respect, and self-esteem. Feel good about yourself again, or for the first time!
Promote others, too: Extend respect, tolerance, and acceptance to everyone. Promote good relationships and communication with family, friends, and acquaintances. Spend time with the people you love enjoying social activities.
Rediscover normal eating: Tune into your body’s internal hunger and fullness signs- eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re satisfied. Eat at regular intervals, typically three meals a day, with snacks to satisfy hunger. Enjoy your food!
Eat well: All five food groups should be incorporated into your meals each day: bread and grains, fruits, vegetables, milk and dairy, meat and alternatives. All of these can fit in one day, as long as you have balance, variety, and moderation.
Relax! Take time for yourself, to relax and relieve the stress in your life. Stress can lead to high blood pressure, chest pains, back pain, indigestion, headaches, insomnia, anxiety, depression, confusion, mood swings, irritability and anger. Take a daily 10-15 minute relaxation break, focusing on emptying your mind and body of the stress accumulated.
Respect and appreciate diversity: Remind yourself, and others, that beauty comes in all colors, sizes, and shapes. Promote healthy living for all sizes, and recognize that size prejudice hurts everyone. Respect others, and respect yourself.
Eating healthy can help speed recovery, leave you feeling better during and after treatment, and will help ease side effects of treatment. If you enjoy participating in Healthy Weight Week, see how you can continue for the rest of the year, or your entire life!
Healthy Weight Network