Welcome to Healthy Weight Week! It seems that the beginning of each year is filled with a renewed commitment to eat healthy, exercise and for many people, lose weight. Well if any of those are personal goals, then this week is for you! Healthy Weight Week is an initiative that started to bring awareness to issues surrounding weight, celebrate healthy lifestyles and prevent eating disorders by focusing on eating and moving mindfully and not continuing the cycle of fad diets and ineffective weight loss programs. During this week, and every week, you are encouraged to live actively, eat well and feel good about yourself!
There is a myriad of reasons why people struggle with weight from simply regular overindulging to medical problems. If you find that you are suddenly gaining or losing weight at an unusual pace, it is always a good idea to start by talking with your doctor and expressing your concerns. Your medical professional can help you identify any underlying issues or make a plan to meet your optimal nutrition needs. Once the doctor has weighed in (no pun intended), then you can take steps to reach whatever goals you have set for yourself.
If you are like so many other people whose weight has gone up and down, it can be a frustrating cycle. Weight cycling, better known as yo-yo dieting, is that familiar pattern of achieving a weight loss goal only to then become less mindful causing your weight to increase again and repeating the whole thing. The weight loss industry, to the tune of $59 billion a year, plays a huge factor in this pattern with a seemingly endless supply of supplements, books, packaged foods and more to promote weight loss. In fact, it is estimated that nearly 54 percent of the US population is trying to lose weight at any given moment. But many times, our motivation to get started on a program doesn’t last and the yo-yoing begins. Not only is this frustrating, it is bad for you. “Repeated crash dieting increases metabolic hormones, such as insulin, and elevates levels of sex hormones, including estrogen,” says Andrea Pennington, MD, author of The Pennington Plan for Weight Success. “These changes cause you to start putting on weight around your middle, which research has linked to insulin resistance, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.”
This pattern can affect your psyche as well as your waistline as well, making you feel less confident and frustrated with constant dieting. So during Healthy Weight Week, take a look at your goals, reevaluate your process and see what works best for your needs. Here are some tips to get you started:
- Soothe your stressors without food or alcohol. Meditate. Go for a walk. Read a book or listen to music instead when you are feeling anxious or stressed.
- Adjust your goals. Think about long-term achievements rather than short term goals. You still have to live in your body after that class reunion or beach vacation.
- Share your meals. No, we don’t mean with the person sitting across the table from you. Post them to your social media. Networks like TweetWhatYouEat.com let you join virtual support groups.
- Find a success story… then share yours! Nothing keeps us quite as motivated as the gratification of success… and a pat on the back never hurt either!