Every January thousands of people flock to the gym and vow to diet and lose weight. And, like everything else, there is a week dedicated to having a healthy weight. It is designed to celebrate healthy, diet-free living habits that will last a lifetime and prevent eating and weight problems. But, half-way through the month there is also a Ditch News Year’s Resolutions Day, so which one do you embrace?
Over the years, most of us will try dieting to lose weight or to help get our blood work numbers in order. Unfortunately, diets are usually only a temporary fix and have proven to do harm both mentally and physically. Many researchers have noticed that people who follow a standard Western diet, which includes highly processed foods and added sugars, have higher risks of developing anxiety and depression.
According to Medical News Today, “researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry at the King’s College in London in the United Kingdom investigated exactly how nutrition might affect mental health. They focused their research on the effects of diet on the hippocampus. The hippocampus is an area of the brain that generates new neurons in a process called neurogenesis. Research has linked neurogenesis in the hippocampus to a person’s mood and cognition.”
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 day or 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. Hide your scale for a while, don’t think of the numbers you would see, focus on loving yourself, loving your body, and changing the way you approach health habits.
Try some of the following activities to help celebrate your health, and if you are not already at a healthy weight, begin making changes in your life:
• Eat well and stop dieting – Incorporate all five food groups into your meals each day while eating at regular intervals. Don’t set a diet goal thinking that being “thin” is going to make you happy.
• Be active – do this by focusing on the pleasure you feel when you move along with the health benefits of being active. Start with five minutes a day. As that becomes easier, increase the time you move.
• Relax – Take a 10-15 minutes break to relax each day. Meditate, or at least take the time to clear your mind and let go of stress. Remember, this probably won’t happen the first time you try it but hang in there, it becomes easier and stress has been proven to lead to high blood pressure, chest pains, back pain, indigestion, headaches, insomnia, anxiety, depression, confusion, mood swings, irritability and anger.
Achieving a healthy weight is about giving yourself the tools to have a healthy lifestyle. Talk to your doctor about the steps necessary to help you begin your healthy weight journey. According to Dr. Gildardo Ceballos, Director of Family Physicians at OakBend Medical Center, “Your doctors are here to help you live your best possible life. This includes taking care of your health, weight and mental wellbeing. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or voice your concerns to your family practitioner, we are here to help you.”