By Mina Goodman, Registered Dietitian
The name Healthy Weight Week can be somewhat misleading. What most people think of with “healthy weight” might be getting on the scale, setting a new weight goal, or starting a 2021 crash diet. This week is more so about finding your healthy weight which can be determined by making small and personalized diet and lifestyle changes. Although Body Mass Index (BMI) and weight changes might give us an idea of health, it is only one piece of the puzzle to a healthy life. That’s why it is important to recognize other factors that affect weight, health, and happiness.
Instead of counting calories or restricting how much you eat, try these to help achieve to a healthy weight:
- Accept your body shape and size.
Each body is not the same shape and size, which may be important when setting expectations for realistic weight loss goals. It’s difficult to judge a book by its cover when it comes to health because it is assumed that people at higher weights are sicker or live shorter lives. Research has shown that people in overweight and obesity class I BMIs may have improved longevity compared with normal weight, underweight, and obesity class II or greater BMIs.
- Find movement you enjoy.
Exercise doesn’t have to be training for a marathon. Taking a walk with friends, family, or a good playlist is a good option. Experiment with online work out videos, swimming, biking, roller skating/blading, yoga, tai chi, gardening or other home projects, and whatever other activity you can think of. No matter your weight, physical activity is important to do on most days.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables.
Fruits and vegetables are full of fiber, water, vitamins, minerals, and energy for our body to use. Eating more whole and plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds can reduce risk of chronic diseases and help to maintain or lose weight.
- Try to stress less.
If our bodies are in a constant state of stress, it can be difficult to maintain weight. Here at NOAH, we have behavioral health services like counseling and psychiatry to help manage stress, anxiety, and depression that may be affecting how difficult is to lose weight.
- Sleep quality matters.
Sleep is another factor affecting weight and health. Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per day and that should be quality sleep not altered by drugs or alcohol. Having a nighttime routine can help improve the quality of sleep. This can include turning off screens a few hours before bed or having a hot cup of herbal tea at the end of the night – you can make the routine your own or look online for other common routine tips and ideas.
- Drink enough water.
Most adults need at least half a gallon of water daily, which is 64 fl oz. Others may need up to a gallon per day. The body cannot work as well without being properly hydrated so look for ways to increase your fluid intake through herbal/sugar free teas, naturally flavored seltzers, or herb/fruit infused waters. If plain water works for you, try carrying a water bottle wherever you go, setting reminders on your watch or phone, or leaving bottles/glasses in places you usually sit or by your bed to start drinking first thing in the morning.
Remember, being healthy isn’t necessarily about what the scale says. Many people can be healthy, or at least healthier, by making a few of these intention changes in their daily lives. If you want additional assistance, guidance, and support to living healthier, contact NOAH about our Nutrition Services.