Celebrate Healthy Weight Week
Let’s face it. Even if you are counting calories because you have a lot of weight to lose, at some point, as you get closer to your maintenance weight, you have to wing it and learn to eat like an intuitive eater. Healthy Weight Week is about eating like you are not “on a diet.” January 16 – 22, 2011 is the 18th Annual Healthy Weight Week founded by Frances Berg, RD. As her website says, “It’s a time to celebrate healthy living habits that last a lifetime and prevent eating and weight problems, rather than intensifying them, as diets do. “ The premise is to create a lifestyle that promotes a healthy weight by using techniques that prevent eating and weight problems.
What if I’m overweight?
Some may see this “holiday week” as detrimental to their new weight loss goals. But the Weight-control Information Network, supported by the National Institute of Health, recently published an article which suggests that the key to weight loss is adopting healthy lifestyle habits that you can continue for a lifetime. On the heels of the intense goals set as New Year’s resolutions, Healthy Weight Week may be right on time. As soon as 20 days after the New Year, many dieters are struggling to maintain the same level of motivation they had on the 1st. So, while it’s not a vacation from your weight loss journey, try using Healthy Weight Week to refresh your senses and take on your New Year’s goals with a renewed outlook.
Who is Frances Berg?
The founder of Healthy Weight Week is not some off shoot personality who wants you to ignore obvious health problems. On the contrary, Frances M. Berg, MS, is a registered dietitian, family wellness therapist, and adjunct professor at the University Of North Dakota School Of Medicine. Author of 12 books, Frances touts 16 years as the founder, editor and publisher of Healthy Weight Journal. Her mission is to use the extensive research under her belt to shine a light on the inherent issues some have with weight maintenance. She seeks to end the cycle of yo-yo dieting.
To celebrate Healthy Weight Week, Frances Berg has issued a personal challenge that includes ten healthy living habits. The challenge calls participants to choose two or three activities from the list to carry through the week, at a comfortable level. The aim is to continue the initial activities and gradually adding others as the year goes on. The list in its entirety is below:
- Stop dieting. Stop making weight loss goals and “waiting to be thin.” Stop weight-obsessive thoughts. Instead, be your own best self, starting right now. Decide it’s time to get on with living your life to the fullest.
- Be active in your own way every day. Focus on the pleasure of movement and its health and energy benefits, not only on calories burned. Don’t overdo it, or it won’t become a habit. (If you’re not regularly active now, start with 5 minutes a day for the first month, then gradually increase time.) For most adults, an appropriate level is about 30 minutes a day for at least five days a week. Avoid long periods of inactivity.
- Identify and build on your own special talents, traits and interests. Use self-talk and affirmations to enhance personal acceptance, respect, self-esteem and positive body image. Feel good about yourself.
- Feel good about others. Expect and extend respect, tolerance and acceptance.
- Promote good relationships and communication with family, friends and acquaintances. Spend time enjoying social activities.
- Rediscover normal eating – eat at regular times, typically three meals and snacks to satisfy hunger. Tune in to your body’s internal signals of hunger and fullness – eat when you’re hungry and stop when full and satisfied. Enjoy your food. Notice how much better you feel!
- Eat well. Include all five food groups every day: bread and grains, fruits, vegetables, milk and dairy, meat and alternates. Choose balance, variety and moderation. All foods can fit.
- Relax and relieve stress in your life. Take time for a daily 10-15 minute relaxation session. Or just empty your mind and let your body go limp for 30-second relaxation breaks occasionally throughout the day. Stress can lead to high blood pressure, chest pain, back pain, indigestion, headaches, insomnia, anxiety, depression, confusion, mood swings, irritability and anger. Listen to your body. Be flexible, relax and go with the flow.
- Respect and appreciate size diversity. Reassure yourself and others that beauty, health, and strength come in all sizes. Promote healthy living at every size. Recognize that size prejudice hurts us all.
- You may choose to make a personal contract and give yourself a reward at the end of each week. If you’ve set your challenges too high, you’ll know it: cut back before they become burdensome. Make healthy living changes gradually, one baby step at a time, small changes you can live with for the long term.
Calorie Count’s Challenge
For one day, try to eat intuitively, guided by your feelings of hunger and fullness. Write down what you eat but log it at the end of the day to see how close or far away you are from your calorie and nutrient requirements. BTW, this is the best way to transition into maintenance. Happy Healthy Weight Week!
Which of the 10 healthy living habits will you try? Do you eat intuitively?