Pathways to Wellness

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Weighing in on weight

Many people try popular or fad diets to achieve a healthier weight.   This approach often works – people often lose weight in the short-term, but then gain it back in the longer term.  They may decide that they are weak-willed or a hopeless cause.  Nothing is further from the truth. 
 
These diets lead to weight loss because they eliminate or severely restrict whole categories of food  – food that we like to eat and that can be part of a healthy diet.   A healthy diet consists of a range of foods in healthy portions, and the 5 C’s – candy, crackers, cookies, chocolate and chips occasionally.

If you have an unhealthy weight, it’s a good idea to take steps towards a more healthy weight.  Even small steps towards a healthier weight can have a positive effect on blood pressure and cholesterol levels. 

Achieving a healthier weight requires lifestyle changes that you can live with over time.    This includes changes to what you eat and how much, but it also involves changes to how active you are, how much time you spend in front of a screen or computer, how many hours of sleep you get, and how you manage stress.   Each of these factors has been shown to influence weight.

We know what works when it comes to making lasting lifestyle changes, and we can use the science of behaviour change to our advantage.  

The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada has a free on-line interactive Healthy Weight Action Plan based on strategies that have been shown to be effective:  becoming more aware of eating patterns and habits; setting goals; making a weekly plan; and tracking progress.   It’s a 12 week program – one lesson per week and a weekly email.    If you want to take steps towards achieving a healthier weight and are looking for an alternative to fad diets, this might be just the thing for you.