Weighty Transitions

The Toronto Star published an article "Most Adults in Ontario overweight". It talks about that insidious a-pound-a-year weight gain that we don’t notice until we try to button up our favourite jeans and have to suck in our gut to do so and no amount of sucking in will help. Ten or twenty pounds later and it is much more of a challenge to take the weight off. The article notes that even though we maintain the same lifestyle, eat the same foods and do the same amount of exercise or activity, our aging metabolism slows down with every mid-life year.  Yikes!  So there it is - the thickening waist, bigger belly and widening hips.

And now with colder weather and winter heading our way, many of us will put on those few extra winter pounds consuming delicious warming, comforting carbs and calories.

According to the World Health Organization, adult obesity is a global issue and it notes these facts about obesity and overweight adults:

  • Globally, there are more than 1 billion overweight adults, at least 300 million of them obese.
  • Obesity and overweight pose a major risk for chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and stroke, and certain forms of cancer.
  • The key causes are increased consumption of energy-dense foods high in saturated fats and sugars, and reduced physical activity.

Here are some strategies for creating new habits for your health and well-being:

16 Changes You Can Make for A Healthier Transition (Life, Seasonal or Other)

1.       Use a journal or notebook to TRACK your emotional eating.  According to Dr. Joey Shulman, “It is impossible to eat mindfully and unconsciously at the same time”.  Determine how many days you want to track yourself – a week, 2 weeks, a month. It’s up to you.  Write down what you plan to eat, what you actually eat, your moods, your thoughts, your energy level, etc. This is a great tool for making self-observations and you may notice various things: a certain time of day when you tend to eat more, to crave sugar, have low energy or need an energy boost, when you feel lonely/bored/down, and other observations about yourself and your relationship with food.

2.       FAIL, yes that’s right, fail and fail with gusto.  Success comes from learning from our failures.  Making mistakes and learning from them is the road to success.

3.       PLAN for a healthy lifestyle – plan your grocery list, plan your meals, plan your exercise schedule and create a schedule for these POSITIVE RITUALS in your life that will lessen the likelihood for impulsive temptations.

4.       Book ACTIVITY DATES with yourself, your partner, your children, and/or friend(s).

5.       Create your DREAM TEAM of allies and “encouragers”. Surround yourself with people who will support your journey and dream.  Join or start a virtual or in-person “wellness” group to motivate and support each other.

6.       Plan ways to MOTIVATE yourself – consider hiring a personal trainer, nutritionist, and/or life coach to offer support, encouragement and tools to get you started.

7.       NOTICE your internal and external saboteurs – we all have gremlins who don’t want us to change and prefer that we stay as we are.  They exist inside of us and sometimes we have people in our lives who count on us to join them for saturated-fat nights or sweet-tooth-fairy indulgences.

8.       VISUALIZE, MEDITATE or VISION the health you want for yourself.  Visioning your most healthy self is a powerful tool to inspire you onwards.

9.       Explore ways to MANAGE STRESS that work best for you and schedule them into your calendar.  Playing hockey (I am Canadian!), taking photos on your walks, playing with your kids or pet, listening to music, getting a massage,...

10.    Take it one day at a time and plan what you will do for yourself and your health TODAY. Maybe it’s drinking 2 extra glasses of water, eating colourful fruits & veggies, or turning the TV off tonight and doing something fun, creative, active or playful!

11.    Have options for activities/exercise programs that you can do AT HOME –   yoga, pilates, online websites, high intensity interval training, stretching routine,  situps,  pushups, or dancing like no one is watching!

13.  Have a clothing wardrobe for walkingin every type of weather. Not sure who came up with this fabulous quote “There’s no bad weather, only bad clothing” just that they had a great “GREMLIN-BUSTING" STRATEGY! Bust your gremlins and plan to walk after dinner. Invite someone to join you or invest in a walkman/mp3/ipod if you prefer to groove alone on your walk.

14.  See this autumn and winter as an opportune time to grow your knowledge about your body and your health. .  LEARN something new – about your nutrition needs, about your anatomy or what type of exercise will help you fulfill your health goals, etc. “Knowledge is power”.

15.  ACKNOWLEDGE your wins and your accomplishments. This includes what you did do and what you did not do too – like eat that 4th slice of pizza or bag of chips.

16.  Plan to have PLEASURE today and everyday.  One of the losses we experience after summer is over is having fewer sensual pleasures and so we rely on high-caloric foods to supplement our pleasure needs.  Instead, explore ways to fulfill your pleasure quotient in ways that feed your soul instead of your stomach.

Best wishes for healthy transitions all year round!