What is a Healthy Body Weight and How Can You Achieve Yours?

A Healthy Body Weight

First things first. It is important to realize and respect that healthy bodies come in many different shapes and sizes. A healthy body weight is one that your body weighs when you are living a healthy lifestyle. This includes eating healthy, enjoying regular physical activity, sleeping well and enjoying positive mental health. A healthy body weight for one person, is likely going to be different than that of your friends and family and that is okay!

What Contributes to Weight?

It is important to understand that weight is an outcome, not a behaviour that can be modified. Also, body weight is not necessarily an indicator of health as there are so many factors can influence body weight such as eating habits, cooking skills, access to food, physical activity, genetics, sleep, our environment, mental health, age and medications. Some of these factors are out of our control and cannot be changed. Some such as eating behaviours, physical activity and getting adequate amounts of sleep are modifiable health behaviours which may or may not impact body weight, but definitely will improve health.

Practice Mindful Eating

Try paying attention to what you’re eating, how much you’re eating and why you’re eating. This includes listening to your hunger and satiety cues – eating when you are hungry and stopping when you feel full.

Here are some quick tips to practice mindful eating:

  • Ask yourself why you are eating. Are you truly hungry or are you just eating because you are bored, distracted, stressed or because the food is sitting in front of you.
  • Limit distractions. This involves shutting off the TV and putting down the cell phone. Try eating with family or friends at a table and really connecting with each other. This also provides much needed social time.
  • Eat regular meals. Eating regularly prevents you from overeating at a later meal.
  • Slow down. When you eat slower, it allows your body time to send signals to your brain that you are satisfied. This prevents you for overeating and feeling stuffed.

Follow The 80/20 Rule

It is important to realize that it is unrealistic to think anyone can eat perfectly 100% of the time. The 80/20 rule provides a perfect opportunity to make sure you are providing your body with important nutrients while still providing a place for your favourite foods. Try to make healthier food choices 80% of the time. The other 20% of the time, enjoy your favourite less healthy choices, without guilt.

Move More!

Physical activity has many health benefits, including a decreased risk for heart disease and diabetes, and decreased level of stress.

Canada’s Physical Activity Guidelines recommend adults enjoy at least 150 minutes of aerobic physical activity weekly (at a moderate to vigorous level), which can be achieved by accumulating sessions of 10 minutes or longer throughout the week. Adding strength activity to your routine can also be beneficial. This does not mean that you have to join a gym. Choose activities that you enjoy whether this is cycling, walking or something else entirely. This will increase the chances of sustainability.

Get Adequate Amounts of Sleep

Did you know adults require anywhere from 6 to 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night? Making sure that you get adequate sleep can have a positive impact of health. A regular bedtime routine including the elimination of screen time can have a major positive impact on the quality of sleep you receive.

Celebrate Your Achievements

Whether or not positive lifestyle changes have an impact on your weight, they do have a positive impact on your health. This is something that should be celebrated. Be proud of what you have accomplished!

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