For your long-term health
1. Learn where to find healthful foods and incorporate them into your diet.
2. Get knowledge from health coach, dietician or other reputable resource so you understand food labels and packaging claims.
3. Drink more water, if you’re dehydrated it slows your metabolism.
4. Make exercise a priority.
5. Examine yourself and be on guard when you make choices out of habit so you make good eating choices.
Sources: Laura Zelenak and Dr. Annie Wetter
Trends from National Weight Control Registry:
78 percent eat breakfast every day.
75 percent weigh themselves at least once a week.
62 percent watch less than 10 hours of TV per week.
90 percent exercise, on average, about one hour per day.
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People who are overweight might have the impression that they cannot be healthy until they lose all the weight and more and more, research is pointing to the benefits of healthy actions, despite weight.
Annie Wetter is chair of the Health Promotion and Human Development at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and stresses the importance of health outcomes over measuring weight loss alone. Wetter advocates a health promotion approach called Health at Every Size (HAES), developed by researchers at the University of California, Davis. It puts less emphasis on losing weight and more emphasis on healthy living.
“New research is trying to test changes in lifestyle and their impact on health even if weight doesn’t change,” Wetter said.
If people are motivated to improve diet and eat according to valid recommendations, Wetter said, generally most will lose some weight.
People who strive to eat “healthfuly” tend to gain health benefits, such as better sleep and emotional wellness, she said.
Exercise and eating a balanced diet both contribute in different ways to helping people manage their weight, yet everyone is wired differently, Wetter said.
“Some will have an easier time focused on diet than exercise, she said.
Nutrition and wellness coach Laura Zelenak works with clients at Adventure 212 in Stevens Point. She said many people come to her stressed out and really unsure about the amounts of foods they should include in their diets.
“I’m seeing misinformation, faulty beliefs around eating,” Zelenak said. She said too often people are eating too much of one healthy thing instead of a variety of good options. Or they totally avoid something and fight against a feeling of being deprived.
Problem solve the tendency to overeat. For example, Zelenak said make snack-size bags of tortilla chips out of a large bag and stop when you finish the small portion.
“Start with the behaviors and the weight will follow,” she said. “My big push with people is it’s a lifestyle, get comfortable with your new changes and make them work.”
Adventure 212 offers personal and group educational sessions on ways to make healthful eating a long-term way of life.
Success is not perfection, but the most successful weight losers are consistent.
The National Weight Control Registry has tracked more than 10,000 people who have lost significant amounts of weight and kept it off for long periods of time, most in the registry have maintained their weight for more than five years. Most people ate less and exercised more. Ninety-eight percent of registry participants report that they modified their food intake in some way to lose weight. Ninety-four percent increased their physical activity, mainly by walking.
Wetter said a healthy lifestyle is a conscious choice but even for health experts, she reminds, it’s not the easy choice all the time. Time and other barriers to being physically active need to be managed.
“Everyone needs to figure out for themselves what is going to work for them, it can be different for each person,” Wetter said. Your spouse might enjoy a morning jog but you might be most inspired to exercise after a long stressful day to blow off steam.
“We want people to feel empowered and choose options that are right for them,” Wetter said.