Celebrate National Healthy Weight Week (January 20 to 26) by dropping the diet and picking up a few healthy habits instead. People who diet the first week of January binge the second and are ready for better living by the third week. Healthy Weight Week is this week. This is a week to promote healthy lifestyle habits that last a lifetime and prevent weight and eating problems.
The American Dietician Association uses this week to promote positive weight loss changes such as the ones below:
- Start the day with breakfast. Breakfast eaters are more likely to be a healthy weight and less likely to re-gain lost weight. Include a source of protein (such as an egg or baked beans) and a low glycogenic index (GI) choice (like wholegrain toast or low-fat yoghurt). Protein-rich foods and lower GI carbohydrates provide important nutrients and also help keep you fuller for longer.
- Choose low calorie, high nutrient foods. Wholegrain breads and cereals, fruit and vegetables, lean meat, fish, eggs, legumes, nuts, and lower fat dairy foods fit the bill.
- Rediscover home cooking. By learning to cook at home using healthy ingredients you’ll boost your nutrient intake. And studies have shown that cooking stir-fries, roasts and casseroles including protein foods like beef and lamb means you’ll put more vegetables onto the plate as well. You only need 15 minutes to make a tasty, healthy meal.
- Eat fruit and vegetables. Build up to the recommended five serves of vegetables (around three cups) and two serves of fruit every day. Fill half your dinner plate with vegetables(which is easy when you cook at home) and eat fruit as a snack.
- Be portion aware. Over the past 30 years, the amount of food on our plates has increased –as have our waistlines. Shrinking portion sizes at every meal is a sure-fire way to lower calories.
- Enjoy treats – in moderation. Many young women report sugary treats and take-aways as a weakness, making it more difficult to eat well. You don’t have to cut out any food, as long as you moderate your intake. Everyone’s different – so cutting back to a square or two of chocolate a day or a take-away once a week may be a step in the right direction for you.
- Choose healthier drinks. Water is the best choice – so have a glass, bottle or jug of water close by at all times. Too much alcohol can lead to excess kilojoules and poorer food choices, both of which contribute to weight gain. If drinking, try a wine spritzer (wine diluted with plain mineral water) or a light beer, or ask for a smaller glass when drinking.
- Write down everything you eat and drink. This will help you become more aware of what you’re eating and drinking, and where any problem areas are. Research suggests this is one of the best ways to change your eating habits and lose weight.
- Be a mindful eater. Pay attention to hunger levels and how much you’re eating. Turn the television off and instead concentrate on the taste of food, as well as how full you feel.
Recruit a support team. Everyone needs support to maintain healthy habits. Find at least one person (friend, family member, work colleague, or health professional – such as an Accredited Practicing Dietitian) who will support and cheer you on.