Breakthrough Patient Recruitment

: Finding Your Healthy Weight: Why it Doesn’t Have to be a Mystery

Finding Your Healthy Weight: Why it Doesn’t Have to be a Mystery

Jr. Quality Coordinator

What does it mean to be at a healthy weight? It's a question so many of us ponder, especially at this time of year. That's why the Healthy Weight Network created Healthy Weight Week, which occurs between January 19 and 25 this year. During this week, people celebrate ways to have a healthier life by implementing good eating and exercise habits. According to the Healthy Weight Network, this week "is a time to celebrate healthy, diet-free living habits that last a lifetime and prevent eating and weight problems."  

Most people, at some point, have been concerned about losing weight. The problem comes when you decide to try to lose weight fast and go on a "diet." Then, a week later you've gained your weight back and wonder why. Maybe you went on a fad diet.

Healthy Weight Week is all about reaching a healthy body weight, in a healthy, sustainable way. One way to determine your healthy weight is to calculate your BMI. But keep in mind that although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as other medical organizations, consider BMI " a reasonable indicator of body fat, it doesn't recommend it as a diagnostic tool." Use it as a first step, but remember that waist circumference can also be a good guide.

As health communicators, it's important to think about what this actually means. A healthy weight calls for a healthy mindset; this means it also calls for self-compassion, not self-criticism. In addition, a healthy weight:

  • Is part of a healthy lifestyle and not a quick fix for a lifelong goal
  • Is not defined by what's shown in the media
  • Will help you be more active and healthier overall

So, you may ask yourself, which is the healthiest way to lose weight? I am not a doctor or nutritionist, but I'd like to suggest something radical like not going on a diet. Check out this video from neuroscientist Sandra Aamodt who explains why dieting often fails to work.

Here are some tips that I recommend and am implementing on my own journey to reach a healthier weight:

  • Listen to your body. Your body will tell you when it's hungry and when it's full. Use these cues intelligently to better satisfy your nutrition needs. 
  • Be active.  Look at exercise as a way to achieve a healthier you instead of as a punishment.
  • Do not fall into emotional eating. High levels of stress about losing weight end up sending many of us to food to cope, simply because food is such a great source of pleasure.
  • Set short-term and long-term goals. Setting smaller, short term goals is a great way to establish milestones on your way to better health.

Above all, remember that better health is a journey. There is no secret, dieting is not the key, and anyone can make a few changes in an effort to be healthier. As it just so happens, a healthy weight is a great place to start.

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The Healthy(ist) blog is a platform to share, learn about, and debate topics related to public and social health, scientific research, health communications, and behavior change.
We invite and encourage anyone interested in current public health and health communication trends and issues to join MMG's contributing bloggers in adding their voice to the ongoing discussion about how we can advance health, together.

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