January 16 through 22, 2011, is Healthy Weight Week. With all the sins of holidays past morphing into New Year’s resolutions, you may be looking to make a fresh start on the scale. But is your goal realistic?
The goal of Healthy Weight Week, which was created by an organization (Healthy Weight Network) affiliated with the University of North Dakota School of Medicine, is to celebrate diet-free living habits in order to prevent eating and weight problems. It also encourages acceptance of our natural weight.
Is that to say that you should stop trying to lose weight if doing so will improve your health? Of course not. However, it’s a way to educate people who are looking to lose weight to know when enough is enough and prevent disordered eating, crash dieting, starvation, and other dangerous habits.
Today, in fact, is Rid the World of Fad Diets & Gimmicks Day. The Healthy Weight Network’s web site points out several weight loss products as recipients of their “Slim Chance” awards. It’s not an honor—these are noted as the worst weight loss products and promotions of the past year. These are products you may see advertised on television or in magazines, often with a “quick fix” and “dramatic results” approach. Among them are Ultimate Cleanse, HCG supplements, the marketers of Jillian Michaels’ “fat burner” supplements, and the LipoLaser. Even a quick browse through the list will leave you with the nagging thought that they’re all “too good to be true,” and that’s exactly the point.
There’s no substitute for good old-fashioned exercise and proper nutrition. That does not have to translate to “dieting.” Rather, the most successful results are achieved when we retrain ourselves to change poor eating habits into better lifestyle choices. The fine print on the HCG supplements, for example, advocates pairing them with a 500 calorie a day diet. That’s not a typo—it’s 500 calories, or about one meal a day. And if you’re visual, picture two McDonald’s hamburgers, plain. That’s 500 calories, too. You shouldn’t need a professional to tell you that there is no way that can be healthy. And even if it were do-able, you’d gain back all your weight, and probably more, as soon as you went back to a normal routine.
And if you are a parent, especially to a daughter, remember that your children will be influenced by what they see you doing more than what they hear you say. The National Eating Disorders Association estimates that nearly 50 percent of teen girls will develop “a significant eating disturbance” at some point in their adolescence. So think carefully about the messages you are sending them. It’s no good to tell them to eat their vegetables if all they see you consume is a diet shake. Plan meals with your kids and incorporate their suggestions in your menus. If they like macaroni and cheese (and what kid doesn’t?), try making it with whole wheat pasta, skim milk and reduced fat cheese. And add vegetables. By making just a few changes, you will all benefit from healthier habits without feeling like you’re always “on a diet.”
So what’s a healthy weight? Expert opinions vary; however, it is generally accepted that your body mass index (BMI) should be between 18.5 and 24.9. BMI is based on height and weight, and although it is a good guideline for the general public, it can be inaccurate for athletes who have a lot of muscle mass. Here’s a link to a BMI calculator. You can read more about BMI in this article.
Talk it up:
How do you feel about your weight?
Do you feel you set realistic goals?
To receive all of the Boise Healthy Living Examiner’s articles, click on subscribe or the RSS feed button. Each week, you’ll get informative articles on Need to Know, and Good for You Food of the Week, plus seasonal features like Healthier Holiday, Broncos Challenge, and more.