Those who maintain a healthy weight have a common set of habits that we are going to share with you in our 3 part blog. If you wish to reach and maintain a healthy weight and improve your overall health then be sure to read all three parts that will be posted over several weeks.
1. Weekly meal planning
Being organised is absolutely key to maintaining a healthy diet and desired weight. Leaving meal decisions and food purchasing to the last minute often results in poor choices such as takeaway and processed/convenient foods that can lead to weight gain. Meal planning is as simple as taking 10 minutes each week to write down meals and snacks required for the week ahead. Prioritise this task in your schedule by allocating a regular day and time. Turn your meal plan into a shopping list by grouping similar foods i.e. fruit and vegetables, meat, dairy, dry goods etc., so it is easy to find your items while shopping. Make sure you have a full stomach before heading to the shops, to avoid any hunger temptations and only purchase items on your list. If you struggle to stick to the list, find out if your local supermarket offers online shopping and delivery. That way you can order your items online without being tempted to buy other items you see in the aisles. Planning meals and snacks ahead will save you time, stress and enable consistent healthy eating habits which ultimately achieves desired weight.
2. Are flexible with their diets
Those who keep and maintain their desired weight do not hold hard and fast rules about what they can and cannot eat. To say that food is simply fuel for the body, would be an understatement. Food can play a larger emotional role in our lives such as sharing a bottle of champagne to celebrate an occasion or cake on someone’s birthday. Rather than categorising food as good or bad, those who maintain their desired weight label food as “every day” or “sometimes” food. A healthy mind is just as important as a healthy body and banning certain foods from our diet can lead to poor emotional wellbeing, anxiety and eating disorders. The trick is to acknowledge which foods are “every day” or “sometimes” and plan a diet each week based on the “every day” foods with flexibility for “sometimes” food if you feel like it, at the appropriate occasion.
3. Exercise regularly
Maintaining a healthy, comfortable weight is now more challenging than ever due to our modern sedentary lives. Technology such as computers, cars and television to name a few, have resulted in a society that spends most of the day sitting, moving less and ultimately gaining unhealthy excess weight. It wasn’t all that long ago we had to do most tasks manually such as washing our clothes or walking from place to place. Those who maintain their desired weight participate in regular physical activity multiple times per week and also make a conscious effort to increase incidental activity where possible. This could include taking stairs instead of lifts and walking to shops, cafes or public transport rather than driving. Being physically active not only allows maintenance of a healthy weight, it increases energy, boosts mood, reduces stress and improves sleep. It can even help improve depression and anxiety! The key is to pick any kind of movement you enjoy and do it often.
4. Are not starving
We all know how it feels when the time between meals is too long and we get to that STARVING point. Usually by this time, a healthy choice such as salad or fruit is no longer appetising and cravings for carbohydrate rich foods such as bread, pasta or rice are uncontrollable. People who maintain a healthy, comfortable weight plan to consume regular nutritious meals and snacks throughout the day to ensure they do not feel starving at any point. Not only does this assist making healthier food choices, but also encourages appropriate portion sizes and slow mindful eating, which are key drivers for maintaining a healthy weight. If you regularly get hungry between main meal times, it is a great habit to ensure a healthy snack is available to tide you over until the next meal time.
5. Do not blame others for their setbacks
Life is full of everyday challenges that impact our schedule, priorities and time management and it can be hard at times to maintain a consistent routine. These challenges can cause setbacks on maintaining healthy habits and are particularly problematic when trying to start a new habit. A key trait in those that maintain their desired weight is an attitude that “others” are not responsible for any setbacks they experience, rather, they reflect on why the habit will not stick and problem solve strategies to resolve it. For example, if you are finding it difficult to start a regular exercise routine due to the many work, family or social commitments often clashing with your regular time, consider changing the time of day the exercise is performed, so that you are less likely to be interrupted. Prioritising healthy habits is key to maintaining a healthy weight and may require enlisting friends and family to join you, making it easier to stay accountable and on track.
Written by Lisa Stegena, Nutritonist and Christie Austin-Hore, APD, for Diabetes Council USA
Nutrition Force is a Western Australian based company of Nutritionists and Accredited Practising Dietitians that offer weight loss programs, private dietetic consultations, children’s nutrition & dietetics, school nutrition and Corporate Wellness programs. If you would like more information on our Perth Dietitians and the other services we offer call us today on (08) 9385 7755.