We find time to do what is important to us. When there is a lot of stress in your life, health goals typically get pushed to the side. If you work at a busy job, take your kids to activities and have many family commitments, you may not take time to do what you need to manage your weight. That does not mean you do not care about your health or yourself. It just means it is not your top priority.
If you can link managing your weight with your life goals, you are on your way to making a change. Perhaps you see your children as your top priority. Think about how making lifestyle changes can align with what is important to you. Your goals could be: ‘I want to be healthy so that I can be a good role model for my kids,’ or ‘I want to be active so I can keep up with my kids.’ Setting goals this way may make it easier to justify fitting lifestyle changes into an already busy day.
Much has been written about the importance of bedtime routines and adequate sleep for children. Adults need at least seven to nine hours of sleep per night. The latest research on weight management shows that adequate sleep helps manage weight. Sleep does more than help us feel rested and boost mood. It also affects hormones that influence appetite, blood glucose and stress levels. People who sleep less have more body fat.
Following are some tips to developing a healthy sleep pattern.
Getting enough sleep helps you to become more resilient. If you have a stressful day, you will deal with it better if you have slept the recommended amount.
Most of us cannot remember everything we ate today, let alone yesterday. Why should you know what you have eaten? People who record what they eat tend to eat less. Many people underestimate how much they eat – health care providers included!
Recording what you eat does not have to be complicated. Buy a small spiral notebook and carry it with you in your purse or pocket. Every time you eat or drink, note the time as well as what and how much you had. You might also take photos with your smartphone, or just take notes and enter them on your phone. The idea is not to be hard on yourself, but rather to look at how small, realistic changes can improve your eating habits.
When you review your record, you may start to see eating patterns. When it comes to managing your weight, the biggest impact will come from reducing how much you eat. For instance, you may note that you snack quite a bit in the afternoon and evening. Perhaps eating a breakfast that includes protein (like an egg, Greek yogurt or cottage cheese) would make you feel less hungry later on.
Canadian adults do not eat enough vegetables. By recording what you eat, you can find out if you are getting what you need. Eating foods with a higher percentage of water and more fibre can help manage weight. Not only are vegetables full of vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants, they can help you to feel fuller and increase your overall water intake. Including vegetables may also make you eat more slowly, so you feel fuller with fewer calories.
One way to start eating more vegetables is to check that they are in each meal. Try to include a vegetable with breakfast, lunch and supper. Toss a handful of spinach in a breakfast smoothie, add lettuce and tomatoes to your sandwich at lunch, and fill half of your dinner plate with raw or cooked vegetables. Once that habit is set, aim to have a snack of raw vegetables like cauliflower, celery, snap peas or carrots at least once a day.
Eating with others is not necessarily a distraction. Enjoying food with family or friends is an important mealtime ritual. However, eating in front of a television or computer screen or while walking or driving takes the focus away from the food. This can make us eat more than we intended.
Slow down and take time to focus on your food. Eating slowly aids digestion. It will help you to recall what you ate when you record it in your journal. It may become easier to recognize when you are eating because of stress or for reasons other than hunger. With that insight, you can start to come up with solutions. Call a friend instead of snacking, or take a few minutes to read a few pages of a magazine or review some positive quotes to put you in a better mood.
If you are carrying extra weight, take a moment to think about the benefits that managing your weight can bring to your life. If you are ready, try one or a few of these tips. Changing your lifestyle can help create a healthier you!