5 Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Weight in 2015
By Suzanne Farmer, Psychologist (Cand. Reg.)
Do you make a New Year’s resolution to lose weight every year? For many of us, losing weight can be difficult, but maintaining a healthy weight is even more of a challenge. Consider these 5 things to help maintain your healthy weight goals in 2015:
1. Losing weight requires changing multiple behaviors. It’s not as simple as eating less and moving more. Consuming fewer calories and making more healthful food choices may include finding time for meal preparation, packing a lunch instead of going for convenience food, measuring and weighing food, and tracking what you eat. Mobility and pain issues, weather, cost, convenience, and time can influence adding exercise into your routine.
2. We eat for reasons other than nutrition. Food and eating have strong social, cultural, and psychological influences. Family and cultural traditions around food often have lasting impacts on how we view rewards, celebrations, and other events. Many people also eat in response to emotions, or to help soothe emotions such as boredom, sadness, or anger. Developing more adaptive ways to cope with emotions can be key to long-term success.
3. Support from others. Building appropriate supports for a healthy lifestyle is important. This may include a neighbor who you walk with regularly, a friend with whom you share healthy recipes, or a partner who listens to your concerns and fears. Identifying what type of support you need and people who can fulfill these roles can ensure that your needs are met.
4. Changes in motivation. Numbers on a scale or having your size reflect a cultural standard of beauty rarely serve to motivate people in maintaining weight loss. More meaningful changes such as being able to play with children more easily, having more energy, and decreasing medications associated with obesity related diseases could have a greater impact long term.
5. The impact of negative self-talk. It’s easy to see physical changes when we lose weight, but what about changes in the way we think? If you think that a cookie represents failure, and you tend to soothe negative emotions with food, then one slip can send you down a path of returning to poor eating habits. If you think that a cookie is a small misstep amongst many positive behaviors, it may be easier to return to new, healthier habits. Paying attention to what you tell yourself about various situations and behaviors can be helpful in identifying unhelpful thoughts that may hinder long-term weight maintenance.