|New Year’s resolution: steady your weight|
New Year’s resolution: steady your weight
By Alyssa Rolnick, RD, MHSc.
It’s the new year, and a common topic of conversation is weight gained over the holidays. Wouldn’t it be great if we could maintain a healthy weight the whole year through? You can get a jump on your goal by adopting at least one – or more – new healthy eating habit for the next 12 months.
The key to eating healthy is to repeat an activity enough times so that it becomes a habit. Research shows that after approximately 2 to 4 weeks, you can make a healthy habit stick. However, depending on the difficulty of the task, it may take longer. Be persistent and commit to incorporating one of these heart-healthy ideas every day.
Eat one more vegetable or fruit a day Did you know that 56% of Canadians age 12+ consume fewer than five servings of vegetables and fruit per day? If you need a little improvement in this area, try upping your total. The bonus? Vegetables and fruit help to fill you up and keep you full longer, which can help you maintain a healthy weight. In the winter, soups are a great way to get more vegetables in your diet. Try Anne Lindsay’s curried apple and zucchini soup recipe. (See more soup recipes.)
Swap one salty food A diet high in salt can not only affect your blood pressure, but it can also be associated with weight gain. Foods high in salt tend to be higher in fat and calories because most of them are processed. Eating salty foods can make you thirsty, which means you may be drinking more high-calorie beverages such as soda pop or alcohol. Control your salt intake by making more home-cooked meals. Look for lower-salt varieties of packaged and processed food items. Avoid adding salt to your foods at the table and while cooking. Use more spices and herbs to flavour your food. If you tend to reach for salty pretzels, swap them for our savoury roasted chick peas instead.
Cut down on one fatty food Foods high in fat tend to be high in calories. For example, a fast-food hamburger with cheese comes in at a hefty 530 calories and 28 grams of fat. Fatty foods, especially those made with saturated and trans fat, can increase your risk of heart disease. Avoid consuming foods that are battered and deep fried. Look for packaged foods that contain zero trans fats. By preparing more quick and easy home-cooked meals, you will be able to control the amount of fat you consume and make sure they are the good types of fats too such as olive or canola oil and other mono and polyunsaturated fats. Instead of fried chicken, enjoy Anne Lindsay’s breast of chicken and spinach with tarragon mushroom sauce recipe.
Choose one new way to manage your emotional eating Riding a roller coaster of emotions can influence how much and what types of foods you choose to eat. Rather than digging into a tub of ice cream when you’re upset, try another way to cope. Take a meditation or yoga class. Try writing in a journal or talking to a friend. Choose to be physically active on a regular basis to manage your stress levels. A simple walk in the fresh air can clear your mind, too. Any one of these strategies can help keep your waistline in check.
Assess your weight by learning about the Body Mass Index (BMI).
Need some help with your weight? Sign up for the Heart&Stroke Healthy Weights Action Plan.
Posted: January 2011