The start of a new year provides the opportunity for change and setting new goals. The most common resolutions made on January 1st are losing weight, eating better and committing to an exercise routine. This isn’t surprising considering most people tend to indulge during the latter part of the year. However, 2020 has been a challenging year. Since many of us were told to work from home preparing healthy lunches and visiting the local gym are out of the question, causing that number on the scale to steadily climb.

Multiple organizations such as Obesity Canada, the Canadian Medical Association and the World Health organization consider obesity to be a chronic disease[i].  A diagnosis of obesity takes into account your health history, calculated body mass index and waist circumference measurement. Being overweight is not just about the numbers though. The risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, and certain types of cancers increase in overweight individuals[ii]. So working towards that six pack shouldn’t be the reason why you may want to shed a few pounds in 2021. Managing your weight is important for your overall health. Achieving a healthy weight not only lowers the risk of developing other conditions but also improves mental well-being. In other words, managing your weight is simply one of the best ways to achieve overall health.  

Tips to help with weight loss:

  • Reducing caloric intake: adults should consume between 1,500 to 3,000 calories a day. This can vary depending on age, sex and activity level. If you are exercising or active on a daily basis you may need more calories than your couch potato buddy.
  • Cutting out processed and pre-package foods: cutting down caloric intake is usually not enough to maintain a healthy weight in the long run. Eliminating foods that are not freshly prepared, or come out of a box or foil bag (think chip bags), do not support healthy weight management. Sticking to real food, such as fruits and vegetables, legumes, meat, and whole grains provide essential nutrients that the human body requires for optimal functioning. Feeding your body what it really needs can not only help with weight loss goals but also support mood, energy and the immune system.
  • Forget fad diets and quick fixes: Weight loss programs that guarantee fast results, such as more than 10 lbs loss a week are just not sustainable. The human body simply cannot keep functioning with rapid weight loss. In most cases, these programs cause even more weight gain once the program is completed. Skip the crash diets and stick to a long-term sustainable program that teaches you about nutrition and eating real food instead.
  • Move your body: the human body was not designed to sit in front of a screen all day. Our limbs were meant to flex and extend. Muscles are intended to resist tension and expand against  increasing resistance. Commit to a daily walk or an at-home exercise routine that will leaving your body feeling useful.  
  • Be accountable to a buddy: staying healthy takes a lot of hard work, commitment and planning. Many people lose their motivation after about 6-8 weeks. It’s no surprise that gyms become less crowded by the last week of February and bad dietary habits start up again. So, in order to stay motivated with your weight management goals find a friend who you can be accountable to help you stay on track. Having your own cheer squad checking in with your daily food habits and asking if you did your 20 minute workout yet one of the best ways to help you accomplish your weight loss goals.

The year 2020 will certainly go down as a year filled with many challenges, loss and uncertainty. However, it has also taught us to adapt, be resilient and look forward to better days ahead. Kick off 2021 with a healthier version of you.

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