Your health and wellness are unique to you. Several pillars of health, including nutrition, exercise, sleep quality and stress management, combined with your genetics, influence your weight and if and how it changes over time. Unlike other pillars of health, weight is not a behaviour that you can change directly. Instead, your weight may be affected by changing other behaviours, like how you eat or how much you sleep. These healthy lifestyle habits are shown to improve wellbeing and reduce your risk of chronic disease, whether or not your weight changes. Rather than focus on reaching an “ideal weight,” adopt the idea of finding your “best weight.” Your best weight is whatever weight you are while living the healthiest lifestyle that is fulfilling and enjoyable to you.
Ten strategies to help you feel great as you find your best weight:
- Find your “why” – Motivation for lifestyle changes comes and goes. The evidence shows you’re more likely to maintain habits if they are meaningful and somewhat enjoyable. Create a personal motivations list including why you chose the goal, and how it will support you in living your best life.
- Drink water – Water is your best bet for hydration. It helps all your body systems run smoothly, supports good energy and mood stability.
- Eat regularly through the day – Regular and predictable mealtimes give you the nourishment your body needs, and help regulate mood, sleep and desire for movement. Regular meals help to balance appetite and can help you eat a balanced and highly nutritious diet.
- Understand your eating habits, patterns and concerns – There is no one right or wrong way to eat, but some eating habits may not suit your lifestyle and health needs. Make note of when, where, how, what, and why you eat. Consider your speed of eating, eating in response to emotions and how present or distracted you are while eating. Understanding your habits can highlight if and where changes would most benefit you.
- Tune in to your hunger – Hunger is a useful sign that your body needs something. Hunger is a sign of low energy or nutrition but can also be a sign of emotional needs. Take time to slow down and check in with yourself.
- Be active – Include regular physical activity. While exercise alone may not result in weight loss, it is important for weight maintenance and overall health. Exercise can not only improve your energy and reduce health risks it can be a tool for managing stress and improving sleep, which both support a positive weight loss journey.
- Sleep well – Consistently missing sleep is associated with weight gain. Aim for between 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night.
- Quality over quantity – Whether talking about your exercise, calories or sleep, emphasizing quality supports your health and best weight better than focusing strictly on the numbers. A coach or health professional may be helpful in understanding what quality can look like for you. Our nutrition philosophy emphasizes minimally processed plant-based foods (including vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and their oils) along with moderate amounts of high-nutrient proteins like fish, lower-fat dairy products and poultry.
- Let go of the stress of eating and body size – Like any other stress, constant worry about your weight or eating contributes to overall worse health outcomes. Trust that you are caring for yourself by including habits that support the pillars of health.
- Engage support – Research shows that you are more likely to be successful when you share your goals with family or friends.