Why you MUST eat healthy this week

If you haven’t been eating healthy since the week began you must try to catch up. Why? Because it’s Healthy Weight Week (HWW), is why.

The annual HWW is marked between Jan 16-22 and is intended to celebrate healthy living habits to last a lifetime that prevent weight problems (unlike most diets).

“The premise is to create a lifestyle that promotes a healthy weight by using techniques that prevent eating and weight problems… Our bodies cannot be shaped at will. But we can all be accepting, healthy and happy at our natural weights,” says AON.

The key to successful, healthy weight loss
•Your weight is a balancing act, but the equation is simple: If you eat more calories than you burn then you gain weight. If you eat fewer calories than you burn, you lose weight.
•Since 3,500 calories equals about 1 pound of fat, if you cut 500 calories from your typical diet each day, you’ll lose approximately 1 pound a week (500 calories x 7 days = 3,500 calories). Simple, right? So why is weight loss so hard?
•All too often, we make weight loss much more difficult than it needs to be with extreme diets that leave us cranky and starving; unhealthy lifestyle choices that undermine our dieting efforts, and emotional eating habits that stop us before we get started. But there’s a better way! You can lose weight without feeling miserable.
•By making smart choices every day, you can develop new eating habits and preferences that will leave you feeling satisfied—as well as winning the battle of the bulge.

Not all body fat is the same
Where you carry your fat matters. The health risks are greater if you tend to carry your weight around your abdomen, as opposed to your hips and thighs. A lot of belly fat is stored deep below the skin surrounding the abdominal organs and liver, and is closely linked to insulin resistance and diabetes.

Getting started with healthy weight loss
While there is no “one size fits all” solution to permanent healthy weight loss, the following guidelines are a great place to start.

#1: Avoid common pitfalls
•Diets, especially fad diets or “quick-fix” pills and plans, often set you up for failure because:
–You feel deprived. Diets that cut out entire groups of food are simply impractical, not to mention unhealthy and create nutritional imbalances.
–You lose weight, but can’t keep it off. Diets might work in the short term but don’t have a plan for maintaining your weight and the pounds quickly come back.
–After your diet, you seem to put on weight more quickly
–You break your diet and feel too discouraged to try again
–You lose money faster than you lose weight
–You feel isolated and unable to enjoy social situations revolving around food
–The person on the commercial lost 20kg in 2 months—and you haven’t

#2: Put a stop to emotional eating
We turn to food for comfort and stress relief. When this happens, we frequently pack on pounds. Do you only eat when you are hungry, or do you reach for a snack while watching TV? Do you eat when you’re stressed or bored? When you’re lonely? Or do you eat to reward yourself? Here are some strategies to combat emotional eating.
•If you turn to food at the end of a long day, find other soothing ways to reward yourself and de-stress. Relax with a book and a steaming cup of herbal tea, soak in a hot bath, or savor a beautiful view.
•If you eat when you’re feeling low on energy, find other mid-afternoon pick-me-ups. Try walking around the block, listening to energizing music, or doing some quick stretches or jumping jacks.
•If you eat when you’re lonely or bored, reach out to others instead of reaching for the refrigerator.
•If you eat when you’re stressed, find healthier ways to calm yourself. Try exercise, yoga, meditation, or breathing exercises.

#3: Tune in when you eat
•We live in a fast-paced world where eating has become mindless. We eat on the run, at our desk while we’re working, and in front of the TV screen. The result is that we consume much more than we need, often without realizing it or truly enjoying what we’re eating. So:
–Pay attention while you’re eating
–Avoid distractions while eating
–Chew your food thoroughly
–Try mixing things up
–Stop eating before you are full

#4: Fill up with fruit, veggies, and fiber
Fiber is the secret to feeling satisfied while losing weight. These are mostly contained in whole grains

#5: Indulge without overindulging
•Try not to think of certain foods as “off limits.”
–Combine your treat with other healthy foods.
–Schedule your treats.
–Make your indulgence less indulgent
–Engage all your senses—not just your taste sense.

#6: Take charge of your food environment
•Start the day with breakfast.
•Serve yourself smaller portions
•Plan your meals and snacks ahead of time.
•Cook your own meals.
•Don’t shop for groceries when you’re hungry.
•Limit the amount of tempting foods you have at home. Out of sight, out of mind.

#7: Make healthy lifestyle changes
•In addition to your food and eating-related choices, you can also support your weight loss and dieting efforts by making healthy lifestyle choices.
•Get plenty of sleep.
•Turn off the TV
•Get plenty of exercise
•Drink more water

For more details, contact the Aon Kenya Wellness manager, Joseph Mwagi on joseph_mwagi@aon.co.ke.

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