Weight Loss and Rocket Science

'Weight loss isn't rocket science. It's more complicated than that.'

Well, actually weight loss isn't complicated. Human behavior, however, may give rocket scientists a run for their money. Anytime a weight loss program, pill or device claims to be revolutionary we suggest steering clear. However, here is a revolutionary idea I think we could all live with. Most of us have worried for years about attaining our "ideal" body weight and shape. Height and weight tables are everywhere. Far from "ideal" these height and weight tables are often inaccurate and suggest that "one size fits all". A great deal of research now indicates that even modest amounts of weight loss (as little as 5% of body weight) results in a wealth of health benefits. Chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type II diabetes, mood disorders and many other medical problems are improved if not reversed with even modest weight loss. In short, these research findings change everything with respect to weight loss and our 'ideal' body weight and shape.

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So what is the best exercise to lose weight? What is the best diet to choose? In short, the one you enjoy because it is the one you will stick with. Walking more often and eating a balanced diet according to Canada's Food guide is a great place to start. By doing these two things, most can attain a healthier weight, increase energy levels, improve self-esteem and reduce the risk of health complications. So set your first goal to be a modest amount of weight loss and let this be your first step to a healthier lifestyle and improved quality of life.

No two people are alike when it comes to weight loss, therefore we need to become our own health experts. What causes one person to over eat may cause another to not eat at all. Take stress for example. Does pressure at work cause you to eat more or does it decrease your appetite? In order to find out, monitor your behavior, actions, moods and feelings frequently. If you find yourself overeating, write down the time, location, your mood, when you ate last, and who you are with. Keep this diary and be a detective to determine what triggers the over eating behavior. This will allow you to avoid, moderate or stop these behaviors all together. In general, people tend to over eat when they are "HALT". Add your own unique behaviors to the following list.

Hungry - Skip a meal? Skip breakfast? Beware of 'rebound eating' when you are really hungry.

Angry - Determine the emotions that cause you to over eat and find a substitute to your eating behavior.

Lonely - Do you eat when you are bored or home alone? Call a friend or write a letter.

Tired - Not getting enough sleep and trying to find energy with food? This may lead to craving junk food and drinking excess amounts of coffee.

Keep in mind that changing your habits takes practice. Do not expect to master these skills over night. Keeping a diary of your behaviors and a list of short term goals is a great way to make positive lifestyle change. Focus on the positive choices you've made as well the habits you would like to change. This will create confidence in your ability to make permanent lifestyle change. Remember, you've achieved a lot already, now let's add healthy habits to your list of accomplishments.

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