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Balancing Act

Balancing Act Archives
August, 2006: Family Snack Smarts
July, 2006: Cooperative Co-parenting
June, 2006: Street Proofing Teens 101
May, 2006: Harmony is in season: Harmony is in season: Warm Weather Activities To Bring The Family Together
April, 2006: Caregiving: Sensible Steps To Success
March, 2006: Healthy Eating In A Fast Food World
February, 2006: Stress Busters to Stay Lighthearted
January, 2006: Brain Gain in Life's Later Years
December, 2005: Holiday Budget Planning
November, 2005: Combating Childhood Obesity
October, 2005: Eating Away at Colds and Flu
September, 2005: Avoiding the Aches of Osteoarthritis
August, 2005: Growing Older, Eating Wiser
July, 2005: Nutrition Tips for the Healthiest Summer Ever
June, 2005: Long-Term Care Facilities/Nursing Homes - How Do I Choose the Right One?
May, 2005: Nutrition and Your Baby: Introducing solid food to the menu
April, 2005: When Baby Comes Home For The First Time
March, 2005: Stepping into the Role of Stepparent
February, 2005: Pumping Fitness into Your Day
* January, 2005: Remedies for Financial Holiday Hangovers
* December, 2004: Time Out: Making the most of the holidays
* November, 2004: An Ounce of Prevention: Type 2 Diabetes
* October, 2004: Dealing with Peer Pressure
* September, 2004: Long Distance Caregiving
* August, 2004: The ‘Be-tween’ Transition, 2004
* July, 2004: Easing into summer vacation
* June, 2004: A family-friendly balance for working fathers
* May, 2004: Communication Tips to Help Young Minds Grow
* April, 2004: Tips for Making the Tax Season Less Taxing
* March, 2004: The Dieting Merry-Go-Round
* February, 2004: Keeping Your Financial Future in Check
* January, 2004: Here Comes the Flu
* December, 2003: Communicating with your Teen
* November, 2003: Eating for Energy
* October, 2003: Work-life Balance: Making it Work for You
* September, 2003: The Homework Zone
* August, 2003: Health Hints to Ease Your Family in to the Fall Season
* July, 2003: Stay Alert and Stay Safe - Streetproofing your kids
* June, 2003: Summer Activities for Stay-at-Home Kids
* May, 2003: Helping Older Relatives Stay Active
* April, 2003: Spring-cleaning: For the home, the family, and you
* March, 2003: Choosing a Summer Camp
* February, 2003: Baby couch potatoes: Tearing your kids away from the TV
* January, 2003: Resolution Solutions
* December, 2002: Holiday Stress Blasters
* November, 2002: Beating the Winter Blues
* October, 2002: Making the most of family mealtimes
* September, 2002: Generation Relations
* August 2002: Vacation Relaxation
* July 2002: Swimming Safety
* May 2002: Stuck in the Middle. The Sandwich Generation
* April, 2002: Supporting Your Child's Social Success
* March, 2002: After the Spring Break ... Take a Break For Yourself
* February, 2002: Keep those loving connections alive
* January, 2002: Ringing in a Balanced New Year
* December, 2001: Holiday Safety Tips
* November, 2001: It's Flu Season
* October, 2001: Halloween Safety Tips
* September, 2001: Back to school

The Balancing Act. Work/Life Tips Printer Friendly Version

The Dieting Merry-Go-Round

Frustrated about your weight? Confused by the twists and turns of following fad diets like ‘The Zone,’ ‘Eating for Your Type,’ or the ‘Atkins Revolution?’ The reality is, there are literally hundreds of ‘too-good-to-be-true’ diets that boast a quick fix for weight loss. Unfortunately most of them omit certain food groups or require extreme restrictions to your food intake.

To achieve and maintain a healthy weight, you have to follow an eating plan you can live with—for a lifetime. That means no severe restrictions, no extreme hunger and no fads. Here are a few tips that could help you stop and get off the dieting merry-go-round.

Change your perspective. Realize that weight management isn’t a short-term goal but a ‘life-term’ goal. By doing this you can better commit to the idea of ‘balance’ and ‘change’ in how and what you eat. Begin by slowly adopting new eating habits as part of a routine that you can live with. For example, bring a healthy lunch to work three days per week or indulge yourself with low-fat desserts or drink water instead of soft drinks when you’re thirsty.

Be realistic. The average adult gains one to three pounds per year. One pound of fat equals 3,500 calories. So what makes you think you can take it all off in just a few weeks? Slow and steady is best unless your doctor feels your health condition could benefit from more rapid weight loss. Expect to lose about a pound or two a week. Weight loss at this rate is comprised mostly of fat (not fluid) and has a much better chance of staying off.

Spot the fad diets. Fad diets come and go—and so does your weight. Before starting on any diet program, make sure that:

  • the diet is based on more than a single study;
  • dramatic statements about results, are not refuted by reputable health organizations;
  • the program is not associated with a product sell;
  • the plan does not ignore the uniqueness of individuals; and
  • all major food groups are built into the plan’s daily food consumption.

For more information visit Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating at:

Make every meal count. Bypassing meals—especially breakfast—to save calories is a bad idea since you’re likely to over-compensate (binge) at other times during the day. Besides, you can actually lose weight by eating breakfast. Studies show that people who eat breakfast tend to carry less weight than those who do not. Why? Because a healthy breakfast keeps blood sugar and hormone levels stable while the metabolism buzzes along at a higher level, burning more calories. (Tip: If you don’t particularly enjoy breakfast remember breakfast doesn’t necessarily have to be a ‘traditional’ breakfast food).

Resist emotional eating. Emotional eating is consuming large quantities of comfort or junk food to try to heal an emotional situation. Not only does this lead to weight management problems, it can also prevent us from dealing with, or resolving the situation that is driving us to eat. You can help by recognizing that this type of eating is in response to ‘feelings’ instead of hunger, and by identifying your ‘eating triggers.’ Keep a diary of what and when you eat and identify your thoughts and feelings. You may begin to see a pattern of emotional eating. Then talk to a doctor, nutritionist and/or counsellor to help you learn how to substitute food with more appropriate management techniques. The alternatives could keep you happier both physically and emotionally.

Be a strategy-safe dieter. In your dieting plan include flexible food choices, weight goals set by a health professional, the recommended daily allowances for vitamins and minerals and a long-term approach to weight maintenance. Plans should also improve overall eating habits, increase physical activity, and modify lifestyle habits that may contribute to weight gain. Consult with your doctor if you plan to lose more than 15 to 20 pounds, have any health problems, or take any medication on a regular basis.

Get moving! Daily exercise burns calories and suppresses the appetite. It also improves your sense of wellbeing and decreases stress (which often leads to overeating). Determine what type of physical activity best suits your lifestyle by considering if you enjoy the outdoors or prefer indoor activities. Also take into account social aspects such as your preference for time alone to think and reflect or participating in activities with others?

If you’re not used to physical activity, start at an easy pace and work your way up to more intense exercise. Start with a brisk walk, a short jog or moderate swimming. It’s recommended to gradually work towards 30 to 60 minutes of daily activity. Also try to incorporate some simple calorie-burners into your everyday routine.

Choose a plan for YOU. A weight loss plan has to be practical. Picture yourself sticking to the plan for the rest of your life. If you can't see yourself on a certain plan longer than a few days or weeks, then chances are it's not for you. Move on. Everyone is different and you need to listen to your own unique needs. Learn which plans work for you: which ones make you feel energetic; which ones make you feel tired; which ones put you on a merry-go-round of cravings; and which ones don't. Finding the right way to lose and maintain weight shouldn’t be a quest of trial and error, tribulations and defeat, but a journey of self-discovery. It’s a personal way of life.

Need more help staying healthy during the summer? Your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can help. You can receive support through a variety of resources, including your EAP’s nutrition service. Call your EAP to see if you are eligible at 1.800.387.4765 for service in English, 1.800.361.5676 for service in French.

This newsletter is meant for informational purposes only and may not necessarily represent the views of individual organizations.

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© 2005 WarrenShepell