Posted by: Patricia Hysong | March 15, 2012

Health vs. Weight: ABCs Part 1

Previously, we’ve discussed how and why we should focus on being healthy instead of what the number on the scale says to us. Today, in the first of three posts on the ABCs of health, we’ll talk more about HOW to focus on health instead of weight.

A: Actions and behaviors: What a health-focused approach to well-being seeks to change as opposed to a weight-focused approach, which emphasizes trying to achieve a specific body size, shape, or weight.

B: Body image: How we feel about our body can strongly influence our eating and physical activity habits—positively or negatively.

C: Communities: Where we live, work, and play helps shape lifestyles by providing (or not providing) healthy options. These options include opportunities for safe and fun physical activities where people show respect for body-size diversity.

D: Dieting: A big problem, not a solution. For most people, dieting increases the risk of weight gain, and for many others, it increases the risk of developing an eating disorder.

E: Eating disorders: Psychiatric illnesses, such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia, that many females and a growing number of males develop in response to trying to achieve an unrealistic body size, shape, or weight.

F: Fullness: We need to listen to our body’s signals that tell us, “It’s time to stop eating!” Learning to eat slowly increases awareness of being satisfied. For example, if we still feel hungry after finishing a first serving of food, waiting just 10 or 15 minutes before having a second serving can allow us to feel our fullness and not take a second helping. On the other hand, if we still feel hungry and decide to take a second helping, that’s fine, too. What’s important is we pay attention to our body and its internal signals, act in line with those signals, and feel comfortable with (not guilty about) our actions.

G: Guilt: An emotion that works against developing and maintaining healthy attitudes and behaviors related to food, physical activity, and body image.

 This information is provided courtesy of the Wyoming AgrAbility Project. For more information, visit our website or call toll-free at 866-395-4986.

This information is adapted from The ABCs of Health-Focused Well-Being, and can be found in its entirety here.

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