HEALTH AT EVERY SIZE
Health at Every Size - these are the buzz words around the internet these days. Are you healthy? Do you want to be healthier?
What is health? The World Health Organization defined health in its broader sense in 1946 as "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity". Being healthier doesn't mean losing weight. To you it might mean:
- eating better (such as reducing processed foods)
- exercising/moving more
- stopping smoking
- working on that depression
We are very happy to announce that we have a Registered Dietician on staff who will be writing our Health At Every Size series as well as answering a reader's question each month. You can read about Shari's philosophy and experience on our staff page. If you have a question for Shari, please email us at email@example.com.
Disclaimer: This advice is not intended to be a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical, health or nutritional advice.
Shape healthier habits by focusing on what matters to you
'Why is it SOOO hard for you to make sensible food choices?' aunt Sarah asked Uncle Joe in a very annoyed tone. We were at the restaurant and my uncle had just told his wife what he would be ordering. My aunt was very health conscious but my uncle, well, he was just the opposite. And he isn't to blame. After all; the odds are definitely stacked against us. I mean, most of us lead a stressful life with increasing job and family demands, financial issues and so on. And when you throw in a toxic food environment, it's no wonder many of us find it difficult to stick to a healthy diet and exercise regime. But this doesn't mean you're doomed to fail - keep reading to know more.
Want to stick to a specific habit? Focus on intrinsic motivation.
Intrinsic motivation implies feeling an incentive to engage in a specific behavior because doing so provides you with personal satisfaction. Instead of focusing on obtaining external rewards or steering clear of unpleasant consequences, intrinsic motivation is about doing behavior 'X' as this allows you to do something of value to you.
In one study, researchers investigated the dietary habits of adults with heart disease. As all of the participants had experienced a major cardiac complication, their motivation to eat a healthy diet was assumed to be high. However, the scientists found that the participants who reported that their motivation stemmed from intrinsic factors were more likely to keep eating healthy a year later.
What this means for you?
If you're interested in changing your eating and lifestyle habits in the short-term, setting objectives, following guidelines, or emphasizing on staving off disease can do the trick.
However, if you're fed up with the yo-yo changes and want to change your lifestyle for good, you could try to do the following:
- Think about how living a healthy lifestyle would bring additional meaning to your life.
- Will living healthily empower you?
- What would living healthily allow you to do that holds something of value to you?
If you find it hard to answer these questions, use the 'and then what?' tactic. For instance, let's say you've decided to exercise more to feel more confident about yourself. Great... and then what? I mean, how would feeling more confident help you? What will you be able to do now with this confidence boost that you weren't able to do or didn't feel like doing before? Will that help you engage in more social activities? Will you initiate intimacy with your partner? Will you be able to tell your boss that you need a few days off to spend some quality time with your kids? These are the types of intrinsically motivating things that can add a personal touch to your exercise habits.
By focusing on stuffs that really matter to you now instead of waiting to be healthier, you would make it easier and more rewarding for you to live a healthier lifestyle.
Submitted by: Shari