January: National Healthy Weight Awareness Month

January is National Healthy Weight Awareness Month – a time to make resolutions that lead to lifestyle changes for years to come, not just in the new year!

A healthy weight is important for a healthy pregnancy. More than half of women in Northeast Florida are obese or overweight when they become pregnant. These women are more likely to experience high blood pressure, preeclampsia, blood clotting and many more problems that cause an unhealthy pregnancy and birth outcome for the baby. The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development has identified a link between maternal obesity and neural tube and heart defects to their child.  Obesity has been identified as a contributing factor in more than half of the Fetal Infant Mortality Review cases in 2016-2017. 

Provided below are typical questions asked when taking the first steps towards healthy living with the facts provided from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Question: “To lose weight, do I have to give up my favorite comfort foods?”
Answer: No. A healthy lifestyle is about balance. You can eat your Snickers, pizza and steak, but you need to balance it out with more physical activity and healthier foods. Check food’s nutritional information to really know what you ate so you know what you need to burn off in the gym. If you are going to eat pizza for lunch that’s high in fat and calories, make your breakfast and dinner a healthier option to avoid over indulging for the day. Do not go for foods high in fat, calories and sugars and low in nutritional value for every meal and snack.

Question: “Should I go on a fad diet to lose weight fast? I’d really like to lose 20 pounds by the summer.”
Answer: No. Fad diets are costly and ineffective. The fast results that they could offer will fade over time if you do not stick to the strict regime, which is not what these diets are designed for. The most effective results come from working towards losing weight gradually at 1-2 pounds per week. So, don’t be upset if you’ve stopped eating ice cream and have spent 30 minutes on the treadmill every day for 2 weeks and you aren’t down 5 pounds yet – you are taking the right steps to lose weight. Stick to going to the gym for 60-90 minutes a few times per week and make healthier eating choices.

Question: “I’m okay with my weight even though I don’t have a lot of physical activity and I don’t make the healthiest eating choices. Do I really have to change?”
Answer: It’s good that you have maintained a healthy self-esteem, but have you really maintained a healthy lifestyle? No. By not getting any physical activity and fulfilling cravings, weight gain will sneak up on you. You may have even lost a lot of weight, but you can’t stop a healthy lifestyle because all the weight that you lost will eventually come back. Metabolism gets slower with age, and even though you feel great at 20, the same lifestyle may not make you feel the same at 30. Physical activity and a healthy eating plan are still important in keeping weight off.