Successful Weight Loss in a Fast-paced, Fast Food Society

Unrecognizable man has healthy business lunch in modern office

Losing weight can feel like swimming upstream. You are forced to go against the norm in a society that has normalized unhealthy eating and abnormally sedentary lifestyles. Our modern conveniences coupled with the highly processed foods at our fingertips have contributed to a society with more than one in four Canadian adults having obesity. The obesity epidemic is one of the biggest health challenges facing Canadians today (Backgrounder Obesity Trends in Canada).

While getting more active and trimming down often top New Years’ resolution lists, fear of failure is high with good reason. Without proper guidance and supports in place, long-term success rates can be low.

Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, sums it up, “The world we have allowed to rise up around us makes unhealthy living the normal default behaviour. If you have to go out of your way to make healthful choices, then go figure the vast majority of us won’t.”  VIDEO: Dr. Yoni Freedhoff – We’ve normalized the abnormal.

Yet despite the societal and environmental factors against us, success is achievable. This is where support is key. The Wellness Institute can help, not only with dietary and fitness expertise, but also the behaviour management tools to strategize your way past the obstacles. All three areas are necessary for sustainable, healthy weight loss.

Here our top ten tips from Wellness Institute behaviour management experts to help you stick with the inconvenient choices and build a healthier lifestyle:

1. Surround yourself with positive people who support your goals. Having at least one buddy on your ‘team’ will help encourage you and keep you on track.

2. Focus on incremental changes and build on them. Your chances of sticking with it are much greater if you take baby steps than if you make drastic changes and give up all your old habits “cold turkey”.

3. Take a class or sign up for a program to find a network that supports your goals. At the Wellness Institute, you can choose your mix of one-on-one support and group programs developed with proven strategies.  Look for programs starting in January:

4. Create your own fast food system. Pre-pack individual sized healthy snacks in your fridge and pantry and bring them along whenever you are out and about. You’ll be less tempted to stop and buy junk food.

5. Make eating in easier. Buy a cookbook, Google quick recipes or work with a dietitian on a meal plan so you don’t need to rely on processed foods. It doesn’t have to be time-consuming to eat well.

6. Make a list of restaurants that provide low-fat, lower calorie choices, such as vegetarian menus for when eating out is necessary.

7. Beware of end caps and eye-level shelves at the grocery stores. These feature the most packaged, processed foods. Focus on the whole foods around the perimeter of the store and shop from a planned list.

8. Make unhealthy food inconvenient. Remove the highs: high-saturated fat, high sugar, and high-calorie foods from your home. If you have to give into a craving, buy single portions so there is not more to tempt you later.

9. Make exercise as convenient as possible. Have your workout clothes ready to go and have a backup plan for what you will do on busy days. 10-minute intervals of exercise can be effective

10. Be aware of how much you are sitting… at work, in the car and in front of a TV or computer. Prolonged inactivity not only means you are not burning calories, but it is bad for your health.