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Skinny vs. healthy

Ask yourself this: Why do you want to lose weight? If the answer is to be skinny or some other version of that, then you’re only setting yourself up to fail. Self-confidence is not a number on the scale, and your weight does not define your beauty. So change your outlook on exercise and eating right for a happier, healthier you.

Woman checking pulse after workout

Start thinking like your physician

A physician uses your weight, your body mass index (BMI) and your waist circumference as markers for health. Being overweight puts a person at risk for certain health conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease. If a physician advises you to lose weight, it is strictly from a medical and health standpoint. Don’t take it personally! If your doctor told you that you had a thyroid condition, would you take it as an attack on your self-worth?

Think of it as gaining health instead of losing weight

  • Women with kids: Try to involve your little ones as much as possible. Run with them in the stroller; register for baby-and-me exercise classes; or sign up for a sports team like soccer, and get your significant other to bring them to your games.
  • Women in their 40s and 50s: You might notice that fat is more likely to land on your belly. This puts you at an increased risk for heart disease. Exercise, especially high-intensity physical activity, can temporarily increase your metabolic rate, helping you burn more calories even after you have finished sweating.
  • First Nations women, South Asian women and African women are at a higher risk for developing diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease than the general Canadian population. Speak with your physician about screening, even if you are at a healthy weight.

First, consult with your physician to assure you don’t have any restrictions in terms of physical activity or diet. Discuss your plan with your doctor so you can get him or her on board. Ask if they would recommend that you see a dietician. Talk to your family as well, because you all will need to eat healthily together. The more “players” you have on your team, the easier your weight loss will be. Instead of setting a goal weight, set a goal health. Is your blood pressure a little high? Aim to lower it. Feeling tired all the time? Aim to increase your energy. Always wanted to run a marathon? Pick a reasonable race date. If numbers on the scale seem to only discourage you, there is an easy solution: Don’t weigh yourself! Ask your physician to follow you along on your journey by scheduling regular visits. They can weigh you (you don’t have to look), measure your waist and do the occasional blood work to check for other markers of health.

Get active

Aim for moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes, five to six times a week. Find that amount of time daunting? Start off slowly: First aim for two days a week, then three, then four and so on. What’s that you say? No time? What you are actually saying when you say you have no time is that you are not worth the time. Start making yourself a priority today.

Can’t make it to the gym? Try these interactive ways to exercise from home >>

Stop dieting

Oftentimes diets are not sustainable and can lead to binge eating. Eat more fruits and vegetables, smaller portions of carbohydrates and less fat. It’s simple mathematics: Calories in minus calories out equals calories stored. To lose weight, you need to have a deficit of calories. Don’t completely deprive yourself, or you will not last; the occasional dessert (in small portions) is OK. Consult with your dietician for more practical advice on eating right.

Lose weight the right way and for the right reasons, and you’re guaranteed to feel better inside and out.

Note: All medical information is directed at a Canadian audience. Speak with your physician first before following through with any advice.

More tips on weight loss

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5 Weight-loss mistakes you might be making
Late-night eating: How bad is it?

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