Rewards that come with reaching a healthy weight
While your Habits of Health journey can technically start with any Habit of Health, most people start with the intention of reaching a healthy weight, which means introducing Habits of Healthy Eating and easing into Habits of Healthy Motion. As far as goals go, weight loss is a great place to start, but don’t overlook the full range of rewards that come with reaching a healthy weight.
Habits of Healthy Weight Management aren’t just about how you look. Thriving at a healthy weight has far-reaching benefits. If you recognize them and keep them top of mind, you might find it easier to plan ahead for moments where making the healthy choice might be difficult—like at a family gathering or on a work trip—or to help you spend more time practicing Stop. Challenge. Choose. to overcome temptations or emotional eating challenges.
If you’ve read Dr. A’s Habits of Health, you already know that obesity and even pre-obesity are directly linked to a shortened lifespan. Living at a state other than your healthy weight immediately puts you at an increased risk for diabetes, certain types of cancers, cardiovascular disease, and a number of other diseases and health complications.
Since my first book was published almost 10 years ago, the medical community has learned more about this link, and the consensus that reaching a healthy weight and continuing to eat healthy might be one the most important health decisions you can make hasn’t changed.
New lessons from research
Here are some of the new things we’ve learned from recent research:
- Poor eating choices could be responsible for “almost half” of cardiovascular disease deaths, or approximately 415,000. Research presented at an American Heart Association conference suggested that poor dietary choices like not eating enough vegetables and consuming too much salt were largely to blame.
- Healthy eating choices could be a more effective long term solution than statins for cholesterol management. Research has found that the Mediterranean diet (which is lose to the system recommended in Dr. A’s Habits of Health) could prevent a significant percentage of cardiovascular complications, like heart attacks. While statins have a greater impact in the short term, eating healthier produces more health benefits than taking statins, and as you might recall from a previous writing of mine, relying on statins for cholesterol management can actually make your Habits of Disease worse.
- Excess consumption of sodium is still bad for you, and the problem is getting worse among people with high blood pressure. According to the American College of Cardiology, people with high blood pressure are actually consuming more sodium than ever before despite recommendations to lower their sodium intake.
From a Habits of Health perspective, the challenges at play here could potentially be numerous—from the difficulty of making healthy eating choices to an over-reliance on blood pressure medication—but the lesson should be clear: Your eating choices matter in a big way.
For longtime followers of the Habits of Health System, none of this research is especially surprising. We’ve known for years how much you stand to gain from eating healthy foods and just how complex our established eating habits can be, which is why many people fall into the yo-yo pattern of dieting only to regain weight later.
If you are already working on your Habits of Healthy Eating, re-read a few chapters of Dr. A’s Habits of Health to refresh yourself on how to manage and reprogram your Habits of Health, and don’t be afraid to use meal replacements and talks with your health coach to make your habits more consistent.
If you have not started your Habits of Health journey, consider starting with a health coach and a meal-replacement-based plan (like the one offered by Take Shape For Life) to simplify the early stages of healthy eating and to build a foundation for long term success.
The rewards are too great to ignore!