Reach for your best (R4YB): Tips for adults
What is a healthy weight?
Healthy people come in different shapes and sizes. Strive for your best weight instead of aiming for an “ideal” body weight. A healthy weight for you is the weight your body is naturally when you regularly enjoy a healthy lifestyle, which includes eating well, moving well, sleeping well and feeling well1. Remember, weight is only one measure of health. A healthy weight is different for everyone.
What does “Reach for your best” mean?
Small changes can make a big impact. Reach for your best is about trying your best to make small, realistic changes to your habits and surroundings to help you to:
- eat well
- move well
- sleep well
- feel well
This will help you build a healthy lifestyle, be a positive role-model, and create environments where the healthy choice is the easiest choice.
How to Reach for your best (R4YB)
Eat meals and snacks at regular times during the day. Eating with family or friends, and involving those you eat with in the meal planning process can help you eat well.
When you eat mindfully, you listen to your body and respect your feelings of hunger and fullness. Eat foods that you enjoy and in amounts that satisfy you. Give yourself time to eat and enjoy your food. This also means making meal time media-free and turning off all electronic devices. Eating should be enjoyable. To learn more about how to become positive, comfortable and flexible with eating, check out The Joy of Eating: Being a Competent Eater (Ellyn Satter Institute).
Choose nutritious foods every day
Eating well also includes choosing nutritious foods every day. Include vegetables and fruit at every meal with at least 2 other food groups from Canada’s Food Guide (Health Canada). Satisfy your thirst with tap water and unflavoured milk to support good health. Limit sugary drinks like pop, flavoured milk, and 100% fruit juice, and highly processed foods such as prepared and packaged convenience meals and snacks.
Learn more about eating well.
Being active every day supports overall health and well-being. The national recommendations for physical activity (Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology) are 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per week. You can achieve the 150 minutes by doing short 10 minute activities, too.
Physical activity doesn’t mean only sports, it can include everyday things like walking or biking to work, to school, or the store. Choosing an activity that you like or involving friends and family can help motivate and encourage you.
Choose energetic activities
The amount and type of physical activity you need depends on your age, ability and of course your interests. Slowly adding daily activities that you enjoy, make you sweat, breathe harder, and involve the large muscle groups can help you become and stay active. Try a brisk walk, a weekend hike, cross-country skiing, a dance class, or swimming.
Limit sedentary time
Even if you meet the national recommendations for physical activity (Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology), sitting for long periods of time, known as sedentary time, can negatively affect your health. You accumulate sedentary time by watching television, working at a computer, and driving a motor vehicle. Break up the time you spend sitting by standing and moving during television commercials, walking with colleagues on a break, or walking or biking to work.
Learn more about moving well and about ways to be active in the Manitoulin and Sudbury districts, and the City of Greater Sudbury.
Get enough quality sleep
How much sleep (National Sleep Foundation) you need is affected by your age, your health and your lifestyle. Adults 18 to 64 years of age typically need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep. Adults 65 years and older generally need a little less, between 7 to 8 hours. Factors, such as stress, being physically active too close to bedtime, drinking caffeine, and certain medical conditions, can affect your ability to sleep well. If you feel tired or sleepy during the day and don’t feel satisfied with your sleep, you’re likely not getting enough good quality sleep. Talk to a health care provider if you’re concerned about the quality of your sleep or are experiencing symptoms that are keeping you from sleeping well.
Practise good sleep hygiene
An area that is dark, quiet, comfortable, and cool promotes good sleep. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Create a regular, relaxing bedtime routine, usually starting one hour before bed.
If you work irregular hours, do your best to:
- Avoid frequent rotating shifts, if possible.
- Schedule days off in between shifts, if possible.
- Limit caffeine to the beginning of your shift. Drinking it later in your shift can make it more difficult to sleep at bedtime.
- Ensure that your workplace is brightly lit to promote alertness.
- Avoid bright light on the way home from work if you work nightshift. Wear dark, wraparound sunglasses and a large hat to shield yourself from the sun.
Reduce screen use before sleep
Bedrooms should only be used for sleep and intimacy. Keep activities that “steal” sleep, such as watching T.V., working, and using electronic devices out of the bedroom. Consider shutting down electronics at least one hour before bed. Light from these devices keeps the brain alert and can disrupt sleep. Remember to turn off your phone or notifications during the night to avoid late night or early morning disruptions in your sleep.
Build healthy connections
Good relationships, whether with family members, friends, or other supporters, are important for mental health. Make time to be with important people in your life by simply having fun and enjoying each other’s company, and make time for serious conversations too.
Try getting involved in or volunteering for things that matter to you. This can help you connect with others who share similar interests or values.
Connect with yourself! Set aside quiet, quality time to be with yourself. Try a breathing exercise: count your breaths from one to four, and then start at one again. Or, do something you love, like dancing, going to a baseball game, building a bird house or going for a hike.
Foster positive self-esteem
It is not only about having a healthy body, but also having a healthy attitude and accepting who you are. Value your abilities, efforts, goals, accomplishments, talents, and character. Spend some time finding out what makes you happy, sad, joyful, or angry, and learn positive ways to deal with your moods. For example, share joyful news with a friend and find support when you feel sad. Remember that problems and stress are a normal part of life. Physical activity can help you deal with your emotions. Learn more about skills such as problem-solving and setting healthy boundaries to help you deal with stress (The Psychology Foundation of Canada) in a healthy way.
Lots of things affect our weight, including our genetics, our environment, the economy, society, and our personal behaviours. Comments, teasing, and bullying about weight are harmful and do not motivate us to take care of ourselves. Be compassionate towards yourself and others! Choose to talk about yourself with respect and appreciation. Speak to yourself kindly and don’t engage in self-bullying or negative self-talk.
Be critical of what you see and read
Media is everything from TV and movies, to internet, music videos, magazines, and video games. The things we see in the media can affect how we feel about ourselves. They can also lead to weight biasi and weight discriminationii. Be critical of images and messages that promote thinness and muscularity as symbols of success and happiness. Pay attention to images, slogans, or attitudes that make you feel bad about yourself or your body. Protest these messages: write a letter to the advertiser or talk back (in your head) to the image or message. Learn and practise media and digital literacy skills (Media Smarts).
(i) Weight bias refers to negative weight-related attitudes, beliefs and judgments toward individuals affected by excess weight or obesity. For example, people affected by excess weight or obesity are often viewed as less competent, lazy and undisciplined.
(ii) Weight discrimination extends beyond negative attitudes to unfair or unequal actions or behaviours towards people with excess weight. Discriminatory actions can range from accidental hurtful comments to avoiding, ignoring, rejecting, and intentional derogatory remarks, cyber-bullying or physical attacks.
 Freedhoff, Y. and Sharma, A. M. (2010). Best Weight: A Practical Guide to Office-Based Obesity Management. – Free download via the Canadian Obesity Network – http://www.obesitynetwork.ca/best-weight
This item was last modified on November 23, 2017