It’s easy to think that we can look at the scales and know if we are completely healthy or not. Lots of messages we get in the community would make you think that the number of kilograms on the bathroom scales can tell you everything about your health. It’s actually not that simple!
Last month, I wrote about Richard Louv’s Nature Deficit Disorder. In order to support this work, together with my colleagues at the University of Alberta and many community partners, we are starting the CHANGE Adventure Camp. Partnering with Metabolic Syndrome Canada, a charitable organization who mission is to improve the long-term health of Canadians through effective diet and exercise lifestyle interventions, The CHANGE Adventure Camp will work to support Alberta’s families especially those at higher risk.
Many people I talk to say that would like to improve their lifestyles but they do not have the time. They want to exercise but run out of time. They say they want to do a better job at preparing meals for themselves but they're too busy.
In my work on helping people change behaviour, I have learned a couple other tips that may help you succeed on this year's commitment. The first tip is to pick something small and achievable that you actually can imagine yourself doing long term. Many resolutions included avoiding temptations like chocolate, ice cream or alcohol. Trying to commit to avoiding things completely is really hard and is unlikely to be achievable for longer than a few weeks.
After the Grey Cup win by the Eskimos, Edmonton is the City of Champions once again. Bragging rights for a year. Although it has been a very mild autumn, now that it is December, snow is on the ground and winter is here. Here are a few health tips for this month.
The WHO and the Canadian Heart and Stroke foundation recommend that you limit added sugars to less than 10% of your calories, and ideally less than 5%. For an average sized adult, based on a 2000 calorie diet, 5% is about 100 calories, 25 g or about 6 teaspoons of added sugar. For a frame of reference, one can of pop contains about 10 teaspoons of added sugar.
A few years ago, I had the good fortune to be connected with Dr. Khursheed Jeejeebhoy, a senior nutrition researcher from Toronto. He introduced me to the CHANGE idea. “CHANGE” stands for Canadian Health Advanced by Nutrition and Graded Exercise. CHANGE was a collaboration of researchers from across Canada who were working on a protocol to support lifestyle intervention in the primary care setting. As a family doctor with an interest in health promotion, I was very happy to get involved and contribute to the project.
As a family doctor, I look after patients throughout their lives, from birth to death. In addition to helping patient with their health concerns, I am always promoting the benefits of good nutrition and regular physical activity. A few weeks ago, one of my patients motivated by his father passing away from a heart attack took me up on my suggestion to improve his lifestyle. Being very active when he was younger he had lots of ideas on how to increase his physical activity. Where he wanted help was on the diet side.