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Some tips to celebrate Healthy Weight week
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Have you — like millions  of other American's — made  New Year resolutions to lose weight and adopt a healthier lifestyle? If so, this is definitely  the time to start ... if you haven’t already. Healthy Weight  Week  (Jan. 18-24) is a great time to institute healthy habits that prevent eating and weight problems,  help get physically fit and  reduce the risks for chronic disease. The formula is simple — eat well, live actively, and feel good about yourself.
During the past 20 years, there has been a dramatic increase in obesity among Americans of all ages.  Results from the 1999–2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, using measured heights and weights, indicate that an estimated 65 percent of U.S. adults are either overweight or obese. This equates to approximately 127 million overweight adults with 60 million considered obese and 9 million severely obese. The same survey indicated a dramatic increase in obesity in children and adolescents with data showing an estimated 16 percent of youth (ages 6–19 years) classified as overweight.

How to celebrate
Healthy Weight Week
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• Choose two or three of the following activities to carry through the week, at a comfortable level. Continue four months while gradually adding the others. Then decide how to keep them up all year.
• Stop dieting. Stop making weight loss goals and “waiting to be thin.” Stop weight-obsessive thoughts. Instead, be your own best self, starting right now. Decide it’s time to get on with living your life to the fullest.
• Be active in your own way every day. Focus on the pleasure of movement and its health and energy benefits, not calories burned. Don’t overdo it, or it won’t become a habit. (If you’re not regularly active now, start with five minutes a day for the first month, then gradually increase time.) For most adults, an appropriate level is about 20 to 30 minutes a day for at least five days a week. Avoid long periods of inactivity.
• Identify and build on your own special talents, traits and interests. Use self-talk and affirmations to enhance personal acceptance, respect, self-esteem and positive body image. Feel good about yourself.
• Feel good about others. Expect and extend respect, tolerance and acceptance.
• Promote good relationships and communication with family, friends and acquaintances. Spend time enjoying social activities.
• Rediscover normal eating — eat at regular times, typically three meals and snacks to satisfy hunger. Tune in to your body’s internal signals of hunger and fullness — eat when you’re hungry and stop when full and satisfied. Enjoy your food. Notice how much better you feel.
• Eat well. Include all five food groups every day: bread and grains, fruits, vegetables, milk and dairy, meat and alternates. Choose balance, variety and moderation. All foods can fit.
• Relax and relieve stress in your life. Take time for a daily 10-15 minute relaxation session. Or just empty your mind and let your body go limp for 30-second relaxation breaks occasionally throughout the day. Stress can lead to high blood pressure, chest pain, back pain, indigestion, headaches, insomnia, anxiety, depression, confusion, mood swings, irritability and anger. Listen to your body. Be flexible, relax and go with the flow.
• Respect and appreciate size diversity. Reassure yourself and others that beauty, health, and strength come in all sizes. Promote healthy living at every size. Recognize that size prejudice hurts us all.
You may choose to make a personal contract and give yourself a reward at the end of each week. If you’ve set your challenges too high, you’ll know it so back off before they become burdensome. Make healthy living changes gradually, one baby step at a time, small changes you can live with long term.

Ratcliffe is the public information officer for the Liberty County Health Department.
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