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Healthy Weight Program

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Sometimes life can feel like a rollercoaster! Get advice and answers from experts about anything that is on your mind.

Q:  I want to be healthier so I’m trying really hard to eat breakfast every morning. Are there any tips to help make eating breakfast easier?  

A: Breaking the habit of not eating breakfast can seem impossible at times. Your best bet is to take small steps and don’t give up. Try some of these tips below to help get you into the habit of eating breakfast each morning:   

1. Get up 15 minutes earlier in the morning. Eating breakfast doesn’t have to take a long time.  

2. Pick foods that are fast to make and to eat. Try whole grain cereal with low fat milk or whole wheat toast with some peanut butter.  

3. Plan ahead. Set the table and get everything you will need for breakfast ready before you go to bed at night. This way everything will be ready for you the next day when you wake up, and you won’t have to waste time looking for a spoon for your cereal or a knife for your peanut butter.  

4. Fill the house with breakfast items that you can take with you when you on the run, such as cereal bars, fruits, cheese strings, and yogurts. Being late is no reason to skip breakfast!  

Q: I’m 12 years old and Canada’s Food Guide says that I should get 6 servings of vegetables and fruit each day. Does this mean that I can just drink 3 cups of juice a day?  

A: It is true that 3 cups (250mL) of 100% juice equals 6 servings of vegetables and fruit, but it not the best way to get your servings in. When you drink 100% fruit juice you get some of the nutrients (such as vitamin C) found in vegetables and fruit, but you do not get the fibre. We get fibre when we eat vegetables and fruit. Healthy eating is all about getting a variety of foods so mix it up! Drink your juice, but don’t forget to eat your veggies and fruit too.      

Q: The doctor says that I have elevated lipid levels but I feel totally fine, why do I need to exercise?

A: It sounds like you are not so sure why you need to exercise since you do not feel any symptoms of your elevated lipids. Perhaps the thing you need to keep in mind is that exercise is something that all kids your age need in order to keep them healthy. It is recommended that each child does at least 60 minutes of activity each and every day.  For those of us who have elevated lipid levels, exercise and healthy eating helps bring the lipid levels back to a healthy range.

Q: The thing that bothers me the most about my weight is that I can't keep up with my friends when I play soccer and then they don’t want to have me on their team.  

A: Soccer is a tough sport to play and the fact that you are participating at all is a great accomplishment. Like all activities, soccer requires fitness. If you keep incorporating activities such as soccer and other sports, your fitness will improve.  Such activity and eating healthy should help move your weight towards a healthier range making it easier for you to join in with your friends.  

Q: My whole family is big! There is no point in doing anything because it's my genetics!!!

A: Genetics do play a big role in shaping who we are but they are not the final decision makers. We now know that by exercising regularly and reducing the amount of time we spend watching tv/playing on the computer along with eating healthy meals(including reducing sugary drinks) we can really make a difference. We can reduce our weight in order to become healthier and through this process become happier inside and out. Those of us with tendencies to gain weight may have to work harder but a healthy weight CAN be achieved.    

Q: What is screen time?

A: Screen time is the time spent during the day watching TV shows or movies, playing non-active video games and surfing the internet on the computer. Screen time should be limited to less than 2 hours per day.

Q: What is Active Living and why is it beneficial?

A: Active living is the incorporation of activity into your daily routine. Some examples of active living are taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking whenever you can (to the store, to school etc), getting off the bus a few stops earlier, doing stretches or sit ups while the commercial are on. If time is a barrier to engaging in physical activity, active living is a great way of getting in the recommended amount of daily activity.

Q: What should I do if I’m intimidated or uncomfortable doing exercise in front of others?

A: Rest assured this is a common feeling many people share. Here are a few solutions;

Choose activities that you enjoy and feel confident doing
Know that as you become healthier and more at ease with exercising, your self-confidence will improve as well
Pair up with a friend who is at the same stage/level as you and focus on having fun while helping each other work out
Consider investing in home equipment such as a treadmill, stability ball, yoga mat or exercise DVDs

Q: Canada’s Physical Activity Guidelines say I need 90 mins of physical activity a day but I am nowhere near that. How can I start to increase my activity?

A:  Start increasing your physical activity by a total of at least 30 mins a day to start and over the course of 5 months, build up to 90 mins. Take a look at the chart below:

MONTH Daily INCREASE in moderate activity   Daily INCREASE in vigorous activity   Total Daily INCREASE in physical activity Daily DECREASE in non-active time
1 at least 20 + 10 = 30 30
2 at least 30 + 15 = 45 45
3 at least 40 + 20 = 60 60
4 at least 50 + 25 = 75 75
5 at least 60 + 30 = 90 90