Ideal weight vs. best weight

Katy McGuigan feels motivated to be healthy when eating in the Risley Hall residence’s dining hall.

“It is so easy to go up and ask for a grilled cheese or scoop up some fries,” says the Dalhousie University student. “I do better when I’m around people who are also eating healthy, because I don’t want to be the one person eating poorly.”

Losing weight can be difficult, but the Community Health Team in Halifax is putting a new face on losing weight successfully.

“Usually, diets are not sustainable,” says Lindsay MacIsaac. “They don’t take into account of your personal lifestyle.”
Maclsaac is a registered dietician, and held a talk this Wednesday called Beginners Guide to Weight Management.  The event took place at the Halifax Central Library.

She works with the Community Health Team in Halifax which provides programs on fitness, healthy eating and relationship and emotional wellness.

There are four teams in the city: two in Halifax, one in Dartmouth and one in Bedford.

There are a lot of causes of weight gain – one of which is not eating well. People’s reluctance to eat healthy could be because of high prices.

“The price of fruit and vegetables are high and maybe people can’t afford to buy them so they don’t have access to health food to live a healthy lifestyle,” says Maclsaac.

Another reason for gaining weight could include too little physical activity – something McGuigan is trying to increase in her attempt to be healthier.

“Though it can be awful at times, I am starting to look forward to running so I am able to see how I have improved and gotten better,” says McGuigan.

But, McIsaac says, losing weight shouldn’t be the only focus of a healthy lifestyle.

“You have to look beyond losing weight and look into the root causes of why you are eating too much and why you are not exercising and try and focus on those because we really want to get to those root causes.”

For the community health programs, Maclsaac is trying to get away from using the term “ideal weight.”

“Not everyone is the same so we have decided to change ‘ideal weight’ into your ‘best weight,’” says Maclsaac.

Best weight is a weight that works for you, she says, that doesn’t put you at risk for any health problems.

Maclsaac encourages people to adopt a healthy lifestyle by trying their best to follow the Canada Food Guide.

“Eighty per cent of the time people should be eating healthy and following the best they can on the Canada’s food guide, and 20 per cent can be on food that they would enjoy,” says Maclsaac.

The variety of food at McGuigan’s dining hall helps her eat the well-balanced meals MccIsaac recommends.
“They normally serve meat and grain meals,” says McGuigan. “And then there is always fruit and vegetables at the salad bar to balance it out.”