Healthy Weight Week: Making Wise Choices

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Do you remember learning about the Food Pyramid in grade school? You know that triangle that told you to eat 6-11 servings of grains a day and avoid sugar, fats and oils.

Did you know that pyramid is the more outdated than that leisure suit you no longer can fit in?

In June 2011, the USDA revamped the way we talk about portion control and healthy eating with an initiative called MyPlate. It never really made it to the general public. It mostly got pigeonholed in elementary schools.

You might, however, encounter it as you pursue your health care degree program, and it’s a great way to help bring awareness to Healthy Weight Week, Jan. 16-20.

What is healthy weight week?

Healthy Weight Week is designed to shift conversation away from dieting and obsessing about the numbers on the scale to a more well-rounded sustainable approach to balanced living.

MyPlate uses the same color scheme as the Food Pyramid but depicts a round circle plate that focuses on portion control and making food fun. It provides goals like having half your plate be fruit and veggies, along with choosing lower sodium and sugar-laden foods.

How to eat smart while in a health care degree program

You’re in an accelerated health care degree program! You don’t have time to waste when you’re trying to meet goals. It’s all about being S.M.A.R.T (that’s a whole ‘nother topic). It also helps to have a mnemonic device that focuses your efforts toward a single end. In this case, a healthier you!

Consistency: Every year, without fail, one of the top New Year’s resolutions made is to “lose weight” or “get in shape.” Most people fail miserably (in their mind) by Jan. 10 and abandon their cause for another 355 days.

Maintaining healthy weight isn’t about dieting or weight-obsessed thoughts. If you miss a day, don’t beat yourself up. Hop on the train and start again. You don’t need to invest hours and hours. Find something you enjoy and start implementing that into your day for 30 minutes.

Choices: Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is all about choices, not deprivation. Start with swaps. When you choose to replace your chocolate chip cookies with an apple, you save yourself hundreds of calories over the course of the week.

When you choose to walk up a flight of stairs versus taking the elevator or parking a little farther from the entrance of a building than normal, it might not seem like much, but compounded, it makes a huge difference!

Celebrating: Dale Carnegie, author of How to Win Friends and Influence People, says that one of the best ways to affect positive change is to, “Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement.”

Reward yourself for attaining goals

Now don’t celebrate with the thing you’re trying to moderate, but find ways that matter to you for meeting goals! Did you meet your monthly weight goal? Treat yourself to a massage! Did you meet your commitment to hit the gym four days a week? Grab some friends and make time to go see a movie!

Above all, use self-talk and affirmations to become your biggest fan! Feel good about yourself! It can only help as you proceed through your health care degree program.

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