Healthy Abbotsford Blog

Why This Holiday Season Should be All-You-Can-Eat

This article is from Weighty Matters.

Ok, so the headline’s a bit clickbait-y as there’s a qualifying word missing.


This holiday season should be all-you-can-thoughtfully-eat, where thoughtfully means asking just two questions before each and every indulgence.

1. Is it worth it?
2. How much do I need to be happily satisfied?

As I’ve said many times before, food isn’t just fuel. As a species we use food for comfort and for celebration and no doubt for most of us, the answers to those two prior questions will be different in December than in January.

And here’s a promise. If you don’t ask those questions every indulgence will be worth it and you’ll have far more of each than you need to be happily satisfied.


Abbotsford to Pilot New Approach to Physical Activity

9 communities to pilot Canadian Sport for Life approach to sport and physical activity

grandparents playig basketball with young kids
How do you make a community physically active for life?

With a chuckle, Lea Norris paraphrases a colleague’s thoughts on the subject.

“It’s about getting physical literacy into the water supply,” says Norris, the project’s lead for Canadian Sport for Life’s community connections.

She’s kidding, of course, but the meaning behind the words is clear — physical literacy must be part of every aspect of our lives.

That’s what she’s aiming to do in her role at Canadian Sport for Life (CS4L), a movement to create better-quality sport and physical literacy experiences across Canada. It seeks to link sport, education, recreation, and health, and to align community, provincial, and national programming.

This year, nine communities across Canada are testing the CS4L approach to sport and physical activity for children and adults. Those communities include Abbotsford, B.C.; Cochrane, Ab.; Hamilton, Ont.; Red Deer, Ab.; Vancouver, B.C.; Edmonton, Ab.; Victoria, B.C.; Winnipeg, Man.; and Toronto, Ont.

Click here to read the rest of the article.


Families – Get Fit and Healthy for FREE!

The City of Abbotsford has been chosen to offer the MEND (mind, exercise, nutrition, do-it) program which is funded through the Ministry of Health. This 10 week program is a fun, free program for families with 7-13 year olds who are above a healthy weight. The program facilitates safe, effective and lasting lifestyle changes by improving children’s physical activity levels, nutrition and self-esteem.


Program starts January 7, 2014. Space is limited to 15 families.
Call or email now to secure your spot. or 604-859-3134 local 5297

MEND Handbill - FINAL


If You Don’t Design Your Life Someone Else Will For You

A while ago I watched a fantastic video on TED. Nigel Marsh, who has written extensively over the past seven years about work-life balance shares four observations from his work and experience. Here are some of the highlights of his talk:

1. Certain job and career choices are fundamentally incompatible with being meaningfully engaged in a day to day basis with a young family – he talks about how there are so many people out there who are working long, hard hours at jobs they hate to enable them to buy things they don’t need to impress people they don’t like.

Is this you? Are you currently in a job that just simply isn’t compatible with having balance in your personal life? If you are, chances are that you have tried time and time again to create more time with your family only to fall short. Take an honest look at your job – is it really possible to have balance with it and  your life?

2. Governments and corporations aren’t going to solve this issue for us – Nigel says, “if you don’t design your life, someone else will design it for you and you may just not like their idea of balance.”

Who is designing your life, you, or the people around you? You have the ability to design your life the way you want it. It will likely mean making difficult choices but at the end of the day if you get to live the life that you want isn’t that worth it?

3. We need to be realistic about the time frame we use when judging the balance in our life, we can’t do it all in one day – it is about finding a realistic time frame without putting your life on hold.

What time frame would be realistic for you? For me, I look at balance on a weekly time frame. During that week did I connect with friends, was I physically active, did I take time for personal reflection and growth? For me a week is long enough to judge the overall balance in my life. Some days are completely out of balance but when I look at the week as a whole that is how I judge my level of balance.

4. We need to approach balance in a balanced way. The small things matter, balance doesn’t have to be a drastic upheaval of your life.

I think that this is a point that is so easy to miss. We live in a society where everything has to be big, be dramatic. Because if it’s not big and dramatic how could it possibly have a major impact on my life? The jokes on us folks, it’s the small things that truly make the largest difference.

Take a moment to think about Nigel’s closing statement - we need to change society’s definition of success from the idea that a person who dies with the most money wins to a more balanced definition of what a life well lived looks like.

My challenge to you – find a quiet place, grab a pen and piece of paper and write down what your life, well lived, looks like. Then do one small thing this week that will move you closer to that vision of success.

To watch the full 10 minute video click here.


Sudden Severe Headache = A Stroke?

This information is from the Heart & Stroke Foundation:

Stroke is a medical emergency. Recognizing and responding immediately to the signs of stroke by calling 9-1-1 or your local emergency number can significantly improve survival and recovery.

What are the five signs of stroke?

Stroke can be treated. That’s why it is so important to recognize and respond to the warning signs.

pictures of the 5 signs of a stroke

If you experience any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number immediately. If a person is diagnosed with a stroke caused by a blood clot, doctors can administer a clot-busting drug available only at a hospital, and only within a few crucial hours after symptoms begin.* That’s why it is very important to be able to recognize the 5 warning signs of stroke and immediately call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number.

For more information visit The Heart & Stroke Foundation.


Physical Activity Can Help During The Cold and Flu Season

This article, from Healthy Families BC, has some really great practical information around why being active helps and what to do if you are already sick.

It’s getting colder; people are spending more time indoors in closer proximity and its flu season!

Aside from washing your hands, drinking hot fluids, taking immune system boosters and following other influenza avoidance practices (e.g. immunization), physical activity is a GREAT way to boost our immune system in an effort to prevent the flu and or speed up recovery

(note: people who are physically active on a regular basis generally have efficient immune systems; therefore, recovery times are usually faster).

How does physical activity improve our immune systems? This is not a simple question to answer; however, scientists are working very hard to properly outline the many pathways in which physical activity functions to improve our immune functionality.

Below are a few simple findings:

  • Individuals, who exercise regularly at a light to moderate intensity for 30 minutes on most days of the week, if not all, are at a significantly lower risk for respiratory infections.
  • Activity lovers who exercise for 30-60 minutes on most days of the week have a 40% reduction in sick days during the cold season.
  • Regular exercise helps the disease-fighting white blood cells in the body move from the organs into the bloodstream where they are able to combat and rid the invading pathogens.

To read the complete article and to find out if you should you be physically active when you are sick click here.


Can TV Watching Be Healthy?

Obesity Panacea recently posted some information on a recent study that looked at what would happen if people were active during commercial breaks when watching TV. You might be surprised!

In the US, TV viewing is the most popular sedentary leisure-time ‘activity’; the average American watches between 3-5 hrs of TV per day (up to 35hrs per week). By contrast, the same people state that they simply do not have enough time to meet the recommended level of physical activity (150 minutes per week).

Another neat idea here is using TV commercial breaks as prompts to get up, and also to use the duration of the break as the time to move. Since a 30-minute TV program consists of approximately 8-12 minutes of commercials, someone who watches 90-minutes of television could accumulate between 24-36 minutes of physical activity – approximately what is recommended.

And that is exactly what participants in this study did over a period of 6 months. One group was told to walk for 30 minutes on at least 5 days of the week (normal physical activity recommendations), while the other was instructed to step in one place or to walk briskly around their home during commercial breaks over a 90-minute period of television viewing on at least 5 days per week. Both groups received 6 monthly phone calls, attended monthly meetings for the first 3 months, and received monthly newsletters for the last 3 months. In other words, the intervention was quite ‘hands-off’.

At the end of the 6 months, both groups increased the number of daily steps taken (4611 to 7605 steps/day in the TV commercial stepping group and 4909 to 7865 steps/day in the walking group). Both groups also decreased their TV viewing time (from approximately 4 to 3 hours per day) and caloric intake (~2000 kcal/day to ~1700 kcal/day). In response to these lifestyle changes the participants’ waist and hip circumferences also reduced by a few centimeters.

So, enjoy TV and don’t want to give it up? Maybe you don’t have to, just get moving during those commercials! To read the full article click here.


Build your Own Cookbook – for Free!

Better Together BC has a really fun tool on their website where you (or your kids) can create your own cookbook. You choose from a great selection of healthy recipes, put your name and picture on the front, save it and even print it if you want! Here is a sample Healthy Abbotsford Cookbook that you can view to see what the final product looks like.

Cooking is more fun when you can find recipes that you like and enjoy preparing. Make this cookbook the start of your healthy eating recipe library. Click here to start building yours.

Better Together Cookbook website


Get an Extra 4 Hours per Day of Free Time!

New stats were released this week around television watching (to read the full article click here).

Turns out, in 2011, Canadians watched an average of 28.5 hours of television per week!

That is just over 4 hours per day! Think about all the things that you don’t think you have time to do. Reading, spending time with family/friends, being active, cooking, taking a class etc. What could you do with an extra 4 hours each day?

Consider what watching TV gives you. Does it recharge your batteries? Does it relax you? Does it make you feel like you are getting a well-deserved break? If you answered yes to any of these questions I would challenge you to think about whether or not that is really true.

  1. Recharging your batteries – do you feel more alert, energized and fufilled after watching TV? If not then it is not recharging you.
  2. Relaxes you – do you feel more calm and better able to live your life after watching TV? If not then it is not relaxing you.
  3. A well-deserved break – we all need a break. Does watching TV make you feel more rested and ready to start the next thing? If not then it is not a great choice for a well-deserved break.

We tell ourselves a lot of stories around why we watch TV. What do we really get from it?

picture of an old TV


Do I Really Need to Eat After I Exercise?

YES!! So now the next question is “what should I eat after I exercise?” To help answer that here is an article from ParticipACTION that not only tells you why the after exercise meal is so important but it also gives you some healthy food ideas.

Healthy snacks that taste good are the best kind! Knowing what your body needs most after exercise can mean the difference between feeling strong and ready to tackle the rest of your day… or feeling like you’ve got nothing left to give.

Post workout snacks are really about replacing the fuels — fluid, carbohydrates and protein – that you used while exercising. Some people, particularly those eager to lose weight, may be reluctant to take in calories following a workout, but according to Dr. Lowell Greib, associate professor at The Canadian College of Naturophatic Medicine, owner of The SportLab and certified sports nutritionist, “eating after exercise may be the most important ‘meal’ of the day for an active individual.

To read the rest of the article click here.

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