We know that to manage your weight, you need to balance the calories you eat with the amount of physical activity you exert. News flash – the quality of your eating and exercise habits matter too.
Eating habits. Healthy weight management for life means a diet focused on whole foods, mostly plants. What are whole foods? They include fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains such as oatmeal or brown rice, and most any food that doesn’t come in a package. Focus your whole food diet on plants, cutting back on meat and other foods high in sugar or unhealthy fats such as fried foods, desserts, and high-fat snacks such as chips.
Change doesn’t happen overnight, so it’s OK to start small. For an afternoon snack, swap out chips or a candy bar for some plain Greek yogurt topped with fruit, or apple slices with unsweetened peanut butter. Strawberries or pineapple make a delicious dessert. And start out the day right with an egg and some melon or oatmeal sweetened with berries instead of boxed cereal or an over-sized bagel.
Exercise. Regular exercise not only helps you get to your goal weight, it helps you stay there too. Guidelines suggest that to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, people should do 150 minutes of moderate to intense aerobic activity weekly. Additionally, muscle burns more calories than fat, so building up your muscles will allow you to eat more while maintaining your weight.
If you are not currently physically active, now is a great time to get started. Take a 10-minute walk and add more time as that becomes too easy. Walk up stairs instead of taking an elevator. Best of all, head out for a workout with a buddy. Or want to go solo? Try catching up on a podcast or listening to your favorite music. Whatever you choose, make sure you talk with your doctor before beginning any kind of exercise program.
You’ll find all these little changes add up to a new you.
2008 physical activity guidelines for Americans. United States Department of Health and Human Services website. Available at: www.health.gov/PAGuidelines/guidelines/default.aspx
Accessed January 20, 2016.
Dietary guidelines for Americans 2015-2020. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion website. Available at: https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines. Updated December 2015. Accessed April 11, 2017.
Diets for weight loss. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed…. Updated February 7, 2017. Accessed April 11, 2017