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Tips on Maintaining a Healthy Weight

Whether your goal is to loose weight or maintain a healthy weight, it is always important to focus on the amount of calories you consume in comparison to the amount of calories you expend each day. To maintain a healthy weight, you need to burn off as many calories as you eat; to loose weight you need to consume fewer calories than you expend. If you eat more calories than you expend, you will gain weight.

The National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP) suggests the following in order to loose weight or help maintain a healthy weight.

1. Make healthy choices part of your lifestyle. If you are committed to eating well and being more active as a lifestyle change that extends beyond any “fad” diet, you will loose weight more successfully and keep it off longer.

2. Remember to set realistic dieting and exercise goals. Drastic eating and exercise changes or strict limits on what you can or cannot eat can often lead to bing eating or giving up on the goal of a healthier lifestyle altogether. Rather than making several changes all at once, make smaller goals that you believe you can realistically accomplish and maintain. The NCCDPHP suggests setting a new small challenge each week.

3. Keep an inventory of your eating and exercise patterns. Make sure you keep a food and exercise journal. Write down everything you eat and your situation and feelings while you were eating. This can help you examine why you eat and what satisfies your hunger more completely.

4. Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Try substituting fruits and vegetables in the place of higher calorie, less nutritious foods such as potato chips or cookies.

5. Eat foods that are high in fiber. The NCCDPHP suggests you eat whole grain cereals, legumes, vegetables, and fruits in order to get more fiber in your diet. Fiber-filled foods can often make you feel full with fewer calories.

6. Make and eat meals and snacks at home. When you pick and choose your meal you can decide on portion size and what ingredients you put in. Make sure you prepare meals with low calories. A good way to do this is to switch to nonfat milk, low-fat cheeses, and to use a cooking spray instead of oil or butter when cooking.

7. Use a scale and measuring cup to measure serving sizes. A scale or measuring cup is an accurate way to make sure you are only eating according to the serving size on food labels. Make sure you check labels and count calories according to how many servings you eat.

8. Make healthy snack choices. Choose snacks that are nutritious and filling. The NCCDPHP recommends a piece of fresh fruit, cut raw vegetables, or a container of low-fat yogurt.

9. Eat slowly. Make sure to eat only when you are hungry and slow down so that you can enjoy all the smells, tastes, and textures your meal has to offer. Keep in mind that it takes your stomach about 15 minutes to signal to your brain that you are full.

10. Increase or keep up with physical activity. Try to fit in at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity for adults or 60 minutes for children on five or more days of the week. If this seems like a lot, remember that even adding small amounts of exercise to your daily routine has a benefit. If you can’t add 30 minutes right of the bat, work up to it, and then exceed even that amount!

11. Learn to forgive yourself. Everyone makes mistakes. Just because you splurge and get high-calorie breakfast doesn’t mean you have ruined your entire day. Try to eat extra healthy the rest of the day or add more physical activity to your day to balance out the increase in calories.

Following these rules can not only help you loose weight, it can help you make the lifestyle changes necessary to keep your weight off and stay healthy for the rest of your life.

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