How to … Manage Your Weight

Keeping a healthy weight is an important way to stay healthy overall. A healthy weight can prevent chronic illness like Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and even certain cancers. Plus, you’ll feel better and have more energy for life. So what’s the best way to keep yourself in a healthy weight range?

First, assess your weight. Are you in the right weight range for your height and age? Ask your health care providers if you need to lose or gain a few pounds. If you’re right where you want to be, find out how to maintain it…

Find out how many calories you should have. The amount of calories you need per day is based on your sex, age, and activity level. Talk with your health care provider about the right daily calorie level for you.

Then, Follow a healthy eating plan. Aim for a diet low in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, and sugar. Get protein from lean meats, seafood, beans, and nuts. Eat low-fat or fat-free dairy foods. Pick whole grains instead of refined grains, and eat lots of fruits and vegetables.

Not sure how to eat healthy? Go to ChooseMyPlate.gov. It has lots of helpful information.

And make sure to …

Read nutrition labels. Food nutrition labels have lots of helpful information about serving sizes, calories, fat, and more. Get into the habit of reading them so that you can make wise choices about food.

Plus …

Manage your portion sizes. Keep your first portion in line with your goals and the recommended portion size. And don’t go back for seconds… it’s easy to overload on calories when you have extra-large or second helpings.

And speaking of portions …

Be careful when you eat out. Restaurants portions are usually enough for 2, 3, and even 4 people. And they contain more fat, salt, sugar, and calories than food cooked at home.

Choose carefully, ask questions, and make special requests as needed. Don’t be afraid to take home a takeout box.

But instead of eating out, you could…

Cook at home. When you cook food at home instead of eating out or buying pre-prepared food, you have control over the amount of fat, sodium, sugar, and other ingredients in the recipe. You have the power to make healthier versions of your favorite dishes.

But managing your weight is not all about food – make sure you…

Move more. Being physically active helps you use calories, build muscle, and feel better about your body. It also makes your body healthier. Adults should get a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity every week.

Yes that means you need to sweat, and…

Weigh yourself every week. Keep track of your weight. This will help you see if you need to make changes in your management plan.

If your weight is changing…

Keep a food journal. Write down what you eat and drink. You can write in a notebook, or use a website or phone app to help you track calories, carbs, protein, and daily activities.

This can help you … Modify your eating plan as needed. Maybe you need to cut down portion sizes or eat less junk food. Or maybe you need to get more activity each week. Make small changes and see what works best.

But, if your weight is still changing… Talk with your healthcare provider or dietician. Sometimes weight changes can be the result of an unknown health condition. You may need tests to find, or rule out, a problem. Your provider can also help you look at your weight management plan and figure out what might need changing.

Now, it all sounds like a lot, so remember these…

5 Quick Weight Management Tips

  • Weigh yourself to see if you’re in a healthy range, and then weigh yourself once a week.

  • Find out how many calories you need and stick to that range.

  • Make healthy food choices. Eat out less, cook at home more often.

  • Get moving!

  • And keep a food journal, to keep from getting into trouble.

So whether you’re trying to lose, gain, or maintain, keeping your weight on track is a simple task – and now you know how!