Making Choices Count: Achieving a Healthy Weight

You will find many suggestions when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight, but which is the best for you? Losing the term “diet” and focusing on a “healthy lifestyle” is key. If it’s not something you can do for the rest of your life to maintain health, it won’t help you achieve your health and wellness goals. With the suggestions you discover make sure to consider the scientific evidence and research done to support that dietary pattern. Healthy eating does not stand alone, it must be paired with regular physical activity. The two work together to utilize the vitamins and minerals consumed to achieve healthy vision and skin, strong bones a healthy heart, and weight.  Other key factors in weight management are reducing stress and getting the recommended sleep needed daily.

The best place to start is by keeping a food diary for a week, writing down the time you eat, food and beverages, and their quantities. In addition, keep track of any physical activity you do, frequency, and time. This will provide you with an accurate picture of where you are starting which will help make health goals. The next is to look at your portion sizes and compare them to what is suggested based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. You can do this by visiting  Determine a plan for you daily by selecting the “My Plate Plan”. By adding your height, weight, and physical activity it provides suggestions for each food group. Next, you can explore each food group to learn about what counts as a portion. Achieving the right portions by understanding serving size is a major factor in achieving a healthy weight. With the food dietary, compare portion sizes with your recommended plan and see how things measure up. Use this as a guide to make changes to balance your plate every day.

Another focus area is limiting fat, sugar, and sodium for weight management and heart health. Creating meals from scratch where you can control the ingredients allows you to use healthy oils such as olive and canola oil, herbs, and spices instead of sodium for flavor, and lean protein choices for lower fat.  Reading food labels can give you insight into how much each serving you are consuming has and if it’s a wise choice. For sodium, aiming under 2,300 mg a day or lower is recommended. Fruits and dairy products have natural sugar, and these food items provide other vitamins and minerals that are beneficial to health. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting the added sugars to no more than 10% each day. This is sugar that is added with no nutritional value. The amount of fat should be no more than 30%. When looking at the food label this would be next to total fat. When limiting fat, you want to focus on limiting saturated fat, as this is the unhealthiest fat for our bodies. To choose healthy fats focus on lean. When looking at a label lean is less than 10% fat and less than 4.5 grams of saturated fat.

Finally, by planning and setting goals you will be one step closer to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. Take inventory of what you have, create a menu, and build a grocery list needed for additional items for planned meals and additional foods needed for other meals and snacks. Planning ahead will help you stay on track with balancing your plate and choosing health as a priority. Each week set a goal that contributes towards living a healthy lifestyle. Be sure to be specific and at the end of the week reflect and assess how the goal went. If you did not achieve it, don’t get discouraged, try again! Each small change you make each day and each week will help you create a healthier you.



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Posted: April 15, 2024

Category: Health & Nutrition
Tags: Weight Management

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