Want to reach a healthy weight, but aren’t sure how to start? You aren’t alone! Many people feel this way about weight loss.
All about balance
When it comes to reaching a healthy weight, balancing your energy in and energy out is key. We take in energy from calories when we eat and drink. We use energy when we move our muscles. The harder we work our bodies, the more energy we burn.
Now that you know the key to weight loss, you can make a plan. Think about your lifestyle today. What foods are you eating? How much are you eating? How active are you? Should you focus more on changing your diet or being more active? You may want to look for ways to do both.
Taking small steps
If you make small changes one day at a time, it can go a long way toward helping you reach your health goal. Here are some useful tips for eating healthier and being more active:
- Grill, bake or steam your food instead of
- 1 cup of fried chicken = 350 calories
- 1 cup of grilled or baked, skinless chicken breast = 220 calories
- Add a new vegetable to your diet each week.
- Replace high-fat snacks like a snack-size bag of potato chips with nutrient-rich nuts like 23 unsalted raw almonds.
- Build a healthy meal with the five main food
groups. Fill your plate:
- Over 1/4 grains, like brown rice or whole-grain pasta
- About 1/4 lean protein, like chicken or tofu
- Over 1/2 veggies, like spinach or carrots
- About 1/4 fruit, like an apple or berries
- Dairy like yogurt
- Break up your time. Exercise 15 minutes twice a day instead of 30 minutes at once.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator when you can.
- Join an exercise class with a friend.
- Play with your children or grandchildren.
- Find ways to move your arms and legs while sitting or lying down, such as chair yoga.
- If you sit for long periods of time, find reasons to get up and move around more often.
Creating your plan
Now you can set a realistic goal that is doable for you. Once you reach that goal, you can set another one. Some examples of weight-loss goals are:
- Lose 5 percent of my body weight
- Exercise 250 minutes a week
- Get my total blood cholesterol under 200 mg/dL
Tips for success:
- Before you start, talk to your provider about your goal and plan. Your provider can help you find safe ways to eat healthier and become more active.
- Set smaller goals for yourself along the way. Use non-food rewards to help keep you driven.
- Tell others about your plan. This can help keep you accountable.
- Plan for setbacks or slipups. They are not a sign of failure. It’s normal to have them when you are making a lifestyle change.
- Track what you eat. You can keep a food diary or use an app like MyFitnessPal or Lose It. This task can help you meet your health goals.
- Choose separate start dates if you want to change both your diet and activity level. This can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed.
Think about how you feel about being able to reach your goal. What things do you see getting in the way of your weight-loss plan?
You will face challenges and slip-ups along the way. That’s OK. Preparing for them and having a plan can help you stay on track.
Where to find support
Talk to one or more of these sources as you begin your weight-loss plan:
- Your primary care provider (PCP). They can help make sure you’re staying healthy and losing weight safely.
- Friends and family. They can help keep you driven and in control.
- A formal weight-loss program in your area can give you structure.
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Weight-control Information Network