Strategies to Maintain a Healthy Weight

Every time I am in out in public, it’s troubling to see the number of people who are struggling with their weight. I know that being overweight can lead to many health-related problems like heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer and musculoskeletal problems, like bad knees and back pain. My concern is warranted, because according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one-third of U.S. adults are obese. Another one-third is overweight.

Vending machines and late night forays to fast food restaurants during my college years led to the typical “freshman 15” weight gain. However, in my mid-20’s I made a turnaround. I began to run and compete, and, as a result, I became more health conscious. Here are some of the strategies I have implemented to maintain a healthy weight:

• Exercise regularly.
• Drink the recommended amount of water.
• Never go on a diet. Instead, eat the recommended amount of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and protein each day.
• Skip the mayonnaise, high fat cheeses and cream sauces.
• Skip the casserole and eat food steamed or raw.
• Keep portion sizes small.
• Don’t drink your calories. Instead of orange juice, have an orange.
• Know how many calories you should eat every day to maintain your weight. This is called your basal metabolic rate. If you need to lose weight, eat fewer calories than your BMR requires.
• Know how many calories are in the foods you eat. In this technologically advanced world, you’ll find plenty of phone apps to help you.
• Weigh one time weekly on the same day. If your weight is continuing to creep up, cut calories.
• Healthy does not always mean lower in calories. Just ¼ cup of trail mix can have as much as 150 calories.
• Stay busy. Have plenty of interests and hobbies.
• Splurge one time a week.
• Remember that life is more important than food. Enjoy time with family and friends.
• Eat to exercise, not exercise to eat.
• Make healthy eating a lifetime habit.
• Eat fresh and frozen foods that have not been processed instead of foods in boxes and cans.

The World Health Organization says that the health consequences of obesity “range from increased risk of premature death to serious chronic conditions that reduce the overall quality of life.” We are shortening our lives due to chronic overeating. Begin now to strive toward a more active and health conscious lifestyle. And remember, always check with your physician for recommendations concerning your weight.

Fitness Tip: Figure your BMI to determine if you are at a healthy weight. BMI = (your weight in pounds/height in inches2) X 705 or you can use nifty calculators on the Internet. A desirable weight is a BMI less than 30.