Achieving & Maintaining a Healthy Weight

Weight control issues have become a major problem in many countries worldwide, and rates of overweight and obesity have increased substantially in recent years. For many people, getting more exercise, eating a healthy diet, and making a few lifestyle changes can help improve overall health and well-being. However, it's important to speak with your health care provider before beginning any weight loss, diet, or exercise program—especially if you have a chronic health condition, such as high blood pressure (hypertension), heart disease, or diabetes.

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Whether you are overweight or obese, you want to improve your fitness level, or you just want to drop a size to fit into your favorite outfit again, just 30 minutes of exercise a day combined with a healthy diet can help. Several health benefits are associated with exercise—so talk to your doctor and then:

  • add a little bit of physical activity to your day by taking the stairs instead of the elevator or parking further away from the store entrance;
  • participate in an informal exercise program, such as working out at home to an exercise DVD or taking a walk at lunch or after dinner; or
  • join a structured exercise program at a local gym or YMCA (the Y™).

According to our sister publication Diabetes Focus (Spring 2013), if you need to indulge in something sweet or salty once in a while, go right ahead—but try munching a mini-portion. Studies show that people who had just a tiny taste of a snack reported the same reduction in cravings 15 minutes later as those who had a larger portion.

Diabetes Focus (Fall 2015 reported a study in the Nutrition Journal suggests that people who eat avocados tend to weigh less and have smaller waist circumferences than avocado abstainers. Some researchers think that a unique sugar in avocados—D-mannoheptulose—may help with both blood sugar control and weight management.

To achieve and maintain a healthy weight, health care providers often recommend a 1- to 2-pound weight loss per week (if you need to lose weight); a diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, fiber, and complex carbohydrates; and an exercise program that combines aerobic exercise and strength training.

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at

Published: 16 Dec 2010

Last Modified: 16 Oct 2015