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.
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 aheadbut 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.
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.